Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable?

Aluminum foil is a multi-purpose product. You use it to cover food in the oven and on the grill. A piece of the shiny foil can polish silverware.

Aluminum foil can even clean cast iron without removing the seasoning. Use it as a funnel or make a piping bag out of a sheet.

The list of how you can use aluminum foil is almost endless. But what do you do with old aluminum foil? Is aluminum foil recyclable?

Aluminum Foil

Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable?

Aluminum foil is inexpensive, versatile, and recyclable. The shiny foil is made of an aluminum alloy, and you can toss it in a recycling bin.

Recyclers are picky over the condition. Some used aluminum foil goes in the trash instead of recycling. How the foil is used affects its recycling status.

For example, aluminum foil coated with grease, oil, food, chemicals, or other substances goes in the trash. Recycling facilities only accept clean, used aluminum foil.

Aluminum Foil

How Do You Recycle Aluminum Foil?

Aluminum foil isn’t only on a boxed roll. Some drink cartons and candy wrappers are also made from the shiny paper. Don’t forget about yogurt tops. Some yogurt containers are sealed with aluminum foil.

Before recycling the boxed aluminum foil, remove it from the cardboard tube. The tube goes in a different recycling bin. Clean candy wrappers go in your bin for metal items.

Wrappers you can’t clean go in the trash. The same applies to drink cartons. You can’t always separate the aluminum from the paper box.

Yogurt tops are recyclable, but only after washing the caps. Recycling facilities will reject any dirty aluminum foil. Particulates on the foil can contaminate the recycling facility.

Aluminum Foil

Can You Put Aluminum in a Recycling Bin?

Go ahead and put your aluminum foil in a recycling bin. Which bin you use depends on your neighborhood and local recycler. State, county, and city laws can also apply.

Some recycling facilities may only accept pre-sorted items. For example, only glass recycling in one bin, paper in another, and metal in a third. Other facilities accept mixed recycling, so it’s best to check with your recycler.

Aluminum Foil

Can You Put Aluminum Foil in Compost?

Aluminum foil is a thin sheet of metal that is a breeze to tear. Something so easy to rip must break down quickly in a compost pile. It’s not true with aluminum foil.

The material is a metal alloy, it will not decompose over time. It takes around 400 years for aluminum foil to break down. Instead of adding to your compost pile, the foil can ruin it.

Aluminum Foil

What Can You Do With Used Aluminum Foil?

Aluminum foil is surprisingly versatile. You can find a use for it almost anywhere in your home, garage, or office. You don’t want to reuse foil covered with food or chemicals, but you can find some innovative uses for old foil.

Are you trying to reseed your lawn? Did you know aluminum foil can scare birds away? The crinkly sound foil makes frightens birds. Use old foil to create wind ornaments. The noise the ornaments make keeps birds away long enough for the seed to become grass.

Aluminum foil will also polish your silver and clean a dirty grill. It’s safe to use on cast iron. Don’t worry, it doesn't take away the pan’s seasoning. Wrap old aluminum foil around a pie crust. It protects the delicate crust from crumbling until it’s time to add the filling.

Have you ever tried moving heavy furniture across carpeting? It can turn into back-breaking work. Try sliding aluminum foil under the legs. You can scoot the furniture across the carpet. It works best on shorter pile carpets and soft shags. The foil also protects hard flooring from scuff marks.

Recyclable Foil


Aluminum foil is recyclable with conditions. Some of the conditions may not apply to your recycling center, but it’s always good to stay informed.

Some recycling plants only accept pre-sorted items. Aluminum foil belongs in the bin with other items like metals cans. Other recycling organizations will take in mixed bins.

They don’t mind when you mix metal, paper, and plastic recycling.

What all recycling centers have in common is the condition of your aluminum foil. It cannot have food or chemical particles attached.

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