It’s not just cans – deodorants, foil trays, bottle tops and wrapping foil are all made of recyclable aluminium

We’re all familiar with drinks can recycling – most councils in the UK now offer a household collection service and the recycling rate for aluminium cans in 2011 hit its highest level ever, at 60 per cent. This figure is set to rise further as recycling becomes the norm not just at home, but at work on ‘on the go’ as well.

But did you know that you can also recycle all the other products that are packaged using aluminium, like empty deodorant and hair care aerosols and food packaging like foil pie cases, yoghurt pot lids, pet food trays and ready meal containers?

And don’t forget the aluminium screw caps, found on wine and spirits bottles!  These can also be recycled – the best way to do this is to screw them back on the empty bottle before recycling in a bottle bank or kerbside system.

Most local authorities now collect all of these materials for recycling, either as part of a regular household collection or through ‘bring’ banks, like the ones you may have seen at the supermarket. Collections are expanding all the time and if you don’t have a doorstep collection, your local council website will direct you to your nearest collection site. Alternatively, you can enter your postcode at the Recycle Now website to find out which materials you can recycle from home and where recycling banks are located in your area.

nespressoOther aluminium packaging applications are not always collected by local authorities.  This includes coffee capsules (e.g. Nespresso), Alupro has worked with Nespresso to establish their own recycling system in the UK.

Recycling tips

Not all packaging that looks like foil actually is– some sweet wrappers and crisp packets are actually metallised plastic film and cannot be recycled as foil.

To check if it’s aluminium, do the ‘scrunch’ test:

Scrunch the foil in your hand – if it stays squashed it is foil and can be added to your recycling. If it bounces back it is plastic and needs to go in the bin.

Please rinse foil trays before recycling to remove food residue. This reduces smells and prevents other materials in the recycling becoming contaminated and attracting pests. To save water trays can be rinsed at the end of the washing up.

Only recycle empty, used up aerosols. Do not attempt to pierce or squash them. If you can, remove the plastic cap and nozzle; but this is not essential.

Where can I recycle aluminium?