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How to Recycle Your Foil Bottle Tops

Foil packaging. It’s one of those waste materials that plenty of people don’t know what to do with. Does it go in the recycling bin or the general waste bin? We’re happy to announce it is endlessly recyclable!

Compared to tins, glass jars and big lumps of plastic, aluminium foil goes through a slightly trickier recycling process, but can be recycled over and over again. So how do you best prepare it for its next life?

First thing’s first, it's very important that it's cleaned before being thrown into recycling. If there’s stubborn grease stuck to an aluminium tray, it won’t be able to be recycled.

There's also plenty of talk of smaller pieces of foil packaging getting lost in the recycling process, so you might have wondered if it's really worth adding the tops from your glass milk bottles or the wrapping from your Easter eggs to your recycling bin in the first place. According to Alupro, who lead the way in recycling the country's aluminium, only 56% of the aluminium packaging that was put onto the UK market in 2019 was collected for recycling.

While it's true that it can be difficult for recycling machinery to process this kind of packaging when it’s on the smaller side, there is something you can do to ensure those smaller bits don’t slip through the net. Recycle Now suggests to scrunch all your foil wrappers, cans and trays up into a ball, making sure all the smaller pieces are trapped in the middle. In doing this, you can rest assured you're doing your best to make sure all your aluminium waste continues on its recyclable journey forever.

Tip: 'the scrunch test.' There are a few types of packaging that look a lot like aluminium foil but are actually made from metallised plastic. To check if something truly is recyclable foil, simply scrunch it in your hand. If it stays the shape you scrunched it to, it’s recyclable; if it springs back, it’s not.