Aluminum Foil


Clean aluminum foil is commonly accepted for recycling throughout the state. Rinse off any food residue and dry used aluminum foil before placing it in the recycling bin. Multiple sheets of aluminum foil should be rolled together into a ball to ensure that they are successfully sorted from other recyclable materials. Flat sheets of aluminum foil may accidentally end up with other flat items like paper or cardboard.

For more information on prepping aluminum foil for recycling, check out this post on Recycle Right New York’s Instagram Page.

Reduce the amount of aluminum foil you use by swapping in reusable options such as glass food storage containers and beeswax food wraps.

Clean Off All Food

Aluminum foil is recyclable if it’s free of food residue. Do not recycle dirty aluminum because food contaminates recycling. Try rinsing the foil to clean it; otherwise, you can throw it in the trash.

Ball It Up Before Recycling

Save your clean aluminum foil pieces and roll them all together into a ball until it has a diameter of at least 2 inches. Small and loose pieces of foil may be too small to be recycled in facilities and may get caught in machinery or be blown away, becoming litter in the transportation process.

No Potato Chip Bags

Items such as potato chip bags are made of a metallized plastic film, not aluminum, so don’t recycle them.

Do the Scrunch Test

Scrunch an item you’re not sure about in your hand and, if it springs back, it’s not aluminum.

Ways to Reduce

Parchment Paper

Use Parchment Paper Instead

Aluminum foil is taxing on the environment because of the high demand for it. Instead, try using parchment paper — also called baking paper or baking parchment — which is moisture- and grease-resistant, and makes cleaning up easy.

Ways to Reuse


Sharpen Scissors

Fold a sheet of foil several times and cut through it with a pair of dull scissors to sharpen the blades.


Protect Plants

Protect your young plant from insects by wrapping its stem loosely in aluminum foil.

Did You Know?

How Aluminum Is Recycled

Tin Foil

Tin foil was the first commercially available foil and was in use from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. What we call “tin foil” today isn’t the same although it still persists. Luckily aluminum foil does not add a metallic aftertaste like true tin foil.