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Expert reveals what you should actually be doing with the aluminum foil you've been recycling: 'I didn't know that'

Aluminum is extremely recyclable; it can be recycled over and over without a loss in quality.

Aluminum is extremely recyclable; it can be recycled over and over without a loss in quality.

Photo Credit: TikTok

Unsure of what to do with your aluminum scraps? This TikToker will show you how to properly recycle your foil.

The scoop

On TikTok, Emma (@simpleenvironmentalist) reminded viewers that aluminum is completely recyclable.

@simpleenvironmentalist Stop throwing it away 👏🏼 clean, dry, and large enough pieces of aluminum foil CAN. be recycled ♻️ #recycle #recycled #recycling #recycletok #howtorecycle #recyclingtips #recyclingtiktok #recycling101 #zerowaste #lowwaste #eco #ecotok #zerowastelife #lowwastelife #zerowastetips #zerowastehacks #lowwastetips #zerowastelasvegas #zerowasteonabudget ♬ Nellie - Dr. Dog

"Here is your regular reminder that 100% aluminum foil can be recycled," she says. "Any bits from candy, yogurt, etc, can be recycled as long as it is clean, dry, and about the size of your fist."

"I like to save mine and wrap it all in one big piece to make sure it's big enough," Emma says.

You can keep tiny scraps in a jar until you've collected enough. When it's time to recycle it, make sure your aluminum scrap ball is big enough before tossing it in the recycling bin. Additionally, be sure that your aluminum is free of any leftover food or liquids, as soiled scraps cannot be recycled and can contaminate other items.

How it's helping

Aluminum is extremely recyclable; it can be recycled over and over without a loss in quality. This makes aluminum one of the most recycled materials; according to The Aluminum Association, "nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today."

The recycling process for aluminum is easy and low-energy. While recycling some materials, such as batteries or fiberglass, is an energy-extensive and difficult process, aluminum is very easily recycled. In the same report from The Aluminum Association, it noted that "recycled aluminum saves 95% of the energy needed to make new aluminum."

Because of aluminum's recycling potential, it's crucial to recycle it properly. If recycled, an aluminum soda can is back on the shelf within 60 days, per Texas Recycling. If thrown away, this same soda can will take hundreds of years to break down, as the Muncie Sanitary District reported.

Individual actions such as these contribute to a cooler, cleaner future by preventing methane pollution at landfills and protecting the oceans.

If you have items you want to get off your hands, ThredUP, For Days, and Got Sneakers are organizations that can recycle or upcycle your clothing and shoes, and you could even get store credit for them in some cases.

Recycling can be confusing, but The Cool Down can help. If you're looking for ways to make smarter recycling choices, check out our guide.

What people are saying

Commenters appreciated the advice, with one calling it a "much-needed reminder."

"Definitely an easy way to reduce waste," another user wrote.

"Great tip! I didn't know that," someone else said.

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