How can I reuse or recycle aluminium foil/tin foil/silver foil?

Every now and then I search for something on Recycle This and am floored when I find we’ve not covered it. The most recent example: tin foil.

We’ve talked about possibly recycling aluminium foil for charity and about related items such as easter egg/chocolate wrapping foil, foil trays for pet food or pies and tarts, even the serrated boxes that silver foil comes in but not silver foil itself. Crazy!

It’s easy to reduce using it in the first place by swapping to using lids on tubs or bowls instead etc and reusable wrapping materials – and it’s widely recycled too — most kerbside/community bins for tin cans accept foil too. But what about reuses for it?

I know a lot of people reuse clean bits of foil as new. Do you do that? If not, do you have other reuses for nearly-new foil?

What about for “dirty” foil – stuff with food baked onto it?

(Picture by pasukara76)

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household, items, kitchen, packaging

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9 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle aluminium foil/tin foil/silver foil?”


  1. Pet says:

    I use aluminium foil from packaging, like coffee, chips, some soups, etc for many crafting things for my daugthers. They very much like the silver shining. I cut yarn from it, to crochet a silver belt or to plait a hair ribbon. And at the moment, I cut the silver foil into pieces of 1 inch by 2.5 inches and fold them like the gum wrappers into a nice silver basket.
    I ask everyone to save their coffee packages for me, since our eco coffee don’t use this kind of packaging. :-)

    • I too use this kind of foil, the more plasticised foil from coffee bags, crisp/chip packets, chocolate but I too am at a loss as to how to use what used to be called tin foil and I presume this is where the problem lies that perhaps it used to be tin rather than aluminium. This may be why it is not widely collected any more.

      I have contemplated melting it down myself but have concerns about any gasses that would be released.

      I have bags and bags of it….and it is useless in my work because it can cope with being manipulated without tearing.

  2. Alice says:

    It’s usually aluminium and can be recycled along with drinks cans.

    I often take samosas as a packed lunch if I’m going anywhere, and foil is great for wrapping them ‘cos they’re really oily.

    I also reuse some to line the bottom of my oven and the grill pan – even quite dirty foil could be reused for this.

    When it’s really horrible and covered in melted cheese etc I can just throw it out, meaning I never have to spend ages trying to clean the baked-on gunk off the oven itself.

  3. Dani says:

    To clean silverware:

    Place a piece of silver foil on the bottom of a plastic container. Pour boiling water on the foil and add 1/2 a cup of bicarbonate of soda. Put the silverware into the container (ensuring that it makes contact with the foil) and stand back and watch the silverware come clean in 5 – 10 minutes. Wash with warm, soapy water and dry with a soft cloth

  4. Tiptheplanet says:

    I use foil when I’m grilling steaks. Of course, you have to let the steaks sit after grilling so I use foil to cover it. I then use the foil to grill food like delicate fish or vegetables. I’d like to believe that it adds flavor to it.

  5. Ivegotabag says:

    There is aluminium/tin ie METAL foil and PLASTIC with an aluminium foil coating.

    You need to do the “scrunch test” as learned on Blue Peter many years ago if you’re not sure of the difference.

    If you scrunch it up and it remains scrunched then it is metal foil – and if it doesn’t then it is plastic with a coating.

    Many Councils recycle clean metal foil (as used in pie cases etc) but not the foil coated plastic one (as used in crisp packets and coffee packets etc).

    You can reuse the metal cases for making your own pies.

  6. Karen says:

    My cat loves playing with silver foil balls. Just cruch up the silver foil throw it on the ground and your cat (and you!) will have hours of fun :)!!

  7. delyth edwards says:

    Please don’t think about scrunching up tin foil into a ball and allowing an animal to play with it. If swallowed it can have dire consequences. Be Warned!



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