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Over 3,000 tonnes of aluminium will end up in landfill this Christmas*. As a nation, we’ll consume 370 million mince pies over the festive period, with around 370 tonnes of aluminium packaging used to bake and package the festive favourite. And almost a quarter of the aluminium packing will not be recycled correctly. This is why we’re campaigning to stop aluminium foil from going into landfill.
How we’re encouraging Local Authorities to take action
One in five local authorities do not accept aluminium foil in their recycling schemes yet 81% of people** said they would recycle aluminium if they could.
All local authorities have an aluminium food can collection in place and the process to collect and recycle aluminium foil is the same as long as the foil is rinsed out then the packaging can be recycled.
So we’re writing to all local authorities that do not yet recycle aluminium foil, calling for the introduction of foil recycling to be sped up, to help stop more aluminium going to landfill.
If you want to see wider recycling of aluminium foil, you too can contact your Local Authority and ask them to introduce aluminium recycling.
Some simple steps you can take to recycle
- Aluminium kitchen foil used for cooking and sandwich/food wrapping can be recycled. Give it a wipe down to remove most of the food residue and drop it in with your recycling.
- Aluminium foil trays can be recycled, such as mince pie cases, pie and quiche cases, oven-ready meal trays and take-away trays.
- Many Christmas chocolate decorations are wrapped in aluminium foil, and the lids on dairy products, such as yoghurts and creams, are often made of aluminium too – scrunch them together to form a ball, as the bigger the ball the easier it it to recycle
- A simple check is the scrunch test – if when scrunched, it pops out into its original form it should not be put into your recycling.
- Give foil and trays a wipe or dunk in the washing up bowl to remove food residue and pop in with your recycling – they don’t have to be spotless, but too much food residue can contaminate your recycling.
How we do business really matters
The world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future.
Recycling one tonne of aluminium saves nine tonnes of C02 emissions. Aluminium can be endlessly recycled, without losing quality and takes as little as eight weeks to be recycled and be back on the supermarket shelf. What’s more, recycling aluminium saves up to 95 per cent of the energy it takes to make both aluminium from raw materials meaning it’s much more energy efficient than producing from new materials.
We’re always working on reducing our use of un-recyclable packaging. In 2017 we stated that we want to make all our packaging easy to recycle. Find out more about our work here.
Find out more about how Co-op is tackling plastic and food waste:
*35,000 tonnes on average each year / 12 = 2,916 **A survey conducted on behalf of Co-op in December 2019 of 2,000 respondents