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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.

Click here to see if your local council currently accepts aluminium foil in their recycling collections

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.

Michael Fletcher
Commercial Director


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

Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. Can you put small aluminum minces pie trays inside empty drink cans 0

  2. So, yesterday, you published a list of councils you said were recycling aluminium, you were challenged on the accuracy of that list and in response you have rewritten your blog to make it look like that list never existed.

    Is that in the spirit of transparency you were attempting to create yesterday?

    I would have liked you to have just retitled your list, not withdrawn it altogether and consequently diluted your message.

    • Hello, we want to ensure the information we’re providing is correct, we’ll be updating our list in the blog post very soon! Thanks for your comment. ^Scott

  3. Good ideas and advice. Keep up the good work. Philomena Rudgwick


    • Your list of councils that recycle was very misleading. As I said in my previous email you didn’t put my council,South Hams, on the list, and yet I’ve been recycling foil and tins for months!
      Whoever did the research needs to sharpen up!

  4. I realised one day that my council (South Hams) did recycle tins so why not tin foil,and I;m afraid I didn’t differentiate between “tin and “aluminium” and I rinse and add bits of foil and foil cases automatically with my tins. Maybe they’re not being recycled, but so far there haven’t been any messages to say people aren’t doing what they should, so I just keep going! surely the process would be the same?

  5. Also can you check if you have given the list the wrong title?

    I think it’s a list of councils that DO NOT recycle aluminium rather than ones that do.

    I checked Derby City Council and they DO NOT recycle aluminium foil – it goes into the black bin for non-recyclable items.

  6. Please correct the spelling in your list of councils. It’s NOT aliminium

  7. Cannock Chase District Council also recycle aluminium foil, cans and carpet strips

  8. Lichfield District council also recycle aluminium according to their website waste collection pages

  9. I have to admit I didn’t know the facts about the recycling aluminium.

    The savings in energy and resources are striking.

    The benefits are clear.

    Sad that so many local authorities don’t support the effort we can make so easily.

  10. You can add Wolverhampton City Council to your list. They accept ‘foil packaging’. I’ve just read it on their latest refuse collection leaflet.

    Sean Smith

    > WordPress.com

  11. Our local authority recycles aluminium foil but I feel let down by the Co-op.
    It is unfortunate and quite disturbing that our co-op store only uses plastic bags for everything, fresh fruit and veg, carrier bags. Even the bags for bread and buns which seem to be paper are not recyclable! I have spoken to the shop managers many times but they say it is all up to head office, I have called customer services but they can’t do anything about it. As a coop member for 45 years I am having to go to Sainsbury to buy bread and croissants as they have brown paper bags.

  12. Adur and Worthing Council also recycle tin foil and aluminum containers


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