Sustainability | Ecotrope

Recycling 101: Foil Scraps

Ecotrope | June 5, 2012 3:55 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:31 p.m.

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In Portland, you can put the foil topper from your yogurt container in the curbside recycling bin. But you should separate the foil from the container and fold it into a big bundle with other foil first. Either that, or put it into a metal container with a lid so the recycler can separate the different metals after the initial sorting process.

In Portland, you can put the foil topper from your yogurt container in the curbside recycling bin. But you should separate the foil from the container and fold it into a big bundle with other foil first. Either that, or put it into a metal container with a lid so the recycler can separate the different metals after the initial sorting process.

Last week, at the request of OPB’s online news editor, I asked Metro’s recycling information specialist Patrick Morgan how to recycle little plastic doodads such as bread bag ties and milk spout seals.

This week, Rebecca Galloway returned to my desk to drop off another piece of possibly recyclable waste: The foil on a yogurt container?

Morgan said you can put foil scraps such as yogurt toppers in your curbside recycling bin, “but since they’re so small, what you want to do is bundle them together into a big ball. If you don’t get a significant enough bundle you can always take metal scraps and put them in something like a tin can.”

He suggested a cookie tin with the lid tightly secured. What will happen is the tin will be separated into a metals pile and sent to a recycling facility that will sort the different metals.

There’s usually a little bit of plastic in the foil that comes on a yogurt container, he said. “but it’s usually such an insignificant amount that it’s just going to burn off when you melt the aluminum anyway.”

If you want your foil to be recycled, make sure the total weight of your bundle is 95 percent metal, said Morgan.

“If there were a lot of contaminants, if people put things in that were mixed plastic, it starts to become an issue,” he said.

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