Rubbish Talk


11. What do I do with Aluminium Foil, Trays, Cans & Tins?

​​​Aluminium is also the most cost-effective material to recycle. Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely, as reprocessing does not damage its structure. Recycling aluminium requires only 5% of the energy and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions as compared with primary production and reduces the waste going to landfill.

‘When you can choose a can’

Aluminium or Tin Foil is 100% recyclable simply be remelting it. However, in Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri it goes in the Red Bin. It can’t go in the yellow bin because it flattens too much and gets caught up in the paper and cardboard.

The best thing, as always, is to not use it in the first place. There are plenty of great options available now for reusables like silicon products, reusable baking and roasting trays – including lids so that the foil isn’t needed. Use wax wraps if food is cold. Wipe the tinfoil and resuse too. 

Thankfully, there are some recycling options. Scrunch kitchen, chocolate wrap or easter egg foil into a ball – the bigger the ball, the easier it is to recycle. Local Metalman and will take this if clean and collected separately from other metal items. It can be taken to the Eco Drop scrapmetal piles too (if clean).

If the foil is contaminated with grease or burnt-on bits of food, throw it in your red rubbish bin. 

You can also purchase recycled aluminium e.g. – ‘If You Care’ Aluminium Foil is made with 100% recycled aluminium and available at supermarkets but it still needs to be landfilled or if clean then recycled.

Aluminium Trays can be kept clean and reused, can go to metal man or ecodrop, otherwise if unclean they go in the Red bin for disposal. 

The remarkable thing about recycling the cans that hold soft drink and tinned fruit and vegetables is that the process for turning the metal back into a usable product actually requires less energy than when they were first made. Recycling aluminium from a can takes only 5% of the energy that it takes to extract it from ore. 

Aluminium food tins & drink cans can go in the Yellow bin or if you want to earn some money from cans they can be sent in bulk to scrap metal dealers. The tins & cans cannot have lids on them, and they should be removed before going to landfill or scrap dealers. Also don’t squash them! Its harder to clean them down the line.

Aluminium drink cans cannot be accepted if they include a plastic lid or ‘wrap signage’ – which small breweries use because it is cheaper than directly printing onto can, but it should be able to be removed.

Some community organisations have the big red containers to collect cans e.g. Redwood School who raise money for the Kidney Foundation. 

What about Kan Tabs? 
Drink can tabs can be dropped off at Resene or allocated Schools. Local Lions collect the lids / caps and deliver them to Waste Management, where they are collected & sent for processing.

The profits, are being donated to Kidney Kids. Every time you open a can, tear off the tab and place it in your pocket then into a ‘Kan Tabs’ can when you see one… somewhere a sick child will thank you.   Local Lions contact Raewyn Clearwater 

More info on getting back the bottle and can recycling schemes go to