It’s always the same – the day after my birthday party, cans, crown corks and bottle caps are spread all over my apartment. Means: It’s cleaning time. But let’s be honest, I always struggle with throwing away coated aluminium caps. Are they recyclable, aren’t they recyclable, in which bag to they belong? Come on, I cannot be the only one. Since I’m tired of this very special birthday ritual, I started some research on proper recycling. Since coated caps or crown corks weren’t the only results to show up, I wanted to share my new knowledge. So here are my top 5- “often-incorrectly-disposed”-recyclables: 

A False Friend: Aluminium in Combination With Other Materials 

Let’s have a closer look at my “after-birthday-party-dilemma”: In some cases, items appear to be aluminium but they are actually labeled with other materials. Usually, these items run through the recycling process and after being burned, the aluminium can be extracted from the bottom ash and be recycled again. Means, I throw it away as the coating material, the aluminium bonded to it will be recycled in a next step.

Attention, Dear Coffee Lovers!

What’s better than a hot, good smelling coffee after a long night of partying? I cannot think of anything else. But when it comes to recycling the coffee capsules, things get a little difficult. Even though made from aluminium, coffee capsules (e.g. Nespresso) are not collected by local authorities or the Green Dot in all European countries. For example in Great Britain: There you can return your used capsules to the Nespresso stores or let them be picked up at home. You can order so called “recycling bags” from Nespresso for free, in which you collect them until they are picked up. Other European countries like Germany can take a freely breath: coffee capsules can be disposed via Green Dot. You want to know, how the recycling process for the capsules works? Watch this video to find out: 

Spray it – Recycle it!

Both tinplated steel and aluminium are endlessly recyclable. Aerosols made from these materials often contain some small plastic components like the lid, the valve and the dip tube – you can try to remove the plastic lid if it is easy to do, but if you don’t, that’s no problem at all because these plastic pieces are extracted in the recycling process. Before disposing the aerosol, please make sure they are completely empty and do not squash or pierce them!

Quick Food, Quickly Recycled

After my great birthday bash, this is a very beloved ritual: since I don’t have the motivation to cook a healthy meal, fast food is the way to go. Foil trays, for example from ready meals like quiche or lasagna, are fully recyclable since they are made from aluminium! One short note on that: what you might not know is that, like aerosols, they must be completely empty and furthermore they need to be clean (a dunk in the washing up bowl is already sufficient)! By the way: it works the same with wrapping foil. For being recyclable, it needs to be wiped clean and free from most food residue. But attention: Not all wrapping foil that looks like made from aluminium really is – some foils are metallised plastic film and as such, they cannot be recycled as usual wrapping foil. To figure out, if your wrapping foil is recyclable or not, watch this video:

We all have this one, special item which we don’t know how to recycle. What is yours? Tell us in the comments and we’ll see, if we can help you out!

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