11 Sep 2017

Metal magic

It’s estimated that the UK uses more than half a million tonnes of metal packaging in a year.* From biscuit tins to aerosol cans, we make contact with metal packaging every day of our lives.

So what happens next – are your food tins, drink cans, household foil etc destined for landfill? Under the household recycling scheme delivered by the Isle of Wight Council in partnership with Amey, these everyday items from around your home can be recycled again and again without the quality of the material being affected, by placing them in your green wheeled bin, gull sack or communal recycling bin. And that’s not all – once collected for recycling it takes just 60 days for your recycled items to be back in use.

Just think that 60 days ago, the foil you used to wrap your sandwiches could have been a can of coke. And it’s not just items like drink cans. Items such as pet food tins and foil takeaway trays can be recycled into new items. For example, the tin of tuna you used to make those sandwiches could have started life as the foil that wrapped your sandwiches.

Isle of Wight Council Cabinet member for waste management, Councillor Michael Murwill, said: “The energy saved from recycling metal packaging rather than using precious raw materials is quite staggering. For instance, if everyone in the UK recycled one more drink can it would save enough energy to power an electric train travelling the equivalent of from Leeds to Brighton (and back) nearly 6,000 times. If every person in the UK recycled one more deodorant aerosol, it would save the same weight in metal as three Angels of the North going into landfill.”

It’s not just items in the kitchen either – check out our top metal recycling ‘wins’ from around your home.

Top tips for metals and how to manage them (remember – these go in your green wheeled bin/gull proof sack or communal recycling bin).

• Air freshener, deodorant and shaving foam aerosols - ensure they’re empty and remove the plastic lid if there is one.
• Tins for sweets and biscuits - any foil sweet wrappers, plastic wrapping or crumbs should go in the bin but the tin they came in can be recycled.
• Kitchen foil - give it a rinse to remove any crumbs or residue then scrunch it into a ball to save space in your recycling bin.
• Food tins - whether for chopped tomatoes, tuna or even pet food these are all recyclable, just give them a quick rinse to remove any residue and leave the lid inside; labels can be left on.
• Drink cans - empty out the last drops and give them a quick rinse.
• Foil takeaway trays - empty out any leftovers and give them a quick rinse to remove any residue.
• Metal lids and caps from glass bottles and jars - although it sounds strange, it is best to leave them on the empty glass container they came from; the caps and lids are easily separated from the glass and go on to be recycled.

• no to dirty foil - when metal packaging still contains food or liquids, it can contaminate other recycling which prevents it from being recycled so give them a quick rinse;
• no to crisp packets and sweet wrappers – the recycling process is unable to separate the coloured paper from the foil;
• all that glitters is not made of metal - it might seem strange, but these items should always go in the rubbish bin, as these items are not made of metal and as such can’t be recycled;
• no to laminated foil or plastic pouches - foil and plastic pouches containing things like cat food or coffee cannot be recycled and so should go in the rubbish bin;
• no to metal containers for chemicals – things like engine oil and other harmful chemicals such as white spirit sometimes come in metal containers, but due to their contents they should not be included in the recycling; check the label and take them to the household waste and recycling centres at Lynnbottom, Newport or Afton Marsh, Freshwater;
• no metal kitchenware - cutlery, pots and pans are a different type of metal and can only be recycled at your local recycling centres;
• no electrical items - small electrical items like irons and kettles aren’t collected with your normal recycling but you can take them to Lynnbottom or Afton Marsh.

To find out more about putting the right things in the right bins, visit: https://www.iwight.com/AZRecyclingandWaste

Plus for a whole host of tips and advice on recycling, please visit: www.RecycleNow.com  

* Figure from Recycle Now research.

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From biscuit tins to aerosol cans, we make contact with metal packaging every day.
From biscuit tins to aerosol cans, we make contact with metal packaging every day.
  • It’s estimated that the UK uses more than half a million tonnes of metal packaging in a year.
  • Once collected for recycling, it takes just 60 days for metal recycled items to be back in use.
Isle of Wight, UK