April 21, 2009–Today’s Way: In terms of environmental impact, aluminum foil beats sandwich bags because of its ability to be recycled over and over again.  In our house, we actually re-use our aluminum foil by washing it, until it becomes torn or too small to be of further use.  And then, it goes right into the recycling bin with the tin cans.  Even so, the initial implications of bauxite mining (a major component of making aluminum) can be extremely taxing to the environment, and so it is only when we re-use aluminum that its impact is reduced.  The greener thing to do is to purchase recycled aluminum foil in the first place, which, according to If You Care (a manufacturer of 100% recycled aluminum foil), saves 95% of the energy required to make virgin aluminum foil.  Besides, aluminum foil is more diverse than plastic wrap or bags; you can use it to cook with and then it also protects foods in the fridge or in your lunch box. Best of all, then it can be recycled again and again, thereby closing that important recycling loop.  Though I’ve found it to be slightly less thick, the If You Care brand holds its own against the leading national brand, while costing only slightly more depending on where you live.  And its environmental benefits more than make up for it.  You can find recycled aluminum foil at most natural foods grocers as well as online.

One other little tip about aluminum foil before you recycle it; it works really well to sharpen household scissors!  Just fold the foil over into a few layers, make several cuts into the foil with the scissors, and that’s it!  Your scissors will be sharpened.  Then, roll up the foil and put it in your recycling bin.

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