This recycling week (23-29 September), Orkney Islands Council is running a mini-campaign encouraging residents to recycle even more foil trays and household foil.
The campaign builds on the Metal Matters initiative launched in 2017, which saw an impressive increase in the amount of metals being recycled by locals - by 44% at recycling centres and almost 20% at the kerbside.
Metal Matters was run in conjunction with not-for-profit organisation Alupro who work to fulfil the aluminium packaging industry’s obligation to meet aluminium recycling targets, and led to OIC being selected as a finalist in this year's MRW National Recycling Awards in the 'campaign of the year' category for campaigns under £10k.
Councillor Graham Sinclair is Chair of the committee responsible for waste services in the county (the Council's Development and Infrastructure Committee): "We want to thank our residents for doing a great job in increasing the amount of metals they recycle at the kerbside.
"However, we want to take that even further now by focusing on foil.
"I was amazed to learn that an average household can expect to use 182 foil trays and 144 metres of foil wrap each year.
"The good news is that recycling a tonne of aluminium saves nine tonnes of C02 emissions and four tonnes of bauxite, the raw material from which aluminium is made. And aluminium can be recycled indefinitely.
“So it’s clear that each household converted to foil recycling really does make a difference environmentally.
“The Council also gets a good return for metals recycling, which helps offset the costs of all our waste disposal activities in Orkney.
“But we know from speaking to the public that some people are unaware they can recycle foil in Orkney, or aren’t aware of the benefits.
“That’s why, with Alupro’s help again, we’ll be highlighting foil recycling during Recycling Week and beyond.”
As part of awareness raising, the Council will be installing banners provided by Alupro at recycling centres and other public places around Orkney.
OIC’s waste team are also featuring facts and figures about foil recycling on the EcoActive Facebook page, and carrying out visits to schools over Recycling Week which runs from 23-29 September this year.
In Orkney, householders can put aluminium foil and foil trays in the metal recycling banks at one of the Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs), or into their recycling bin. The advice is to just rinse off food residue and put in your recycling bin (or in the metals skips at HWRCs) alongside other metals you can recycle such as food and drink cans and tins, and metal lids and tops from jars and bottles.
For smaller pieces of foil (eg dairy lidding or chocolate foil) it's best to make a larger ball of foil (about the size of a tennis ball) by scrunching pieces together - it will prevent smaller pieces falling through machinery during the recycling process.