Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to reduce your consumption of aluminum foil.
Level of Commitment: Baby Steps
This is a classic reduce, reuse, recycle challenge. I’m going to offer multiple options today; choose one or more to fit your lifestyle – but be sure to at least take one step forward in Analyzing Aluminum!
Why Recycle Aluminum Foil?
Because aluminum is a non-renewable resource, it’s REALLY important to recycle it. God only created a certain amount on this earth, and when we use it up, it’s gone forever! Aluminum is quite easily recycled, luckily, so challenge number one is simple: recycle your aluminum at all opportunities, including cans, foil, pans, etc. If your community doesn’t offer aluminum recycling, that makes it all the more important to reduce and reuse…keep reading!
What Should I Use Aluminum Foil For?
Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s recently, so if you can avoid letting it touch your food, that’s the safest choice. For me, there are still a few places I can’t think of anything else to use:
- Grilling foil packets of veggies
- Covering casserole dishes that have no lid when baking…
- UPDATE: Yes! I knew there had to be a better way! Thank you to a faithful reader for thinking it through for all of us. Try a cookie sheet turned upside down on your next casserole – I know I’m going to!
There are a lot of places I see other people use it. Here are some simple steps to switch out your aluminum foil for something else:
- Please, please, please…stop covering plates and bowls and brownies with foil just for storage! I nearly have a heart attack when I see people do this. And they usually don’t even reuse the foil, even when it basically clean. Such a waste. Cover your leftovers in a lidded dish or with plastic wrap, wax paper, paper towel, your child’s dirty t-shirt…seriously, ANYthing but non-renewable aluminum foil!
- Skip the foil to line a cookie sheet to bake something messy (like sweet potatoes). Just switch to parchment paper or a nifty silicone mat like this one: Silpat 11-5/8-by-16-1/2-Inch Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat (See my Gadget Wishlist for a picture.)
- Baked potatoes. Did you know potatoes don’t have to be wrapped in foil to bake? As long as you puncture the skin, you can bake them on a cookie sheet unwrapped. The skins get crispier and are easy to peel off if you don’t like them or are using the potatoes for potato salad. If you don’t like them crispy, coat the potatoes with oil before baking. Here’s my new method for restaurant-style baked potatoes (sans foil).
- Consider cans. If you regularly drink a beverage from an aluminum can, at the VERY least, recycle every single one. Beyond that, consider whether your beverage comes in another kind of container. We’ve found it’s less expensive to buy 2-liter bottles of pop than cans (although glass would be even nicer, considering the dangers of plastics!). And yes, hubby shouldn’t drink soda pop at all, but that’s not something I can change without having to sleep on the couch!
- If you line brownie or bread pans with foil to lift them out easier, try parchment paper instead.
Use Aluminum Foil Until it Falls Apart
Aluminum Foil is great for reusing. When I bake potatoes in foil, I save and reuse the foil until I can’t do it anymore. When I receive a plate of food wrapped in foil (see no. 1 above), after recovering from my waste-of-resources heart attack, I carefully fold the foil and reuse it for covering casserole dishes or grilling. You can do this, too!
I remember a cousin getting grossed out once that I reused foil on baked potatoes. ??? It’s touching a washed potato skin that no one has licked, spit on, or eaten from, peeled off and put back in my drawer. What’s any grosser about that than washing the kitchen table and using that again?
Reuse your foil. Do it for me (or the earth or your budget, whatever!).
I also notice I don’t buy foil very often, so this definitely helps my budget!
Added Bonus: This is a classic Kitchen Stewardship example, because you make a positive impact on the earth, your pocketbook AND your health all by making some simple changes.
I’m pleased to link up with the All Things Eco Blog Carnival at Focus Organic, Ann Kroeker’s Make-Do Mondays, Homemaker Mondays at 11th Heaven’s Homemaking Haven, and Tightwad Tuesdays at Being Frugal and the Green Moms Carnival at Mindful Momma.
Have you seen these posts from Mind the Microwave in May?
- Research Notes, part one: Breastmilk
- 10 Tips for Avoiding the Microwave
- Time Management/Fewer Dishes Tips