One Green Thing: Aluminum foil can be useful … more than once

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

Did you know more than 1.3 billion pounds of aluminum foil is made every year in the United States? The challenge is, many curbside recycling programs will not accept used aluminum foil for sanitary reasons. This is TOO BAD because recycling aluminum only uses 5 percent of the energy it takes to produce aluminum from new materials.

OK, stop laughing … but I wash much of the foil I use. And yes, I wash it again and again. So, I was excited to read there are “reuses” beyond the kitchen …

Stack up six or eight layers and cut through it with dull scissors (or use more layers and sharpen your garden shears) … wow!

This makes no sense to me (and I haven’t tried it yet), but supposedly if you throw a crumpled piece into your clothes dryer, it seems to reduce static electricity.

Painting and want to take a break? Wrap your paint brushes and rollers in reused foil!

Snip foil into strips and hang on strings to chase birds and other pests out of your garden! Or, make a loose collar for your tomato plants in the garden (keeps out cutworms). Other small plants that are tasty to critters could do with this treatment as well.

Need to scour your grill? Wad up some foil and get scrubbing. It is supposed to work on pots, pans and your oven, too.

And here’s a handy tip for loose screws. If the threads are shot, wrap a little aluminum foil around the bolt or screw and retighten gently. It’s a good temporary fix.

Have your own ideas? Please share them … if I receive enough, I’ll include them in another column about reuse!

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the July 11-17, 2012, issue

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