Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don’t know about us may surprise you. Discover all the ‘Real Possibilities’

Highlights

Open

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming Money webinar or find materials from a past session. 

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Savings Challenge

Ways to Reuse Aluminum Foil

Save these sheets for use around your home — and your garden

          

Savings Challenge Logo

Grandma Yeager would be proud to know that I'm cut from the same roll when it comes to our family tradition of reusing foil. It's not just a way of saving money, but also Earth's resources, as well. According to the Aluminum Association, more than 1.3 billion pounds of aluminum foil is produced in the U.S. every year. Think of all the leftover meatballs that would wrap! While aluminum foil can be recycled, many curbside recycling programs won't accept it for sanitary reasons, so check with your local recycling program for their foil policy. Recycling aluminum uses only about 5 percent of the energy that it takes to produce aluminum from raw materials.

But there's an alternative to recycling foil. Just reuse it. Not only do I save and reuse my foil for wrapping leftovers, but I've one-upped even my grandmother by coming up with some other ways to reuse foil, as well. Remember, though: Foil that has come in contact with raw meat should not be reused for other food purposes.

Give these reuses a try:

Scrub the grill: Used foil makes a great scouring pad for cleaning the gunk off the barbecue grill and stuck-on food from pots, pans and oven racks.

Keep shoes/boots in shape: Stuff balls of wadded-up foil into leather boots and shoes to help them keep their form in the closet.

Sharpen garden shears and scissors: Just cut through folded layers of used foil a few times to sharpen dull scissors instantly. For heavy-duty garden and pruning shears, fold the foil even thicker.

Add texture to paint and plaster: Crumpled-up foil adds interesting texture to painting and plastering projects. Also, keep old foil on hand for wrapping your paintbrushes and rollers during a lunch break and for masking doorknobs and other fixtures you don't want painted.

Foil static cling: Throw a crumpled piece of aluminum foil into the clothes dryer to magically reduce static electricity. A true miracle of cheapskate science.

aluminum foil

— Photo by G.Flayols/photocuisine/Corbis

Deter pets and pests: When our cat started using our fireplace instead of her litter box, we put a couple of sheets of used aluminum foil on the floor of the fireplace to break her of that bad habit. Cats and dogs hate walking on foil, and they won't scratch surfaces temporarily wrapped in it. You can also hang strips of used foil on strings around the garden to deter birds, deer and other unwanted pests.

Protect plants: Fit a band of used foil loosely around the stems of young tomato plants and other early stage plants to keep away cutworms and other insects.

Polish metal: I think a wad of aluminum foil is more effective than steel wool for scrubbing rust off chrome and steel.

Line a roasting pan: Old foil works just as good as new for lining roasting pans and keeping baked-on grime off the oven.

The perfect 10th wedding anniversary gift: Remember this lucky break for your wallet: Wedding anniversary No. 10 is traditionally celebrated by exchanging gifts made of aluminum. Perhaps some homemade artwork from used aluminum foil? Or maybe Grandma Yeager could have started her 10th year of marriage with a new roll of foil, if only Gramps had been a bit more of a romantic.

Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

services & discounts

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can earn 3% cash back on purchases with the AARP® Visa® Card from Chase.

AARP Financial Services

Info on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.