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There’s a lot of baking this season, and with that comes a lot of aluminum pie pans, trays, roasting pans, and foil. These items make up the majority of disposable cookware and are used across the nation in high quantities during holiday cooking. Having a quality reusable pie pan or tin helps, but these disposable items are readily available and many people choose to use them to save time. Disposable items are also practical if you bring your treat over to a relative’s house or other holiday party so you don’t have to keep track of your items.
More than one million tons of aluminum containers and packaging, including soda cans, are thrown away each year. Holiday cooking doesn’t mean that items need to be sent to a landfill. See what your curbside recycling program offers and confirm what your nearby recycling center accepts. It’s possible that you can include aluminum cooking fare with your other recyclables. This is even true for aluminum foil, depending on where you live. In as little as 8 weeks after being sent to a recycler, recycled aluminum products are sent back to the grocery stores ready to be used again.
Make an effort to not to contaminate the aluminum recycling process. Although metal is melted down during the recycling process, it helps if your items are clean. Try and get any food residue off by using hot water and liquid soap or dishwashing detergent.
BONUS TIP: Not many people realize that restaurants such as Marie Callender’s and Bakers Square offer a deposit on their pie tins. That means when you buy a whole pie from them, keep your pie tin and bring it back with you next time and you’ll get the 80 cents or so back. Next time you purchase a pie from your favorite bakery-restaurant ask whether this is their practice. These tins are also usually more durable than the aluminum tins in the disposable cookware aisle, so if there is no deposit to reclaim, consider reusing these yourself.
If your community does not recycle aluminum trays and instead suggest that they be thrown out with the garbage, consider using a glass or a sturdy metal pan that you can reuse over and over again. This makes a better choice than one-time, throw away stuff. Washable and reusable cookware for pies will also hold up to the weighty, fruity, sweet fillings used in pies and other recipes.
As an added bonus, look at the cool recycled pie tin art over at Chef Tess. This post shows you how to cut shapes out of the pans and layer them to make cool decorative pieces.
More information about recycling during your holiday parties is found at party recycling and remember you can recycle cookware such as pots and pans too!