Aluminum Candy Wrappers
All that glitters is most certainly not gold — it could quite easily be aluminum! The infinitely recyclable, silver-toned material has been one of our consumer culture’s top go-to resources for many a decade, playing a large role in the production of such diverse everyday items as guitars, LED lighting, electrical power lines, baseball bats, CDs and paint. It’s quite possible, however, that the ubiquitous nature of aluminum and its many incarnations somehow triggers momentary recycling amnesia among the masses. How else can we explain our odd inclination to deposit beverage cans and even fruit pie tins into the closest collection bin, but when it comes to smaller aluminum-based items like crumpled metallic candy wrappers, we give them the heave-ho without even batting an eyelash? What gives, people? If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool chocoholic (like me!) or you enjoy nibbling holiday-themed treats every now and again (yup, guilty again!), aluminum chocolate wrappers have passed through your hands hundreds of times. Since they’re so easy to wad up, their unassuming appearance makes us justify why they’re not worth recycling alongside other more substantial yet equally recyclable containers. Not so, choco-compadres of the world — never underestimate the power of the recycled aluminum candy wrapper! Here are some tips to help you make the most of your teeny-tiny tin wonders:
  • If you frequently make homemade treats as gifts, wrap them with recycled colored foil. This same concept even applies to DIY soaps, bath bombs and other hand-crafted beauty products.  Oh, it’ll make ‘em look even more neato than they already are!
  • Create a heat-reflective backdrop for your solar oven using a patchwork of smoothed-out aluminum candy wrappers (the interior foil collected from large, 4-oz. flat bars is especially ideal).
  • Instantly reduce the static electricity that mercilessly attacks your clothing by adding well-cleaned, recycled aluminum candy wrapper balls to your drying cycle. This is best achieved by accumulating them over time, or by enjoying a fast-and-furious chocolate gorge fest! Although it may seem like a surprising application, it really does work like a charm.
  • Gather the kiddies around your kitchen table and teach them how to make recycled beads for fanciful necklaces with reclaimed candy wrappers (just tweak this easy recycled paper bead technique).
  • If you or your posse are partial to handcrafted sparklers, tear a page out of German jewelry designer Iris Merkle’s book by emulating her Finger Gluck rings, which feature reclaimed candy wrappers epoxied to a simple silver band.
  • Hand-form aluminum collars around tender new garden perennials to discourage insects (particularly cutworms) from munching indiscriminately.
  • Reclaimed foil candy wrappers serve as the ideal canvas for your next inspired art project, whether refined, glitzy or crafty — with DIY holiday ornaments as a particularly ideal application.
  • The reflective nature of aluminum will also scare other predatory garden pests, so hang recycled candy wrappers (preferably those that are smoothed out, of course) from a plastic line running around the perimeter of your garden. If you choose to use metallic colored wrappers, the display will look especially festive and decorative to boot!
  • Another crafty project for the child at heart: Make candy wrapper snowflakes to lend sparkle to your wintry window landscape, or individual candy wrapper flowers.
  • Hand wrap love notes or lunch bag messages with reclaimed candy foil for an unexpected treasure (again, the larger chocolate bar wrappers make this suggestion a lot easier to pull off).
  • Wad aluminum foil into a large ball and whenever you’re faced with pots and pans that have a layer of food clinging tenaciously to them (or even the grill of your barbecue), you’ll be amazed at how effective that makeshift metallic scrubber will be. The naturally abrasive effect of recycled aluminum makes metal cookware shine like new!
  • Once you’ve accumulated a hefty amount of smoothed-out aluminum foil wrappers, fold them in half and then cut dull scissors right through the “parcel” several times to sharpen the blades.