Aluminium packaging is pretty much the most efficiently recycled product. It is recycled quickly, is 100 percent recyclable and recycling it costs only 5 percent of the energy required to mine bauxite and make Aluminium.
Whatever the source of your Aluminium - foil or cans, make sure it is clean and mostly free of food before being placed in your council recycling bin. Don't spend too much time and don't waste resources such as water trying to clean it, but do scrape food off it, empty cigarettes or ash from trays or limes from beer cans.
Aluminium cans are most efficiently recycled at your local CDC. If you don't care to take you own back, a quick look around your neighbourhood will readily locate a teenager keen to take them off your hands.
When you are recycling foil, most Australian city councils will generally ask you to scrunch up your clean aluminium foil, into a fist sized ball before recycling. This is particularly important with small pieces of aluminium foil like that from little chocolate easter eggs. The small pieces can get caught in the recycling machinery.
If you are needing some Zen time or are creatively inspired, the Japanese have created a kind of national sport out of scrunching up aluminium into a ball and beating it till it's solid and then polishing it. I am not too sure what happens after that, beyond sharing on Instagram, but it looks amazing.
If you are a hair dressing salon, contact Sustainable Salons Australia, who collect and recycle 95% of salon waste, including foil. Hair salons are known for using tonnes of aluminium foil every year. Sustainable Salons work with Refoil, an Australian aluminium recycling initiative, with a brand of recycled and recyclable aluminium specifically for hair salons.
Here's a tip for your next beer can crush debate. Aluminium cans are processed using an ‘eddy current’ to remove the aluminium. Basically the system applies a static electricity charge to the cans and collects them like a magnet. The process is automated, and the ‘eddy current’ doesn't care if the can in crushed or not.