Firework boxes seem to have a thin layer of metal foil on the outside, presumable to assist in fireproofing. Does this mean they can't be easily recycled?

There are probably some differences in capability between different recycling techniques, but perhaps the answer is a simple yes?

  • I'm guessing that if they are recyclable at all, it's as metal rather than as card (the card would be burnt off and the metal recovered). But I don't actually know that.
    – Flyto
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 6:12
  • This material can be theoretically recycled using similar techniques as Tetra Pak. Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 8:25
  • @SimonWaldman, the foil layer is so thin that I doubt that anyone would bother recovering it. Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 20:00

2 Answers 2


If you were to put that box in the recycling bin in our town, it would be taken out and pout with the cardboard. Technically, I see your point about the foil being valuable metal. But from a US recycling standpoint, the effort it would take to take out the foil by hand is too great. If you could separate the two elements, then that would solve the problem.

A great book just came out about Chinese recycling: Junkyard Planet by Adam Minter. They get all our waste that we can't afford to bother with.


No, the metal layer would contaminate the paper; paper is recycled to become paper again. It would take too much time and effort to separate the two materials.

  • Hello and welcome! Do you have any data or sources to support this? It makes sense, but I'm wondering if magnets could be used to separate the paper (like is done to separate metal from plastic).
    – LShaver
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 15:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.