Takeout Containers (Aluminum) Put in Recycling Clean Out Before Recycling Aluminum containers should be washed out before they are put in the recycling. Food traces contaminate the recycling process. Recycle the Cardboard Cover if Clean If the aluminum tray covers are clean, recycle them with other cardboard. Ways to Reuse Wash and Reuse Avoid throwing out an aluminum container after just one use. Try washing and then reusing it. Did You Know? The Preferred Takeout Container Out of all the types of takeout containers — aluminum, cardboard, plastic and foam — aluminum is the easiest for recycling plants to recycle, while foam is the most difficult.