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Reusing Plastic Coffee Cans

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Reusing Plastic Coffee Cans, A plastic red container of ground coffee.

Ground coffee can now be found in reusable plastic containers with a tight fitting lid and handle. They are perfect for storage and crafts. This is a guide about reusing plastic coffee cans.


Solutions: Reusing Plastic Coffee Cans

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Frugal Tissue Dispenser

As a former teacher I am very much aware of how many out-of-pocket expenses teachers have. One big request is tissues, especially this time of year. I have made a clever tissue holder for my grandson's teacher. I'm sure she will appreciate not having to add boxes of tissue to her need-to-buy list.

You'll need a large empty coffee can with a snap-on plastic lid, contact paper or wallpaper, non-slip drawer/cabinet liner, Elmer's glue, and a roll of toilet paper.

Remove the plastic lid and cut a round hole (about and inch and a half in diameter) in the center of it. Make four small cuts at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock to "grab" the tissue as it's torn off. (Think about the cuts in the top of a container of wipes).

Measure the height and circumference of the can. Using these measurements, cut contact paper or wallpaper to cover the can. Contact paper should stick on its own. Use the glue if it doesn't or if you choose to use wallpaper. Apply stickers, stamps, draw designs, personalize it with the teacher's name or decorate the can however you choose.

Set the can on a piece of the non-skid rubber liner and use a pen to draw around the can to show where to cut. Cut out the circle and glue it to the bottom of the can. (Keeps the can from sliding around while a piece of tissue is being pulled out).

Pull the cardboard roll out of the center of the roll of toilet paper. Start pulling the tissue from the inside of the roll of toilet paper and thread it through the hole in the center of the lid. Snap the lid in place on the top of the can.

Now the teacher has a convenient dispenser from which the students can pull off as much or as little as they need. An added benefit for the teacher is that the school supplies toilet paper but not boxes of tissue. To refill all she or he needs to do is to pick up a fresh roll from the janitor.

Go ahead and get busy. Those teachers could use a little lift this time of the year. Next year make one for your child's new teacher and send it in along with supplies on her start-of-school wish list.

By Sandy from Elon, NC

Folgers' Coffee Can Christmas Art

decorated coffee containerFoldger's has lovely holiday templates on their website for you to decorate their red canisters! There are even instructions. I can think of many more ways to use that clip art, myself!

By Pam from Los Angeles, CA

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Tip: Use Plastic Coffee Containers for Paint Cans

This is one from my hubby. He has me keeping all of the 2 pound plastic coffee containers with the handles on them for future use in his shop. He builds houses and remodels them as well. He says these containers are perfect for holding paint while working on a house. He can hang on to it easily with the handle an they are very sturdy.

Tip: Container for Laundry Lint

I use the large coffee containers as a trash can to collect lint from my dryer. It is large enough to collect a lot, and allows the lint to compress without breaking the container. The plastic does not scratch or make noise if the dryer vibrates, it has a sealing lid, and when it is full you can either dump the lint into the trash can, or use another coffee container.

It also doubles as a place to contain items which are pointy or sharp that would normally cut through a trash bag. (razors, tooth picks, used pencils and the like.) I do not normally purchase the large coffee size, so I use the coffee containers from church which are abundant. Also with the sealing lid I can mix coffee I prefer with the cheaper coffee. This keeps me from finding another container to place the coffee in.

By Redbeard from Tampa

Tip: Coffee Container Toilet Paper Holder

Coffee Container Toilet Roll Holder, covered in decorative tissue paper I have lots of the big red Folgers coffee containers and I decided to use them to make a toilet paper storage unit for the bathroom. I took 3 large containers, cut the bottom out of two of them and stacked them on top of each other. I applied some hot glue around the edges to hold them and then cut two small holes on opposite sides and added a zip tie to secure them together.

I then ripped small pieces of tissue paper in the colors of my bathroom and decoupaged them on the cans. I let it dry and then added another layer of decoupage glue to seal it against the moisture in the bathroom. I then glued one lid to the bottom to keep it up off the floor to keep it dry. It has been wonderful to have extra paper close by!

By Lucy Jean from Branson, MO

Tip: Canisters from Coffee Containers

When I empty my plastic coffee containers, I paint them with paint for plastic found at your craft store or any paint store. I use these containers to store rice, beans, or any dry food product. I make labels or sometimes I use laminating plastic. When I use the laminating plastic I cut out a 3-inch square and cover it with the laminate then I can see what is in the canister without guessing. You can paint designs on them also.

By Electa from Dodson, LA

Craft Project: Last Minute Easter Egg Basket for Kids

An empty plastic coffee can with the handle on the back is best for this last minute basket for the Egg Hunt.

Choose bunny, chick, or duck! Grade school kids could do the whole project themselves, but for my preschool story hour kids, I covered the cans and just let them put on the faces. I made about 20 of 'em in an hour!

Approximate Time: 10 minutes or less


  • empty plastic coffee cans**
  • tissue paper in Easter colors
  • wiggle eyes
  • large pink pom poms
  • orange paper for beaks
  • spray adhesive or double stick tape
  • Tacky glue
  • markers


  1. Wash and dry cans to get the coffee smell out.

  2. Fold a sheet of tissue paper in half horizontally.

  3. Spray adhesive on paper and wrap around the can with the excess paper on the top.


    (If your paper is really thin, you may want to cover the can with a piece of white tissue paper first). I left the handle uncovered just because I thought it would be easier for the kids to carry.

  4. For bunny: Cut around the excess paper on the top to form two ears, as shown. Add large wiggle eyes and pom pom with Tacky glue. Let them draw on whiskers with a fine tipped marker.


  • For chick and duck:

    1. Trim excess paper on the top of the can with pinking shears.

    2. Add medium wiggles eyes with tacky glue.

    3. Cut out an elongated diamond and fold in half for chick.

    4. Cut out an elongated oval and fold for duck.

    5. Draw on wings with coordinating marker as shown.

  • Add grass.

  • Hunt eggs!

    **VARIATION: This idea works well on any can, cut-off plastic milk or pop bottle, oatmeal container, or box such as a large cereal or cracker box. You will need to poke holes in the sides and add a yarn or ribbon handle as shown. You can get creative with the variety of tissue papers now available.

    By Cindy from Waynesburg, PA

  • Tip: Holiday Templates for Coffee Canisters

    If you buy coffee in the large plastic canisters, you can go online to the Folger's website, and print off holiday templates to glue over the existing labels. These frugal containers can be used for homemade cookies, candies, or even as a gift box. You can print colored templates, or a black and white one for the kids to color. Not only is this frugal, but it is good for the environment to reuse these containers.

    By Tracey from Hibbing, MN

    Tip: Coffee Container Toys

    We re-use those plastic coffee containers as frugal toys. They are fun for toddlers to stack and store things. My 15 month old loves to put things in them, and take them out, and put the lid on and off. We've also turned one into a sorter by cutting holes in the top in the shape of different blocks.

    By Alexandra from Virginia

    Tip: Use Plastic Coffee Containers for Rechargable Batteries

    I use the red and green coffee plastic containers in the following way:

    When our rechargeable batteries are dead, I have instructed everyone to place them in the red containers. Containers can be marked for the size of battery. Once I have charged them, they go in the green containers. No more guess work involved!

    By Flashman from Pinnacle, NC

    Tip: Store Ice Cream In Plastic Coffee Cans

    The 34 oz. plastic coffee cans that come with the nice plastic lids are great to store the 1.75 qt. round ice cream containers in your freezer and prevent freezer burn or crystallization of the ice cream.

    By Lynn from Chico, CA

    Tip: Folger's FREE "Tupperware"

    The plastic Folger's coffee cans really made me mad when they were first introduced. I have always been a huge fan of the metal cans. However, these plastic cans are just wonderful! Here are a few uses I have tried so far:

    1. as a perfect sized container for homemade baby and cleaning wipes
    2. for storing leftovers in the fridge and freezer
    3. for storing everything from paint to homemade cleaning products 4. as canisters
    4. as mixing bowls
    5. as serving containers
    You get the idea! They are just like Tupperware to me and at $4.96 at Wal-Mart for the can of coffee, it's almost like free Tupperware!

    Before Using: fill empty can with cold water and 1/4 cup vinegar and let sit overnight to remove coffee smell. I learned this one the hard way! My poor baby's wipes smelled just like "Cafe A La Baby"!

    Tip: Store Used Grounds for Compost

    We use the empty coffee containers, without the lid, to store our used grounds from the coffee maker each morning. When yard clippings and leaves begin to build up, the grounds (and paper filters) are mixed in. In a week or two of turning, we have a nice mound of soil.

      By Ground control [1]

      Tip: Recycle Plastic Coffee Containers for Storage

      I have been using my empty plastic coffee containers for organizing my kitchen lately. I have one full of cookie cutters, one contains my decorating supplies, etc. The small ones are also wonderful for the kids' tiny toys, like plastic dinos or army men.

      By Cynthia from Pittsburgh PA

      Tip: Coffee Can Composting

      Coffee Can CompostingSave one of the new kinds of large plastic coffee cans to make a quick counter top compost bin! Label clearly so everyone knows what it is. When it's full, empty it into a corner of your garden until ready to use it!

      By melody_yesterday from Sedalia, MO

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      Here are questions related to Reusing Plastic Coffee Cans.

      Question: Reusing Plastic Coffee Cans

      What are some good ideas for recycling the Folger's and Maxwell House plastic coffee cans/jugs? I use mine to keep compost in before taking out to the compost bin, but are there any other ideas?

      By Kim


      Most Recent Answer

      By Nome04/07/2013

      Our golden retriever loves to play catch only the ball gets so "slobbery". My grand daughter taught him to drop the ball in the can! Then she doesn't have to touch the slobber and can easily throw the ball for him holding the handle. Works great!
      I also use it to hold yarn balls for knitting. I cut a round hole in the top for the yarn to come through. It works perfectly. And, my big dog isn't tempted to chase the yarn!

      Question: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I hate throwing containers away, but what else can I do with all the blue plastic Maxwell House and red Folgers coffee containers, besides hiding craft supplies in them?

      By Gretta from Wayne, OK


      Most Recent Answer

      By CinnamonRoseCottage [9]11/09/2011

      Folgers website has some free Christmas printable's for the plastic cans!

      These would be great for gifting cookies :)
      have a great day,

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      Question: Removing the Coffee Smell from Plastic Canisters

      How do I get the coffee smell out of the Folders coffee canisters? I have tried baking soda and putting it in the sun for a few days, but the coffee smell always comes back. I want to use these for Christmas treats and I don't want them to smell like coffee. Please help. Thank you.

      By Lana W.

      Most Recent Answer

      By nancy nunez [11]12/17/2011

      You can try putting in some unused coffee filters. They may absorb the odor.

      Question: Craft Ideas for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I have several of the red plastic coffee containers from Folger's coffee. Does anyone have a good idea for use of these for crafts, etc.?

      By Sandy from Bedford, PA

      Most Recent Answer

      By Grandma J [46]12/01/2010

      If you have a lot and won't be using them, leave a note in the church bulletin, radio trading post, freebie section of the paper. Many garage clean up time begs for these. Workshops, retired guys trying to keep their wives happier with cleaned up nuts/bolts, etc.

      Question: Crafts Using Folgers Instant Coffee Containers

      I have quite a few empty Folgers Instant containers, in different sizes. I just love the shape.
      I'm looking for suggestions on different ways to decorate and utilize these containers. I will share photos during the process.

      Thanks guys, you're the best.

      By Linda

      Most Recent Answer

      By Marty Dick [147]12/29/2013

      They would make great banks. If you have more than one child you can decorate them and put each person's name on the tops.
      I use them to store sewing stuff.

      Question: Uses for Large Plastic Coffee Cans

      I need some ideas for what to do with large plastic coffee cans. They are very sturdy and it seems to me there have got to be good uses for them.

      By Marion

      Most Recent Answer

      By P.Rosendahl [1]12/27/2011

      Two suggestions. On the search on the site type in "coffee can" and hundreds of uses will show up. As for me I use the coffee cans for several uses. One can I keep on the dryer to use as a trash can for the lint from the dryer. Another item I use them for is any trash which has sharp edges which would otherwise tear a plastic trash.

      Question: Uses for Plastic Coffee Cans

      I am looking for uses for plastic coffee cans.

      By Einy L

      Most Recent Answer

      By mmwonline [3]04/16/2012

      I use to freeze food items such as homemade chicken broth, home made soup etc. Also these are good to keep dry goods such as pasta, rice.


      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

      Archive: Removing Coffee Odor From Plastic Coffee Canisters

      I have a good source of large, used plastic coffee canisters with lids. I wanted to use the canisters to store other dry goods I buy in bulk, such as flour, oatmeal, beans, sugar, etc., but I can't get the coffee odor out of the plastic. I had some oatmeal in one, and it definitely gave the oatmeal a coffee flavor.

      I've tried washing in vinegar, putting baking soda and newspaper in them, then leaving for a few days and then washing again afterwards. Right now I have a little activated charcoal in one to see if that will work. Any other suggestions on how to get the odor out?

      Thanks for all your help!

      Sarah from Indianapolis, IN

      RE: Removing Coffee Odor From Plastic Coffee Canisters

      I have tried, with success, pouring in 1/2 c. vinegar and placing the lid back on the container. Then, I let them sit for a few days, giving an occasional shake when I walk by them. I haven't found much else that works. Good luck! (02/22/2006)

      By 75043

      RE: Removing Coffee Odor From Plastic Coffee Canisters

      Fill coffee canister with a couple tablespoons of bleach and fill with hot water. Let it stand in sink for about 30 minutes. Rinse well with cool water. Let air dry. (02/22/2006)

      By mkymlp

      Archive: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I have found that the plastic coffee containers you get are great for different uses. I have used them to transport transplanted plants as gifts, storing dry foods such as rice,pasta ect... I have one that I use only for my composting pile. I keep the lid on it and as I accumulate food scraps I just put them in the container and then when it is full take it out side. The snap on lids are great for placing under flower pots and I have also used them for children's snack plates. What other uses have people found for these great containers? Jonnie from Owensboro, KY

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I strained all of our old paint into the coffee cans (with a piece of panty hose stretched across the top of the coffee can). Then took stretch wrap, sealed the top with that then duck taped the lid on over the wrap. Eight months later, the paint was just like new! Put a dab of the color on the lid and on the can, so you will know exactly which color it is, I also use masking tape on top of each can with the Brand, date and color, so you can have it matched if you need to. No more rusty paint cans! (06/22/2006)

      By Mary, Crown Point, IN

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      My son's cub scout troop made bird feeders out of them. They cut out square shapes on 2 sides about and 1 to 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. Then poked holes in the sides on the top to hang with a bent coat hanger. (06/23/2006)

      By dpcw

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I sometimes use my plastic coffee containers for "quicky" sewing kits. I keep needed mending supplies in a near by container. I also store art supplies and extra school supplies. I always label them so there is no confusion. I also use one for my "throw away" grease after it is cooled. Then throw away the container with lid on it after it is full. They are also great crayon or marker containers for little hands. (06/23/2006)

      By Glinda

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I made a scissors/string kit with one of my coffee containers. I just cut one small hole in top for the string to come through and another larger hole for the scissors to rest in, small enough that the handles of the scissors still are accessible. It has been so convenient. I am about to dedicate a few of them for storage of cat food so that I won't have the messy cat food bag in my way. (01/07/2007)

      By Nancy

      Archive: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I have lots of the plastic coffee cans (containers). Folgers and Maxwell House seem to have gone to plastic instead of metal cans. What can be done with them?

      Rachel from Buford, GA

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I teach preschool and I use mine as storage cans for scissors, buttons and glue sticks and all the craft things like poms and feathers. This way in my craft cupboard it is all together. I cover the cans with paper either wall paper or craft paper and label them! You can make some crafts too by painting them snowmen and santas at holidays or you can decorate and use as a tin to give a gift etc! (01/03/2008)

      By KimmyLynn

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      It's a little late for Christmas gifts, but maybe this can help out for next year...

      Folgers has printable labels to put on the canisters so you can fill them up with baked goods or other gifts. (01/04/2008)

      By Trix

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      Here's what became of one of mine! (01/04/2008)

      By melody_yesterday

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I like to buy a lot of stuff in the bulk food section of the grocery stores, such as rice, pasta, oats, couscous, cream of wheat, cornmeal, icing sugar, dried lentils, chocolate chips, etc. So instead of all the stuff sitting in a plastic bag I put it in an old coffee container and label it with the name of what is inside. (01/04/2008)

      By Lisa

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      We had a lot of neighbors over for a summer picnic and I put the steak knives point down in one canister and the same with the forks. It's extra silver ware I have so it is easy to put away and get out again for another picnic. (01/04/2008)

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I have found they are great to store chopped or cut onion in the refrigerator. The odor is contained and doesn't seem to permeate the plastic. (01/05/2008)

      By Elizabeth

      RE: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I keep one under the sink in the kitchen and use it to drain grease into after frying hamburger, etc. (01/06/2008)

      By Cindy S.

      Archive: Uses for Plastic Coffee Containers

      I'd like ideas for making crafts out of the plastic coffee cans. I'd like to make useful items to sell at a bazaar. I have so many of these containers.


      Archive: Removing Odors From Plastic Containers

      I buy coffee from the warehouse store in very big plastic containers.