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Recycle Old Coffee Cans

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I have many 3 lb. coffee cans that I hate to throw away. Does anyone have any clever and practical uses for them? Thanks.



Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Raeb22 [1]11/14/2011

Maybe decorate the can and put houseplants in.

By Luann DeLuca [5]11/14/2011

I use my old coffee cans to dump old coffee grounds into. I hate pouring them directly into the trash can liners as I've had too many rip on me and out come the grounds. When can is filled, cover with the can's lid (save that too), and put the whole thing into the trash.

By Kankraft Dave11/16/2008

Try this site [ ] this will give you some ideas of what to do w/those old 3 lb cans. And a 3 lb coffee can is also the exact same size at the large #10 vegy cans. Dave

By linda sue (Guest Post)06/27/2006

I found always found it usefull to use old coffee cans to put cigarette butts in.

By trinkys (Guest Post)10/09/2005

I have many 1 and 3 lb coffee cans with lids if any one wants them. All they have to do is pay the actual shipping costs. please email trinkys2 @ (remove spaces) and list coffee cans in the subject line.

By Robert09/15/2005

I need 10 of them, how can I purchase, rds2301 @ (remove spaces)

By Elizabeth [1]08/23/2005

You can put a small coffee can with 1/2 and 1/2, vanilla and sugar (ice cream mix) in it, lid on tight inside a big coffee can with ice and salt packed in around it to make ice cream. Tape the large lid on, and roll the can around for 20-30 minutes, then check to see if you have ice cream. Kids love this, and moms look really silly playing "kick the can" in the street. Great fun!

By Guy Freeman07/06/2005

There's a company selling durable coffee can lids in multi colors. This makes it possible to toss that old flimsy plastic lid. Then you can paint the can the color of the lid that you buy and craft the can say with a glue gun and trinkets in any theme you want. These make great personal gifts. Makes great projects for kids like boy and girl scout troops, etc.

By shirley rushing (Guest Post)01/19/2005

I take 3 large cans and make toilet tissue holder in bathroom. It will hold 4 rolls of paper. Cut bottom out of two of them and glue all 3 of them on top of each other. Cover with fabric or towel of your color choice. I use super glue to do this. Take one tin lid and cover with washcloth. Take rubber band and gather excess. Have fun.

By melody_yesterday [228]10/06/2004

Cover a smaller size one with a used licence plate bent in 1/2 for a roof of a bird house. Secure it with twine thru the screw holes or other - like wire. Secure to a post near a window so you can enjoy it.

By Kathleen Unger (Guest Post)09/13/2004

I used 3# coffee cans for centerpieces for my mother and daughter banquet. Spray can gray, punch two holes in top level across from each other, take wire coat hanger and bend to form handle. Trace a spout out of heavy cardboard or card stock in shape of pouring spout, glue spout to front of can and fill with silk flowers for a beautiful table center-

By Sarah06/26/2004

I make switch plates and outlet covers from old tins such as coffee tins! The newer coffee tins have too many grooves but older ones make beautiful switch plates! Check it out

By jan skelton (Guest Post)05/20/2004

Looking for good coffee cans in the pound (+ -) size. I use them to bake pumpkin bread and they do eventually rust. Would like to find several.
Thank you

By MAM (Guest Post)04/10/2004

Stilts for little kids - (attach string/rope), organizing tools and hardware,
let the kids build with them or maybe you could build a desk, a table, a fire pit, a pyramid to plant in!


Are you sure it is safe to put food in coffee tin cans for a long period of time? Isn't there something on the inside of coffee cans that is unhealthy?
Kind regards,
Anna Marie

Editor's Note: I think as long as the food is dry and the inside surface of the can is intact, they should be fine for food. If the food is wet, they should only be used for a short amount of time. When when wet food items are canned it is done so with lots of heat. Once the can is opened it works more like a cannister or can be used for cooking over a campfire (I'd only recommend using the can once.)


If you have dogs you can use them as a dog food scooper. Or a plant holder for outside, just decorate. Or,hair tie's if you have daughters or for yourself.


Put vegetables in the bottom... potatoes, cabbage, carrots. On top of that put brats or some other sausage of your choice. Cover with tin foil and put on the grill. The juices from the sausages will drip down and flavor the vegetables.

By lilredwaz12/31/2000

Coffee cans are the perfect containers for mailing cookies to friends and families. Decorate the can with fabric or wrapping paper, add some ribbon around it, then pack the cookies in! Box it up and mail it - it holds the cookies well, so they don't get broken.

By lilredwaz12/31/2000

My personal favorite is to use coffee cans for perennial transplants in the spring. I divide and give away lots of plant divisions and these cans are often the perfect size to use. They also make good planters for outdoors, and 3 can be wired together to make an interesting, larger-sized planter. You can also paint the cans and decorate them with designs if you like.

Another use is to have an empty coffee can by the sink to put all your compostable waste into. Keep the lid on it until it is full. Then empty into your compost bin. Wash it out and keep using it.

At work, we keep an empty coffee can by the coffee pot. The used coffee grounds go into the tin, and a fellow who is an avid gardener takes the can home when it is full. Then another empty coffee can takes its place and gets filled up again.

By mom2dkb12/30/2000

I use all sized coffee cans to bake bread or English Muffin loaves in. You make and let rise as usual and then bake in the oven instead of using loaf pans. Kids think it's great to have round loves of bread. Especially if you are making bologna sandwiches. hahaha Perfect sized. You can also use the large ones and the smaller ones too for baking cakes too.

By Jewels95512/28/2000

I saw a cute idea at a baby shower held in December. The centerpieces were Santa cookie jars. Cover the coffee can with white felt and make a face using simple cutouts of felt. Glue on a white beard made out of trim. Make a Santa hat out of red felt, white trim and a white pom. Fill "Santa" with treats, cover with plastic lid and top with hat.

By chevyracin_312/28/2000

You can also use the cans for bird feeders or nesting areas. Leave the bottom in them for a feeder and punch a couple holes on the sides to string wire thru. Sprinkle some seed in the can after it is hanging. I paint the cans so they won't rust.

By lelbel12/28/2000

Cut out the bottom and use them as a fire starter in your grill. Place the can in the grill bottom, raise one side slightly using a small stick, put in crumpled up newspaper, add charcoal, put a little starter fluid on the charcoal, and light from the bottom. You will have white hot coals in just a few minutes.


We always use ours for storing grease in but you can also punch a coin sized hole in the top for saving your loose change in throughout the year and then you have another X-mas fund at the end of the year.

By zachlarry12/28/2000

My wife use to run a daycare here in the house. We use to decorate the coffee cans with paper and feathers, old buttons or whatever we had kicking around. We made little drums with the children. They loved gluing the different items on the cans. After the glue dries put the plastic cover back on the can and give the little one a plastic or wooden spoon....hours of fun.

By lmlhlinc [10]12/27/2000

If you live where winter weather is bad, you probably know you should carry an energency kit in case you get stranded (munchies, water, etc). What if you can't even get out of the car to go to the bathroom? Add an empty 3-pound coffee can to your kit, with a roll of toilet paper inside. Let's hope you never have to use it, but just in case ...!

By catchdmc12/27/2000

Aside from the obvious storage ideas, 3# coffee cans make great luminarias. Fill empty can with water, insert an empty plastic soda bottle, forcing it into the water with the can lid and seal the can shut. Freeze the can of water, the soda bottle will prevent the can from becoming mishapen as the ice expands. When the water is frozen, take the can out of the freezer, or off the porch if you live up North, and using a sharp nail and a hammer, punch holes in the can, creating a design of choice.

The can can be spray painted before or after freezing. A design can be traced on the outside before freezing. If the water begins to melt, refreeze, so start punching from the top of the can, and work your way down. When finished, drain, and dry the can, and add sand and a candle. If it's very windy, put your candle in a glass jar before setting it in the coffee can/luminaria. These can be decorated for anything from Christmas to the 4th of July. They won't catch fire, or blow away.

By sandpook [1]12/27/2000

I cover them with gift wrap and fill them with home made cookies and top with a bow. I also store cookies in the freezer in them. And at Christmas I punch out designs in them. Next paint them add a candle and line the drive with them. Pretty luminaries. Dont forget the sand in the bottom!

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