Reusing Plastic Coffee Cans

Category Reusing
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 page about reusing plastic coffee cans.


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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

Comment Was this helpful? 11

I buy the large coffee jugs, the 33 oz. size. They are made so well, they have a handle on the side, with a good tight seal lid. I just can't see throwing them away. I give them to neighbors that I know, one being an older gentleman that uses them for his screws, nails and other little tools.

I have been cleaning out and organizing things and got out the jugs I was saving. So here are a few ideas I am using myself.


Source: My own organizing idea!

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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.

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Save 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.

Coffee can composting

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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

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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.

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I keep a Folger's coffee container on the clothes dryer to put lint in. When it gets full, I empty the lint into the trash.

Coffee Container for Collecting Dryer Lint

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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!

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March 12, 2012

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.

Coffee Container Toilet Roll Holder, covered in decorative tissue paper

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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.

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August 5, 2009

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

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December 28, 2006

Coffee Containers As 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.

Comment Was this helpful? 3

September 15, 2016

I buy these all the time. Well, with the coffee in them, of course! I wash them out and fill them individually with sugar, flour, etc. I then label them on the handles and put them in my cabinets.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 15, 2011

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

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February 11, 2018

I purchase Maxwell House coffee with the handle molded in. What could I do with these?


February 12, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

Uses for Maxwell House Containers

  • 1. Grass seed.
  • 2. Play sand.
  • 3. Flour
  • 4. Sugar
  • 5. Pet food
  • 6. Buttons
  • 7. Yarn
Reply Was this helpful? Yes
February 13, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

Little plants, hanging bird feeders

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February 13, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

In my garage, used for tools, sockets, electrical parts. The different colors of the container identifies sizes of the tools. In the kitchen, used for dried herbs. Label the lid as to what's in the container.

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December 19, 2009

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


December 25, 20090 found this helpful

For Christmas one year, my mom and I took 2 large coffee tins (they were tin at the time), painted them, decorated them, and filled them with hair accessories (barettes, pony tail elastics, etc) for my 2 nieces for Christmas presents. They loved them! Perhaps you could decorate them and use them to "wrap" gifts in? Because they contained coffee, the plastic would have to be food-grade so you could even use them for holding cookies, either for yourself or to give away. My husband and I use mason jars to hold our spare change so that might be an idea too.

Hope this helps!

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January 1, 20101 found this helpful

First off, when you say "throw out" we all hope you mean recycle? You can keep old paint in them, fill the smaller ones with the handles with cat litter and take them walking with you for exercise, or keep them in your garage for an oil spill.

Keep tools, paint brushes, hardware and more in them in the garage or shop.

When you come home with 5 or 10 lbs of flour, oatmeal, sugar, or beans/rice/pasta, keep them rodent free in your pantry, writing on the lids what is inside.

Wrap them in fabric or paint them and fill with rocks or cat litter for weight, and use them for shelf supports. Decorate and use for banks.

One of the red ones can be used for left over corn and put in the freezer. The next time you have beans, drop them in and put them back in the freezer. When you have enough leftover veggies to fill the top, you have enough for a wonderful soup.

If you have to move, keep your small breakables inside filled with news paper or unbuttered popcorn. I hope this helped but if you really thing about it, it only scratches the surface. PBP

Reply Was this helpful? 1
January 1, 20102 found this helpful

The only problem I see with using them for flour and sugar is that even after I washed one of the blue containers, it still smells like coffee.

Reply Was this helpful? 2
January 5, 20100 found this helpful

During this cold, icy, snowy time why not fill with ice melt/salt and use it to pour when you need to go out to your car or to get mail. That way you will not slip and fall on the ice. Also, keep one filled in the car so if you park somewhere icy you can sprinkle some for yourself.

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December 16, 2011

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

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November 14, 2013

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

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I am so glad I finally found Thrifty Fun again. I need your suggestions for things I can do with Folger's Instant Coffee jars. I have a lot of small ones, they are so cute. I hate to just keep collecting them in a plastic bag. Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

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April 1, 2015

I read online how to remove the lettering from the containers, but nothing worked. Any suggestions?


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November 28, 2010

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


November 29, 20100 found this helpful

Mine have: scraps of lace, buttons, yarn with a hole in the lid for me to crochet out of. In the kitchen I have my cookie cutters, rice, corn meal etc. In the winter months with snow I keep salt in one near the door for my steps.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 29, 20100 found this helpful

I use mine to dispose of old cooking oil and food grease. I store it in the freezer so when I go to throw it away it doesn't make a huge mess in the garbage.
This year I plan to use a few of them to store Christmas ornaments in, as my old shoe boxes are in disrepair.
I also have a friend that uses them for storage and preparation her own homemade scent saches. She mixes the pine cones, wood shavings, and dried flowers with the scented oils in the containers so her good plastic is not ruined.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 29, 20100 found this helpful

If you go to the Folger's website: they have holiday labels that you can print out and apply to the canister to make nicely decorated containers to use for cookies or other gifts.

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December 26, 2011

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

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April 14, 2012

I am looking for uses for plastic coffee cans.

By Einy L

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