Next time you cook up a can of beans or pour a can of coconut milk into a batch of soup, don’t toss that can in the recycle bin! Send it through the dishwasher instead, and try out some of these tin can crafts!
As recycling goes, metal recycling is pretty efficient, but when it comes to cans, most metal recycling is actually downcycling. Instead of turning old cans into new cans, those metal cans come out of the recycling center as an inferior metal product. The problem is that because of impurities in the metal, the final product ends up “diluted.” After enough downcycling, that metal is landfill-bound. It will get used multiple times, which is much better than tossing it right away, but the recycling center is really a pit stop on the way to the landfill.
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Of course, recycling those cans is still better than tossing them into the trash. Any time you divert waste from the landfill, you’re doing something good for the planet. But what’s even better than recycling/downcycling those old cans? Using your crafty skills to upcycle them into something cute and usable!
Upcycling is kind of the opposite of downcycling. Rather than creating an inferior or even an equally useful product, you’re taking landfill-bound waste and turning it into something usable again. I love crafty upcycling, because it usually requires very little energy, so it’s a double win for the environment.
Ready to get crafty? On the next page, check out our list of tin can craft projects!