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17 Crafty Ways to Reuse Tin Cans

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17 Crafty Ways to Reuse Tin Cans

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.

Related Reading: 25 Crafty Ways to Reuse Junk Mail

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!

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
3:03AM PDT on Jul 9, 2014

loved all the ideas

3:33AM PDT on Apr 8, 2013


11:56AM PDT on Apr 7, 2013


10:35AM PDT on Mar 25, 2013


6:55PM PST on Feb 7, 2013

awesome ideas! thanks

5:30PM PST on Dec 23, 2012

I love these ideas! I'm always looking for ways to reuse my junk.

12:43AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

Thanks for the ideas.

8:44AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Very cool, thanks for the ideas!

11:06AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

I'll have to try some of these.

8:31PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

very nice ideas! thanks!

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Thank you.

Yes, I do: vegan and mostly raw :)

Thank you for this very informative article.


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