How can I reuse or recycle crisp/chip tubes (eg, Pringles tubes)?

We’ve had an email from Julia, who work for the British High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.

She explained “I hate throwing away those clear plastic tops from crisp tubes… so started thinking” – and she came up with some reuses for her regional recycling newsletter:

- Use to cover a glass to prevent insects flying in
- Cover a glass for storage in a fridge
- Find the right sized cup and use as an air-tight top
- Punch holes in it, fit over cup and use as a shaker
- Use as a coaster
- Decorate with coloured markers and hang as sun catches

Great reuse ideas – anyone got any more suggestions? I’ve used them under plant pots before now but the lip is so shallow that they’re more like coasters rather than water-catching saucers.

What can you do with the tubes themselves? Any recycling ideas?

(Btw, I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for four years and not featured Pringles tubes yet!)

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Make your own snacks instead – how about oven baked sweet potatoes (“yams” in the US)? Or parmesan crackers?
  • Reuse: Cut a slit in the lid to use them as a money box. Use them for storing craft supplies like knitting needles or paintbrushes. Use them as postal packaging – for handmade biscuits or as a small poster tube.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by jetalone)

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18 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle crisp/chip tubes (eg, Pringles tubes)?”

  1. Agata says:

    I stored Tazo disc in them :)

  2. Cipollina says:

    I’ve clad some with nice fabrics and decorated them with pretty ribbons and strings. The small ones are perfect for pens and other small items on my desk, while the big ones are great for knitting pins and to keep candles in.

    A can w/lid could be made into a nice “piggy bank” – decorate and cut a slit in the lid.

  3. kitschkitty says:

    I know some people give the tubes to their pet hamsters etc, though I personally wouldn’t recommend it for pringles tubes as they have metallic paper etc in them, and small rodents are well known for gnawing such things, which wouldn’t be so good for their health. You could use them to store spaghetti! Kids love them for arts and crafts – they make good arms for robots! Can’t think of any ideas for the plastic lids that haven’t already been mentioned though.

  4. Jedsmama says:

    My parents travel often, so mom covered her clean tubes with brightly colored paper and uses them to pack small items in her suitcase. One holds a comb and hairbrush, another for toothpaste tube and toothbrush, floss and other oral hygiene products, etc. My husband uses them in the garage for storing misc. nuts, bolts etc.

  5. ariestess says:

    A friend of mine introduced me to the idea of decorating the tubes and using them in gift exchanges or as gift wrapping. I’ve actually done it, which was great fun.

  6. Sara says:

    What about making a picture collage and gluing a magnet on the back- and putting it on the fridge?

  7. Jenny says:

    I clean mine out and use them as storage for scraps of material for stuffing homemade cushions and toys.
    I also use them to collect the colourful clean peices of sweet wrappers (like quality street) and give them to my young cousin to make pictures with :)

  8. Dyneshia says:

    Lots of people have been using it to ship cookies to the Soldiers who are deployed. Just make sure the cookies are baked to the correct size. Supposed to help prevent the cookies from breaking as much plus keep them fresher.

  9. Vicki says:

    I’ve been organizing my craft items and have been looking for a storage solution for pipecleaners. I haven’t had pringles for awhile but I’m pretty sure they’re just the right size. Since I am a church nursery worker, occasional babysitter, and work for a school, the tubes would be perfect for the frequent transporting.

  10. Alice says:

    Any that are the right size for covering tins of food in the fridge are really useful – my cat gets one third of a can of cat food at each meal so I nearly always have a can needing a cover.

    Plus I figure the more I have the less often I need to do any washing up…

  11. Dorothy says:

    here’s an idea: covering or painting old cans to make a magazine organizer! enjoy :D

  12. Lucy says:

    I don’t have any of these but if they have cool designs like the picture i’d use them for my paint brushes for storage, maybe even make up brushes. If I had a smaller one i’d put in erasers and pencil led inside them :D This is a good idea, i should find cool tubes somewhere when i move :P

  13. Judi says:

    The plastic lids make a great “emergency” drain plug for the kitchen sink. Turn rim side up and place over the drain–fill sink. The water pressure holds the lid down.

  14. Gon says:

    I use them as a mould for making candles, so I can recycle my left-over candlestumps as well. Here’s the recipe: Put your candle left-overs in a (old) pan and melt it ‘au-bain marie’ (so it can’t get too hot, it’s flammable!) Meanwhile, cut a piece of candlewick (for sale in craftstores) a bit longer than the Pringle-tube. Tie it to the middle of a cocktail-stick or pencil and let it rest on the rim of the Pringle-tube, so the wick hangs in the can. Pour the melted candles in the tube. After it’s cold and solid, you can tear away the tube (you can only use it once). You can make some very pretty and very cheap candles this way.

  15. sls says:

    wrap it with pretty paper then fill with fresh baked cookies/mini muffins and give as a gift!

  16. jessica says:

    I’ve used them to keep spagetti in. before it would just spill everywhere every time i opened the cupboard

  17. Kirsten says:

    If you make your own soap, they are perfect for round soaps. Cut out the bottom, but keep the lid, turn it upside-down, fill it up – and take away the lid to get the soap out. Then you just need to cut it into bars.

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