How can I reuse or recycle old baking trays (sheet pans)?

baking sheetWe’ve had an email from Ashleigh, asking:

What can I do with old flat baking trays? They’re a bit rusty so we can’t use them for food anymore. Can they go in my green bin?

I’m not sure about the green bin because everywhere has different rules and it also depends what they’re made out of but the guys that collect scrap metal around here would probably take them.

As for reuses, the rust might come off with one of those metal scrubber things but it’ll obviously rust right up again if it gets wet a lot again – perhaps clean it up and paint it with some rust-preventing paint. If it’s got a lip all the way around the edge, it could then be used as tray under plants or for kids to use during messy craft session (the lip might help stop things spilling/spreading all over the place).

Any other suggestions? What about suggestions for trays that are completely flat or with just one raised edge?

(Photo (and craving for gingerbread caused) by Jenny Rollo)

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18 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle old baking trays (sheet pans)?”

  1. Marlies says:

    Make a magnetic bulletin board out of it.
    Clean up the rust as much as possible. Decide which way you want to hand the bulletin board (landscape or portrait) and drill 2 wholes in the rim of the tray. Then spray paint with primer. Paint a design you like with craft paint of household paint, coat with a few coats of varnish. Now thread some string or wire through the holes you drilled to create the hanger. Now you have you own custom made, recycled, bulletin board where you can use your own magnets. Check out my website ( for magnets from buttons and ink caps.

  2. Gavin says:

    Sheet metal is one of the most recyclable things around. Structural elements for things, decorative trim, various home improvement projects, weatherproofing, electrical, sledding, standalone artwork, a mirror with polish, a work surface if you’re doing something messy or clunky on a nice table, …

  3. Feli says:

    I am thinking of using mine for catching excess water from my flower pots.

    Clean the rust out and paint anti rust paint and you are done.

  4. Patti S says:

    Use it when working underneath the car doing repairs to hold nuts and bolts and catch dirt.

  5. karina says:

    I just recycled a rusty square 9×9 inch one today: I put liquid laundry detergents and spot removers in it. Containers are plastic, so it doesn’t matter it’s rusty, and it helps a lot to be able to get everything out at a time and back to their place.

  6. Tom says:

    Use a silpat baking mat on it when cooking. These silicon mats can be used over and over, and you wont even need your food to touch the pan. Also works for preserving new pans for a long life.

  7. Leah says:

    we did this in school:

    get a bottle of pva glue and some glitter or little plastic stars things
    fill the tray with the glue and add the stars leave to dry fully until it turns hard and clear and then you can either take it out or if you paint the tray first then it will make a great DIY picture


    use them as creative placemats etc.

  8. jj says:

    Paint them and hang them on the wall as pictures. My local cafe has these for sale, they look awesome, especially muffin tins with a little picture in each cup.

  9. Anonymous says:

    you can use rusty ones for food it dosent make a diffrence

  10. Jane says:

    boot tray? a place to set your wet shoes or boots as you come in the door

    • paul newton says:

      stuff your damp boots with news paper the paper absorbs any moisture and keep your boots slightly off floor leval

  11. HuntingWabbits says:

    If they’re big enough, believe it or not, they make great sleds for sliding down snowy hills. Smaller ones work for bead projects so the beads don’t roll away.

  12. kitschkitty says:

    I just use a Teflon baking sheet or foil on my old baking sheets (or you can use silicon or greaseproof paper!

  13. Olia says:

    Magnetic board.
    Lid for a box or trash can.
    Bird feeder.
    Feel with pabbles and use as door mat for wet shoes. Use to keep muddy shoes.
    Line a box that has holes.
    Place on a driveway or garage floor where car makes oil stains to avoid ruining the surface.
    Use as tray. Repaint, redecorate.
    Use to mix plaster or cement.
    Use as artistic paint mixing device.
    Use as a bell to call everyone to dinner. :)

  14. Alenochka says:

    Paint house number on it.

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