Posts tagged "tin"

How can I reuse or recycle large (catering size) food cans?

Sam has emailed asking about large food cans:

I have a number of large metal food cans, some zinc lined, which are called #10 size. They hold about 5 or 6 lbs (just under 3kg) of beans, or other foods. Now that they’re empty, they are open on one end, with no plastic lid to fit them. Any ideas?

Surely I’m not the only one faced with this. I can recycle them, but would like to reuse them.

They sound like pretty big tin cans – probably similar to what we call “catering size” in the UK. I think at least some of the ideas we have for regular size tin cans could be supersized here: plant pots, candle/tea holders for several candles, or using them as a vessel for making those candles in the first place.

But are there any reuses (or upcycling ideas) that are perfect for these bigger cans? Could the can be flattened out to make anything?

How can I reuse or recycle chocolate/sweet tins?

After seeing Judith Williamson’s wonderful jewellery made from old sweet tins the other week, I’ve been thinking about what else could be done with them. T’is approaching the season for big tins of chocolates and biscuits after all.

Since they’re well sealing metal tins, they’re great for using for stuff that needs to be kept dry – a sewing kit, next year’s seeds stash, spices, flour, first aid kits/emergency kits, spare nuts & bolts in the garage… What do you store in them?

But do you use them for anything more exciting? Like Judith, have you use them to make anything fun?

How can I reuse or recycle tuna cans?

While we’ve covered food cans in general before, Danielle emailed asking tuna cans in particular:

i have so many, what can i do with them?

There’s a wide variety of uses for tuna cans:

I know some people use them to make “buddy burner” candles and you can use them as candle holders too – but make sure you put a bit of sand in the bottom first to absorb the heat from the candle rather than it heating the metal.

Some people clean them up and use them as “cookie cutters” for making large biscuits/cookies, and because everything in this house gets commandeered for the purpose sooner or later, I’ve used them as drip saucers under plant pots (pull the label off and leave them silver for an industrial look, paint them to make them look prettier – shiny white or cream gloss gives a pseudo-vintage enamel look).

Since they’re essentially just a small pot with a low centre of gravity, they’re useful for holding small quantities of paint/glue. Or as students have been known to do – use them as makeshift ashtrays.

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by TanjaS)

How can I reuse or recycle foil mince pie/jam tart tins?

A couple of weeks ago on the “Suggest an Item” page, Fishcake_Random asked:

How can I recycle the little foil tins that mince pies and jam tarts come in??? I have a large stack this year and I just know they must have some amazing crafty type useage.

(Apologises that I’ve only picked it up a little late – after mince pie season has finished for another year…)

Foil tins can often be recycled alongside cans in metal recycling bins/kerbside – and sometimes (although less so now recycling is widely available) to raise money for charity.

Like foil cat food trays, they can be used as a mould for making soaps or for little tealight-shaped candles.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle big cooking oil cans?

oil_cansAround our area, it’s unusual to see a take-out place without empty big cooking oil cans outside.

Hopefully they’re recycled as part of a commercial doorstep recycling programme but most of time it seems like they’re going to landfill – here they were next to a skip filled with other random rubbish. Very frustrating.

If we took some of them, what could we do with them? I know after intensive cleaning, crude oil barrels can be made into woodburners/rocket stoves and barbecues – could these essentially big tin cans be used for a similar thing on a smaller scale or is the metal not heavy duty enough?

With the top taken off (and the edge made safe), I imagine they could be turned into planters for the garden – albeit ones that might rust over time.

Any other suggestions?