How to Re-Purpose Plastic Coffee Cans

It's hard to pass up on something you can really use that's free, but you probably have been doing just that. If you have been throwing out those plastic coffee cans, you've been shortchanging yourself. These freebie plastic bins are great for all kinds of things . Just fill the empty container with cold water and add 1/4 cup of vinegar. Let it sit overnight, and wash in the morning. The coffee smell will be gone.

Use these coffee cans all around the yard. Poke holes in the bottom, and spread grass seed over bare spots. Transport plants to give away in them. Cut two squares on opposite sides at the bottom to make a bird feeder. Poke two holes and hang these from a coat hanger onto your trees.

Save time and trouble in your garden. Cut the top and take the lid off. Use them to protect small plants from critters. When it gets cold, snap the lids back on. Use one as a rain gauge in the garden to avoid over-watering. Stick one in the ground with the opening on top, and lay heavy squash or other vegetables over them to stop ground rot.

Make extra canisters for free by spray painting them or covering them with contact paper. Cut a square in the side and put wide, heavy, clear tape over the inside and outside to have canisters you can see into. Store beans, rice, cookies, doggie treats, cat food or bird seed in them. Use them to store old cooking grease (cool it down a bit first). They make handy scoops for dog food, fertilizers, and anything else that comes in huge, heavy bags.

Decorate with them. For Halloween, spray the inside black and the outside orange. Cut a Jack-o-Lantern face out, and put a light inside. Instead of cutting the face out, draw a face on the can. Add a handle by poking a hole and passing a cord through it, and knotting it on both sides of the can. This makes a trick-or-treat pail for the kids. At Christmas, paint them in Christmas colors and put them along the driveway with lights inside.

Store string inside and pull on it through a hole in the lid. You can do this with garbage bags as well. Make homemade cleaning cloths and polishing cloths that you can store. Make polishing cloths by wetting rags and squeezing all the water out of them. Then pour enough furniture polish over them to get each one a little wetter. Cleaning cloths work well with pine cleaner and damp rags. If you want to cut a roll of thick paper towels in half instead of using rags, you can feed the cloths through an X in the lid.

Make baby wipes to use in coffee cans. Start with 2 cups boiled water, 2 tbsp. baby oil and 2 tbsp. baby shampoo. Cut a thirsty roll of paper towels in half, and put them in the canister. Pour the mix over the towels, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Flip it and let it sit for 10 more. Cut an X in the lid, and feed the first towel through the X.

Use your imagination. There are uses for these handy little tubs everywhere. How about a piggy bank, a dog scoop or a tortilla holder? With a little paint, contact paper and time, you can even decorate them to look great, too. Do whatever comes to mind but just don't throw them away anymore.For more ideas about recyclng go to the Make Stuff website. The URL is listed below.


  • Use these whenever you need something that will be watertight. They are great for going camping and fishing. When closed, they even float.


  • Don't put candles in these unless they are enclosed in a glass jar. Don't let kids cut holes into these without supervision. The plastic is hard, and it's easy for a knife or scissors to slip.