Are Pringles Cans Recyclable? (And Pringles Lids?)

It is not always that you can get to have a homemade meal. Sometimes, you have to pop inside a fast-food joint, get your hunger in check and then leave. At times, you can pop inside the nearest store and get your Pringles to go.

The Pringles come in different flavors in attractive flavor cans, that we tend to dispose of once we are through. However, have you ever considered the environmental impacts of these Pringles cans? This article will highlight this environmental topic, including the recyclability of these cans as well as the proper disposal measures for the same

Can You Recycle Pringles Containers?

At the moment, Pringles containers are not completely recyclable, although there is a work in play towards fixing this.

According to their website, the iconic Pringles can, was invented by Fredric John Baur and was launched in the United States in 1967. Pringles’ cans are made from different materials. 50% of each Pringles can is made from recycled material, but unfortunately, the remaining part of the cardboard and metal cans are made from non-recyclable materials, making the entire cans non-recyclable.

It, therefore, applies that your favorite snack, also meant for billions of people in the world, is a large contributor to landfill waste. Since Pringles cans are not recyclable, the best way to handle the packaging of one of the most popular snacks is to reuse or upcycle them. Therefore, before landfilling these cans, consider reusing them

In appreciation of the changes in time and the global environmental pandemic we are facing today, the company introduced a makeover to their can beginning in the United Kingdom in 2020. They recently rolled over a trial in select Tesco stores for a new tube made out of recycled paper that is completely recyclable.

They further add that the current Pringles can is made up of a combination of foil, paper board, metal and plastic meaning it can be difficult to recycle through the existing household recycling system set-up. Kellogg’s, the current owners of the Pringles brand have made a commitment to developing new solutions, including recyclable cans or tubes, by 2025. These products ought to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

In any case, Pringles have a program, rolled out in over 200 locations all over the UK in particular. The program is in partnership with Terracycle, a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle materials. The program would be seeing people dropping off their Pringles cans at public drop-off points.

For you as a consumer, you only needed to drop off the cans at your nearest point, and the company would take the cans for recycling. According to Terracycle, the cans are crushed and separated by their different components, as the components are recycled separately. The plastic lids are pelletized and the steel base is smelted.

The cardboard, plastic and aluminum layer parts are separated through pulping so that the cardboard fibres can then be used for a new pulp. The remaining plastic and aluminum are pelletized. All materials can then be used in new products or applications. Currently, the program is closed, but when it was active, the company managed to raise £14,223.68.

Are Pringles Lids Recyclable?

One word, no! Pringles lids are made from plastic, meaning once their work is over, they go to the garbage bin. Plastics are derived from organic materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and, of course, crude oil. This makes the final product unrecyclable.

It also means the process of making the lids is harmful to the environment as it uses non-renewable resources, and extensive heat and energy. It also makes the entire process unsustainable, and a contributing factor to global warming and climate change.

Furthermore, when the lids are disposed of in landfills, they do more harm to the environment than the good they did as lids for your favorite snack. If incinerated, they release toxic chemicals that affect the environment and if left alone like in landfills, they pollute an area.

They also, and also take hundreds of years before they breakdown and decompose. Additionally, the toxic chemicals that make these lids and other plastics, continue to be released into the environment, poisoning the land, soils, plants and bodies of water.

Some companies say that they can recycle plastics, although this would mean you contact them before taking the Pringles lids to them. They might also have a minimum quantity order, meaning you will not be able to meet the minimum order quantity on your own.

You will therefore be required to work with organizations or companies that collect these lids for recycling. If none are present in your area, you will be left alone with the unrecyclable, uncompostable and unsustainable product. Fortunately, you can reuse them and maybe make something new out of them like art with your children or decorations at home

What Is Pringles Packaging Made Of?

The old Pringles containers are made up of composite material, and foil-lined cardboard. They also have a plastic lid, a foil seal, and a metal base. The composite materials are made up of two or more materials with distinctive properties.

Examples of everyday composite materials include reinforced concrete, fibreglass, plywood, and long-life milk cartons. The resulting end product is unique and possesses different properties from the original materials. For instance, they can be stronger or lighter, making them more useful for specific applications.

Unfortunately, all these different materials together, make it difficult to recycle the Pringles packaging. The majority of the products made using composite materials cannot be processed at recycling plants. The technologies used at these plants are unable to break the items down into their separate elements.

Kellogg, the parent company of the Pringles brand, is committed to ensuring all their packaging materials are reusable, recyclable and compostable, before the end of 2025. As a result, they introduced and are still testing their new packaging which is completely recyclable, thereby fulfilling their commitment.

However, nothing else has been said about the make-up of these new cans, but given the fact that the old packaging was 50% of each can was made from recycled material, it is sure to say the new packaging is made of recycled material, like recycled paper. Also, working through the process of elimination, it is fair to say that the new packaging is not made from non-recyclable materials such as plastic

Can You Put Pringle Cans in The Trash?

Not directly, but eventually, yes.

As previously mentioned, Pringles containers are made of multiple or mixed materials, that is paper lube, foil lining, plastic lid and a metal bottom. All these materials, made into one, make it hard to recycle the product. A recycling trade group in the UK, in 2017, deemed the can the ‘number one recycling villain’. It means the only way out is the trash, and then landfills.

However, before sending the Pringle can to the trash before its final resting place, it is advisable to dismantle the tube first, and then put each bit in its relevant bin. Therefore, send the plastic top to the plastics bin, the metallic base to the metallics bin, and the paper bit to the paper bin. Some of these items are recyclable on their own, but you have to take out the packaging first and arrive at the individual materials, where possible.

For the upcoming cans, it is still unclear as to the materials that will make these cans. However, one clear thing is that they will be 100% recyclable. This, therefore, means no plastic lid, which could bring about the original problems once again. If they are completely recyclable, it will therefore make no sense in dumping the cans in the trash.

The best thing to do with them will be to recycle them, either at home or through a recycling company near you. Other ways out could also include reusing and of course composting them and later using them as manure for your garden.

Are Pringles Cans Waterproof?

Yes, conventional Pringles cans are waterproof. They can hold liquids surprisingly well and what’s more is that if you put the plastic top back on, you can turn the tin upside-down and even giving it some light shaking without much spillage at all. As already mentioned, they are made from a combination of materials.

They have a plastic lid, a cardboard body and a metal bottom, making them excellent at holding liquids. It also means they are waterproof and cannot allow any liquid in if they are well capped.

Some people, in fact, use them to smuggle beer or alcoholic drinks into sports games since most stadia do not allow alcoholic drinks. Luckily, the drinks will have an off-putting aroma and taste, enough for someone to ditch the drink they smuggled in.

These materials making the Pringles cans are naturally waterproof. Plastic, for instance, are some of the most common containers for liquids, replacing heavy and expensive ceramic containers.

They, along with metal cans, are some of the most famous containers used to sell beverages such as sodas and water. They have properties that not only prevent liquids from escaping them but also prevent others from leeching in. that is why you will find such containers being refrigerated and they will not allow any liquid in even during defrosting.

How Do You Dispose of Empty Pringles Cans?

The process of disposing of empty Pringles cans is not environmentally-friendly. As already mentioned above, the only way out with an empty can is to the trash, but before sending the Pringles can to the trash before its final resting place, dismantle the tube first, and then put each bit in its relevant bin.

Disposing of these cans is therefore not a better way out, as compared to reusing them. With regards to reusing Pringles cans, you can use them as:

1. Pet toys

Clean used Pringles cans can be made into toys and food storage for your pets. Make tunnels for your guinea pigs to play in and stuff them with hay. They will love it and your kids will thank you for doing this for their pets.

2. Drum kits

You can make a mini drum kit for the upcoming holiday celebrations, or even do this for your kids who love music. You only need a few strips of duct tape to bring it all together.

3. Christmas decorations

You can take your holiday creativity up a notch by making Christmas decorations out of Pringles cans.

4. Space rockets

The staff at the Science Museum in London use empty Pringles tubes as part of their rocket shows. The packaging, teamed with hydrogen gas, matches and oxygen creates a reaction to launch the rockets, which can make “quite a loud bang”.

Once the new and recyclable Pringles cans are fully in the market, you will not have to worry about reusing the empty cans or dismantling them before trashing them. You will only need to compost them, recycle them or readily present them for recycling through your recycling bin.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.