Can You Recycle Popcorn Cans? (And Paint Them?)

Popcorn is a multipurpose snack. It fits into just about anything – you can snack on it while working, before taking a nap, while seeing a movie, to name a few. It’s little wonder we consume north of 17 billion quarts of popcorn yearly.

In addition to all these, we bet you didn’t know popcorn is one of the low-calorie snacks. So, you can eat it all you want and not worry about gaining an extra pound! Well, that can imply that you’ll undoubtedly consume your fair share of popcorn, thereby also burning through a significant number of popcorn tins.

In a bid to increase your awareness about recycling to reduce our unfavorable impacts on the environment, we’ve written this blog post. Read on to know if you can recycle popcorn cans, how to recycle them, and as a fantastic side piece, how to upcycle cookie tins. Here we go!

Can You Recycle Popcorn Tins?

If you love the environment, then you’ll know it’s in danger, and the least we can do is recycle our waste to reduce our contribution to this challenge.

Now, most of the popcorn brands are available in tins. These tins are made from steel or a combination of steel and tin.

Whether or not you decide to recycle your tins, they’ll either serve good or not-so-good purposes either way. If you recycle the containers, recycling companies can use them to produce new items, which means we’ll ultimately be reducing our consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources. Of course, this is great for the environment.

On the other hand, provided you didn’t recycle those tins because you forgot or didn’t know about these effects, they’ll end up in a garbage truck and then straight to the landfills. Because they’re steel, which is mostly a natural material when it’s unadulterated, they’ll have little to no negative impacts on the environment.

Now, can you recycle popcorn tins? You certainly can, and should, as it has indirect but incredible effects on the environment. Most importantly, steel is recyclable, and manufacturers can melt it to produce the exact grade before it was brought to the recycling center.

This means it won’t reduce in value. As such, we’ll have no reason to put our resources in steel production, thereby lessening the impact these processes have on our environment.

You can run the process this way – place a call to your local recycling center to discover the schedule and what materials they accept there. Then, remind yourself when it’s time to dispose of those popcorn tins that belong in the recycle bin.

Are Metal Tins Recyclable?

Packaging has significantly evolved over the years. Now, it’s arrived at a stage where you can comfortably move liquid foods without spilling any on yourself because it’s sealed on all sides.

You can move your food in tins, use them as a preservative medium, aesthetic appeal, among many others. This makes the on-the-go era much easier.

Of course, this means we’ll be consuming a significant amount yearly, even as high as 3.2 billion tonnes. Being environmentally conscious means you care about your environment. So, you’ll undoubtedly wonder the kind of effect a material that we consume this much would have on it.

Well, metal tins won’t do much to the environment, as scientists have discovered that they’re one of the most immobile materials. However, consider the many benefits we’ll be missing out on when we don’t recycle our tin metals.

First, we’ll have to source for tin in its rawest fun. Of course, you know that this process requires consuming resources. Again, we can also significantly cut back on the resources we’ll expend while producing metal tins.

While extracting tin, we have to go as far as roasting it in an oven that runs at a temperature of 2500°F, which is just one of the many processes. Instead, we can divert them into recycling these materials – they’ll surely consume a lot fewer resources in this capacity.

We’ll also have fewer waste materials in our landfills, which means we’ll have more land for other beneficial purposes.

Finally, since metal tins are recyclable, they’ll retain their value even after they’ve served us for a long time. Afterward, manufacturers can easily mold them into items that make our lives more comfortable.

How to Recycle Popcorn Tins?

There are many ways to recycle popcorn tins. First, you can take it to your recycling center. As we’ve mentioned before, popcorn tins are made from steel, one of the most recyclable materials globally. As such, you’ll have no difficulty finding a recycling center that accepts it; however, it’s best also to inquire first.

If you can recycle popcorn tins at your recycling center, you need to prepare them by ensuring they contain no plastic linings. You’ll also have to remove every evidence of food – oil, popcorn bits, or sugar. Clean it thoroughly and take it to your recycling center.

On the other hand, there may not be a recycling center nearby, but we hope there’s one for metal recycling. In that case, you can gather your empty popcorn tins and take them there all at once.

Again, those at the metal recycling center may not have time to clean out each can before working on them. So, it’s best to clean them properly before taking them to where they’ll be recycled.

Alternatively, you can also make exciting and functional crafty items out of these tins. For instance, we bet you didn’t know. However, you can start with down-to-earth options like storing small household items that are sometimes difficult to find or storing flour and other things that need airtight containers for storage.

Then, as you gradually begin to accumulate more popcorn tins, you can branch into more creative hacks like upcycled sewing kits, rope baskets, planters, and other options worth trying out.

Finally, you can spruce up your popcorn tins and gift them out. They make great trash cans for your bedside and aesthetically appealing organizational items. They can be used for a host of purposes, your friends and family will discover when you gift these modified tins to them.

Can You Paint Popcorn Tins?

Provided you’ve been accumulating your fair share of popcorn tins. It’s most likely because you have some fantastic hacks in mind – how can you transform these steel containers into functional and aesthetic items?

A certified way around sprucing up any material is to paint it, which may leave you wondering whether you can indeed paint popcorn tins. Well, from all our successful attempts, we can confirm that you can paint popcorn tins. However, you must do it the right way to get the best results.

First, it’s best to sand the tin to make it easier to absorb the paint. Then, wipe away the dust and either paint the container with some paint and a foam paintbrush or spray paint it.

The best type of paint is acrylic paint, but you can also use glossy paint for the popcorn tins. However, you have to ensure the brush you opt for is light and leaves only soft strokes on the containers. That’s why we typically opt for spray paint – it produces a light but effective result.

When packaging some food items, manufacturers use an airtight container to prevent them from going back before they’re consumed. Tin cans have become the more common materials for packaging cookies because they have lesser chances of getting crushed and leaving you with crushed biscuits.

However, did you know that beyond being excellent packaging materials, popcorn tins can also serve many purposes in the crafty and DIY section? We’ve got a few of them lined up for you, with instructions on how you bring them to life.

1. Hanging Candleholders

An empty popcorn tin is an excellent holder for your candles. For one, the melted wax is pretty easy to scrape off, and you can also create a more appealing candle stand than the ones they sell in malls. First, spruce up your cookie tin as best as you can – get creative, paint it an array of colors, add glitters, etc.

Then, perforate two holes to slide in two ropes on either side. Afterward, find a nail on your wall to hang this homemade candle holder. You can create a wall specifically for your candles, and all you’ll have to do is recreate the process we just concluded many times.

Finally, you can have a wall with a radiant and mesmerizing ambiance while also providing a heat and light source. Of course, you’ll also have to worry about one thing less that you need to recycle.

2. Hanging Circle Mirrors

Alternatively, you can also create a hanging circle mirror for your bedroom, bathroom, or hallway. Making this craft is similar to making your hanging candle holders, but you’ll include a mirror in this case.

You can get a small-sized mirror that’ll fit tightly into the base of the cookie tin. Then, a strong adhesive for attaching the mirror to the empty container will be needed too.

At this point, we’re assuming you’ve already made your holes for hanging the circle mirror. Of course, giving the tin a makeover must have been your first course of action.

After completing this craft, you’ll have a beautiful and unique mirror hanging from any wall of your choice.

3. Organizers

Perhaps one of the most common uses for empty cookie tins is as an organizer. Since it has a kid, most people put buttons, pins, jewelry, and other items that we have difficulty finding at the moment we need them.

At the same time, these empty cookie tins make excellent desk organizers too. They can comfortably hold your pens, pencils, business cards, and other office stationery.

Again, this is a crafty idea for you so that you can give your organizers a twist! Paint them, wrap them in stickers and glitters, or whatever decorative tips strike your fancy.

4. Homemade Candles

Candle making is one of the easier DIYs. You can create aromatic candles with some wax, wicks, and your favorite essence. If you have a few empty cookie tins, jackpot too, as you can make your candles in these cans.

However, you’ll have to be conscious of carrying them when they’ve been lit for a significant period because tin is an excellent conductor of heat.

5. Planters

Now, this is a hack we’re confident green thumbs would love. Cookie tins have the perfect width and depth for planting your favorite bud and flowers. These containers are portable enough for us to move them around. So, you can choose to either grow them in your home or garden or even both.


Many of the materials we use today have been designed to make living easier. In this case, it’s providing you with a way to have popcorn on the go. However, many aren’t aware that you can recycle your popcorn tins.

Now that you know, we hope you begin to see recycling as the go-to home waste disposal method, especially for your empty popcorn tins.

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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.