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Trader Joe's Coffee Cans - New uses? [Moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

OneJayneDoe May 1, 2009 06:32 AM

I hate to throw things away -not because I'm a pack rat, but because I want to reuse and recycle as much as possible.

I buy Trader Joes coffee and hate to throw the coffee can away. Anyone have a new use for them? Something original and inventive? Thanks much!

  1. 4
    4Snisl May 1, 2009 06:40 AM

    You can use it as a homemade charcoal chimney (never tried it, but appears others have!)

    1 Reply
    1. re: 4Snisl
      Fritter May 6, 2009 05:37 AM

      Trader Joes coffee cans are not made of tin on the sides but rather an aluminum foil like material. However that is a pretty smart idea for a more traditional coffee can.

    2. d
      d2london May 1, 2009 07:49 AM

      You can cover the outside of the can with the contact paper of your choice and use as a holder for utensils, artist paint brushes, makeup brushes, markers/pens. Or, use it as an herb planter by placing the plastic lid underneath to protect surfaces. Or use as your child's crayola crayon caddy. Give to your husband or boyfriend to organize nuts, bolts, nails, screws, etc.

      1. bitsubeats May 1, 2009 10:06 AM

        I like using the coffee cans as a vessel for fat. If you want to be extra indulgent, save all your bacon fat in the coffee can and then use it later in other applications. Just make sure to cover it.
        I have a friend that leaves his unopened and the cat gets in it :( ew

        1. paulj May 1, 2009 01:18 PM

          Maybe WW2 uses of Klim (powdered milk) cans will give you ideas


          Though, come to think of it, I have 2 different kinds of cans for TJ. One is the paperboard kind that most of their whole beans come in, the other is the metal can that their preground Italian espresso comes in. I toss most of the paper ones, but have kept quite a few of the metal ones.

          1. q
            Querencia May 1, 2009 02:05 PM

            When I was very small my great-great-aunt Zerelda (born 1867) used to make footstools of coffee cans. You stand a lot of them together to make the size you want and arrange them into a design (hers always had a sort of scalloped flower shape) and fasten them together securely using string or tape or something. Then cut fabric for the top, bottom, and sides, and sew all that together to make a cover. She did hers in patchwork of old bits of velvet, wool etc. and put them together with feather stitch. I guess you could fill the cans with sand to give them weight but she left hers empty. They're great for little childlren as they can be sat on and easily carried around.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Querencia
              lgss May 9, 2009 10:48 AM

              My great aunt and uncle had one of these footstools, as did my grandparents! I suspect my grandparents (born late 1890s) made them.

            2. Vetter May 2, 2009 10:10 AM

              I've been thinking the same thing lately. What I've come up with so far is that they might work nicely to hold some leftover gardening stuff, like kelp meal or fertilizer. Seems like that stuff always comes in leaky bags.

              I don't think you can get rid of the coffee smell, as they aren't traditional metal cans, so they're not great to hold food.

              1. j
                jujuthomas May 5, 2009 09:10 AM

                my best friend was collecting them for a school project at her daughter's preschool. Not sure what they made, but I know my sister's kids' school collects egg cartons, paper towel rolls, etc for craft projects.

                1. h
                  HillJ May 9, 2009 02:47 PM

                  I send my son care packages (college) using the cans and he in turn keeps the can for holding misc stuff. If you burn mini CD's or DVD's they hold them perfectly!

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