Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Can we recycle salted nut canisters?

Cardboard and foil can with lidFrom our mailbag:
Can we recycle salted nut canisters (cylindrical paper with metal bottom and metal top rim)?
Thanks for your question, D. Another resident asked us a very similar question a short while later. And, it's one we faced in my own household last month with a coffee can of similar construction -- we stood there in the kitchen, debating the pros and cons of the various disposal and recycling options... So, the topic is ripe for a blog entry!

Our recycling program cannot accept containers made of more than one type of material; so the nut (and coffee and similar) canisters would be a "no" since the metal rim and foil paper would be a contaminant of the mixed paper recycling process.

On the bright side, the plastic lid is accepted in our recycling program!

So, the bottom line is this:
if you don't have a reuse for it, please

Update, 1/15/2010:

This post generated several reader responses – thanks!

You asked whether we still accept milk and juice cartons - which may have plastic spouts and lids - or juice and drink boxes. Yes, we do! Please continue to add these to your paper recycling.

The beverage cartons and boxes are recycled using a process called hydropulping. This process is able to separate plastics, such as the plastic spout or lid, from the coated paper fibers. On the other hand, the paper-type canisters can have layers of wrapping and metal which is difficult for paper recyclers to remove. While these containers may look similar, the processes for handling them do vary. Therefore, the canisters are not recyclable in our program.

Some of you suggested creative ways to make the most of your canisters:
  • “I often have containers that have metal tops and bottoms and a cardboard body. I tend to take pliers to them and rip off the top and bottom and put them in our "metal" bin which we occasionally take to the Transfer Station metal area.” – submitted by M.
  • “We use these nut containers to pour grease into, then let it harden or refrigerate it and put it into the trash. Keep grease from going down your drain.” – submitted by B.


  1. Anonymous5:13 PM

    Please let your readers know that there is an easy to recycle cylindrical cannisters with paper sides and metal rims and bottoms. Simply take a small pair of gardening pruning shears and "stab" the paper wall near the metal rim at the top. Then proceed to cut off the upper metal rim, using the shears as scissors. Next do the same at the bottom to remove the metal plate at the base. Now you can recycle almost everything. It takes less than a few minutes.

  2. Thank you for sharing this matter. Well, it open up my curiosity because plastics were the only thing I know that can be recycled.


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