Can You Recycle Altoid Tins? (Don’t Make These Mistakes)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Altoids are delicious mints that come in a convenient metal container that fits perfectly in your pocket or purse. But once you empty the tin, you may be wondering if it is possible to recycle it.

After all, you want your mint habit to be good for the environment! Continue reading to find out if it’s possible to recycle your altoid tins and more!

Can You Recycle Altoid Tins?

The good news is, you absolutely can recycle your old Altoid tins. However, before you toss them in the recycle bin, there are a few things you need to know about recycling old Altoid tins. For example, any extra plastic or paper labeling needs to be removed and separated before discarding of the tins.

Keep reading to learn about all the unique ways you can recycle Altoid tins!

How To Recycle Old Altoid Tins

Recycling old Altoid tins is ridiculously easy, as long as you live in a city that recycles steel, which is what Altoid tins are made out of. 

Furthermore, most cities do recycle steel, but they may require it to be placed in a special bin. 

However, if your city just participates in general recycling, then you can simply toss your Altoid mint container in a bin with the general recycling. 

Additionally, if you are concerned about whether or not your city will take steel for recycling, you can always call and ask your waste management company. 

Therefore, if for some reason they do not, you can contact a specific steel recycling plant to coordinate a drop-off of steel for recycling. 

Upcycling Altoid Tins

Instead of going through the hassle of discovering if your city takes steel for recycling, you can upcycle your Altoid tins. 

Furthermore, because of their sturdy configuration, it is quite easy to repurpose an Altoid tin into something else.

Use Altoid Tins As Small, Portable Containers

Is your briefcase messy? Or maybe you can never find a rubber band in your car when you need one. 

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In both of these cases, Altoid tins recycle to become the perfect small storage containers. 

Furthermore, you can store anything from rubber bands to paperclips or even push pins and then place them in a convenient location for you to find later. 

Additionally, if you have multiple Altoid tins with supplies, you can have a blast painting your tin so that you can label it with the supplies it holds. 

However, just make sure you purchase paint that will work on metal. 

Make Your Altoid Tin Into A Mini First Aid Kit

Another great way to recycle a used Altoid tin is by making it into a mini first aid kit that you can keep in your purse or pocket. 

Of course, it won’t be able to hold everything, but you can definitely put a few necessities in there that you may need while you are out and about.

Even though the items you decide to place in your mini first aid kit will vary, it’s suggested that you put band-aids, moist towelettes, aspirin, cotton swabs, and gauze to get you started. 

Additionally, you can also add things like betadine, Neosporin, and maybe even some super glue! 

For more ideas, check out this awesome Altoid tin first aid kit example. 

Put Your Spare Change In Altoid Tins

Put Your Spare Change In Altoid Tins

Besides just storing office materials, Altoid tins also make great storage for that change that is rolling around the top of your dresser or the floor of your car. 

Additionally, once the tin gets heavy with change, this makes it very convenient to transport your change to a machine to have it counted. 

Furthermore, if you have children, you can use a sharp knife and scissors to cut a coin slot on one of the sides of the tin. 

Then your child can use the Altoid tin as a mini piggy bank for all of the pennies they find as they go about their day!

Store Small Game Pieces In An Altoid Tin

Do you have a bunch of board games with small pieces? Instead of tossing your Altoid tins in the recycling bin, you can use them to store small game pieces. 

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This is especially convenient because the tins are small enough to fit right in the box with the game board. 

As suggested above, if you have multiple tins filled with pieces in one board game, it may help to label the Altoid tins, so you know which pieces are which.

However, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of painting your Altoid tins, a sharpie can also suffice. 

Use An Altoid Tin To Hide A Spare Key

This next way to recycle an Altoid tin is brilliant! Instead of hiding your spare key under the mat for your house, put it in an Altoid tin and then bury it somewhere on your property. 

While this may get a bit messy if you ever need to use it, this method will deter most criminals looking for easy access to a property.

However, just be aware that Altoid tins do rust and are not waterproof. But your key should be fine being hidden in a tin and buried for at least a few years! 

Transform Your Altoid Tin Into a Flashlight

Now, this project isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’ve got some tools lying around your garage, and a little bit of know-how, you can transform your Altoid tin into a mini flashlight. 

Furthermore, this flashlight will be small enough to take in your pocket or purse and can be used whenever you need just a little bit of extra light to get something done. 

Additionally, you can also purchase any color of LED light you would like for this project, meaning you can make a few different Altoid tin flashlights, all in different colors! 

Are Altoid Tins Bad For The Environment?

As you are working to recycle or upcycle your Altoid tins, you may be wondering how your Altoid eating habit is affecting the environment.

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Luckily, Altoid tins are made from what is known as tin can steel. This is good because this specific type of steel only takes about 100 years to decompose.

Furthermore, it does this by rusting and breaking off into flakes that go back into the environment.

However, even though these metal flakes re-enter the environment, Altoid cans are not biodegradable because no living organism is waiting to feed off of these parts. 

So even though your Altoid tins will eventually break down if left in your backyard, it’s a much better idea to take them to a recycling plant or upcycle them into something else. 

Therefore, they aren’t necessarily bad for the environment, although, you do need to note that they aren’t good for the environment either. 

Furthermore, when it comes to making steel, the process does produce waste that is released into the environment. 

This waste can be both an air contaminant as well as a water contaminant, however, when it comes to steel production, Altoid tins don’t make up a large portion of its use. 

Rather, most steel is made to create buildings and other large-scale projects. 

This means that your Altoid habit is neither bad nor good for the environment and that cutting back on the mints won’t affect the levels of steel production. 


If you are an avid Altoid eater and looking for a way to recycle the tins they come in, you don’t need to fret as you can just toss them into the recycling bin when you are through. 

However, if you do want to repurpose your Altoids tins into something else, there are many things you can upcycle them into like mini first aid kits, office containers, mini flashlights, and more!. 


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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