Can You Recycle Pringles Cans? (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.

Recycling is a great way to ensure that raw materials are used many times before they go to the landfill. Furthermore, the snack industry is a major producer of plastics, however, how should we dispose of these plastics?

Keep reading to find out if we can recycle pringles cans and more in the article below!

Can You Recycle Pringles Cans?

Pringles can not be recycled in commingled recycling bins because there individual components cannot be separated by machinery. However, the cans can be torn apart by hand and then the cardboard tube can be recycled. Additionally, pringles has committed to producing all recyclable packaging by 2025.  

This article will cover all you need to know about Pringles cans including what they are made of, whether they can be recycled, and what the alternatives are for Pringles cans!

Pringles cans can not be recycled as-is as they consist of a cardboard tube that is lined with a thin layer of foil. 

Furthermore, the original design of the can includes a sealed foil lid, a metal base pressed into the tube, and a plastic unsealed lid for resealing the uneaten Pringles left in the tube. 

Therefore, because of this many consumers wishfully toss these cans into commingled recycling bins which causes recycling stream contamination.

Although unrecyclable, this tube design ensures that the chips arrive to consumers whole and fresh.

Additionally, pringles cans are designed to eliminate food waste that occurs when the product is smashed. 

However, this design has also garnered the moniker, the number one recycling villainby a trade recycling group in the UK.

So, to recycle a Pringles can, it first must be separated into individual parts.

  • Remove the plastic lid. Not every local recycling program will take lids, nor every type of recyclable plastic.
  • Separate the metal base from the cardboard can. This base can likely be recycled with cans.
  • The foil pop-top lid must be discarded in the garbage. 
  • The cardboard tube can be separated from the foil lining and recycled with other cardboard recyclables if it is not contaminated by food particles or grease. 
  • The foil inner layer will likely be discarded, but it is possible to soak the foil liners to get all of the paper and glue residue off, then combine all of the cleaned foil liners into a ball and then recycle with your cans.
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However, when recycling materials, keep in mind that they must be clean and dry. 

Therefore, do not put a wet Pringles cardboard tube into the recycling bin because it will gum up the machinery and be discarded into the landfill by workers in the recycling plant. 

Instead, let all of the components dry thoroughly before recycling them.

Interestingly, Terracycle, a company that specializes in recycling composite materials, had partnered with Pringles in the UK to break down and recycle the cans. 

Furthermore, according to the Pringles company website, this program ended in March of 2021 after recycling 1,750 cans

This low recycling response with the program seems to have been what ended the partnership.

However, the cardboard tube on every Pringles can is made with 50% recycled cardboard already, so this is not a total waste of raw materials. 

Fortunately, Pringles is working hard to ensure that future packaging keeps the chips delicious for consumers without being a major source of landfill contents.

What Are Some Options For Reusing Pringle Cans?

What Are Some Options For Reusing Pringle Cans?

Since Pringle cans are not currently recyclable, many Pringles lovers worldwide have invented a myriad of creative ways to reuse all of those Pringles cans around the home and in school. 

Furthermore, many crafters and homeowners have discovered that the Pringles tubes are easy to clean and are a very handy size for reuse as storage tubes. 

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Here are a few ideas of what you can do with your Pringles can:

  • Clean the Pringles tube and plastic lid.
  • Paint the exterior, cover with a printed Contact paper or glue on a fun fabric.
  • Use the tubes in the kitchen to store small foods like rice, pasta, beans, and lentils.
  • Use the tubes in the bathroom to store cotton balls, Q-tips, nail polish bottles, nail files, and other small items. 
  • Use the tubes in the office for storing paper clips, rubber bands, pens, pencils, and memory sticks. These tubes make great charger cord storage as well.
  • In the garage, these tubes are great for storing loose bolts, nuts, screws, nails, and other loose metal fasteners and extra parts from installation kits.

Additionally, Pringles cans can be used in school, camp, and daycare settings for many different kids’ crafts such as making kaleidoscopes or bug barns. 

Also, cleaned Pringles cans can be used to make fun mazes and activity tubes for rodent-type pets such as rats, hamsters, chinchillas, gerbils, hedgehogs, and sugar gliders. 

What Are Pringles Cans Made Of?

While the constituent materials in a Pringles can are simple, it is the combination that makes them non-recyclable. 

  • Metal-The bottom of the Pringles can is made from metal, the inside of the cardboard tube is lined with foil, and the pop-top sealed lid is foil. 
  • Cardboard-The primary body of the Pringles can is made from cardboard. As with all cardboard, it is recyclable. However, because it is laminated with foil, it is unrecyclable unless this layer is separated. Furthermore, Pringles makes these cardboard tubes from 50% recycled paper. 
  • Plastic-The lid of a Pringles can is made of plastic. The recyclability of this plastic depends on local recycling facilities. Most recyclers do not take small plastic lids because they foul up the plant machinery. Also, not all recyclers take all plastics for recycling. Many facilities can take only two or three kinds of plastic.
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This is why it is vital that Pringles designs a new tube that will keep food fresh while being recyclable in nearly all facilities.

Although the partnership with TetraPak was hopeful, and there were many drop-off sites throughout the UK during that partnership, nobody used them.

This is what caused the companies to bring to an end this unfruitful partnership.

It is also vital for buyers to understand that dumping the Pringles cans into the recycling stream only makes things worse. 

This is because many loads of recyclable material are brought to landfills all over the globe because of wishful recycling. 

Furthermore, non-recyclables such as Pringle cans can cause an entire load of good recyclables to be put into landfills because they contaminate the entire load.

Therefore the best thing for buyers to do is to contact their local recycling plant for detailed information on what can and can not be recycled. 

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle used paper plates, whether you can recycle chip bags, and whether you can recycle rubber bands.

Conclusion

Pringles is working hard to replace the old non-recyclable packaging with new packaging that is fully recyclable. Furthermore, in certain test markets, these new packages can be purchased by consumers.

However, until a global roll-out of recyclable Pringles tubes happens, consumers can choose to reuse the Pringles cans, separate them into recyclable constituents, or purchase snack foods in recyclable containers. 

Author

  • 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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