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What to Do With Your Old Soda Cans

Updated on January 29, 2015

Don't let your aluminum cans go to waste

What can you do with your used soda cans? pop cans? beer cans? What are your choices? Think your have two options: trash it or recycle it? I assure you, there are many more options than that. People worldwide are using aluminum cans in creative and amazing ways. Find out how to release the potential that lies within a used soda can.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle. With aluminum cans too RECYCLE is too often limited to cans with a deposit, and REUSE is forgotten altogether.

Make a Christmas Tree - Mountain Dew Christmas Tree

Mountain Dew with its green and red colors, are perfect for a Christmas Tree. Check out this amazing Mountain Dew Tree, which has its own myspace page. Standing at six feet tall, it is comprised of about 400 Mountain Dew Cans, and one 2 liter bottle.

Run Your Car on Hydrogen

Okay, so not really practical, and not a project for the average person. But, hey, if you are the science experiment type, then give it a whirl.

What do you do?

What do you do with your soda cans?

See results
Soda Can Tab Chainmail Armor
Soda Can Tab Chainmail Armor

Make a Suit of Chainmail Armor

Using a couple hundred soda can tabs and some wire, you can make for yourself a custom fit suit of chainmail.

This will be perfect for the next Renaissance Festival, or any a role-paying event. Make a suit for Halloween!

How To Make a Suit of Chainmail Armor

Thanks to LauraSchofield who brought this one to my attention.

Soda Can Crafts
Soda Can Crafts

Project Ideas

Aluminum Can Craft Ideas

This site has some of the most amazing aluminum can projects that are within the range of possibility for most crafters. Included in three e-books are step-by-step directions on making hundreds of wreaths, ornaments, centerpieces, floral arrangements, handbags, baskets, wall art, and more.

Several samples projects are provided for free on the site such as Easter Lilies, Fireworks, and Star Ornament, among others.

Aluminous Publishing's Aluminum Can Craft E-books
Recycle aluminum soda beverage cans to wreaths, baskets, Christmas ornaments, wall hangings, pull-tabs purses with full-size patterns, pictures and instructions. Download, recycle and create.

Make a Soda Can Hat - Knit an aluminum can hat

Learn to make your own aluminum can hat from the Tin Can Alley. They have a tutorial for two styles of hats, a bag and a tissue cozy! Apparently there is a long tradition of this handicraft.

Another pattern is available at knit1mag.com

If you are not one to crochet, then you may want to pick up one of these hats:

Aluminum Can Fact:

You can make 20 recycled aluminum cans with the energy it takes to make one new aluminum can from bauxite ore.(Community Recycling, Belington, Washington)

Cover Your House with Aluminum (Can) Siding - A new whole new take on aluminum siding

Architect Richard Van Os Keuls, a resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, has put up new aluminum siding on his house. Well, the siding is new, the aluminum is not. In fact, it's not really "siding", it actually covered in aluminum can shingles...flattened beer and soda cans laid over each other, covering the exterior of his house.

Make a Pop Can Stove - A backpacker's handy burner

Build your own stove with just two soda cans and a few common tools. Being lightweight and cheap, this is a great item for backpackers and campers.

Learn more about the stove at this lens: Pepsi Can Stove. Graphics showing the physics of these is available at wikipedia.

Source

Other Soda Can Ideas

  • Soda Can Mini Golf - remove the lid from a soda can, and cut a few 1/2 inch lines vertically going around the top, fold them back (so it is not sharp). Next go out in the back yard and dig holes to fit the cans. You have a mini golf course ready to play!

Other Pop Can Ideas

Incentive?

Despite the fact that the deposit system used in some states includes only carbonated drinks, and therefore excludes canned lemonade, iced tea, bottled water, etc., do you think that the system of paying a deposit is appropriate.

Is a nickel deposit the right incentive to get people to recycle?

See results

Pop Top Purse or Belt

Novica connects artists worldwide this shoppers equally as worldwide on eBay. Through Novica, Neide Ambrosio has the outlet to sell these amazing and hot handbags made with soda pop tops. Amazing!

Aluminum Can Fact:

An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now.

A recycled aluminum can be made into a new aluminum can in as little as 60 days, and then be recycled again over and over.

Donate Them

A nickel may not mean very much to you, but it means a lot to some.

Many local boy scout troops collect soda cans for fund raising.

-or-

Donate your aluminum cans to Habitat for Humanity:

Make an Airplane

Make 'Em Dance

Become a better videographer by directing your very own soda can stop motion animation. Very Sesame Street; very cool.

Recycle - Recycle Recycle Recycle

If you don't think that any of these projects are for you, or that you simply won't get to them, then the very least you can do is recycle your cans. Whether your state has a deposit system or not, recycling aluminum cans may be more important than you realized.

These are just a few reason why you should recycle your cans:

  1. The mining, processing, and manufacturing necessary to produce aluminum cans are responsible for large quantities of toxic solid wastes, the widespread destruction of wildlife habitat, and the displacement hundreds of thousands of indigenous people around the world. (Container Recycling Institute, 2002)
  2. The energy needed to replace all the aluminum cans wasted each year is equivalent to 16 million barrels of oil-enough to keep a million American cars on the road for a year. (Container Recycling Institute, 2001)
  3. A recycled six-pack of aluminum cans could save enough energy to drive a car five miles. One can equals the amount of energy a can half-full of gasoline would produce. (San Diego County Office of Education 1991. RAYS - Recycle and You Save.)
  4. Aluminum cans comprise only 1.4% of a ton of garbage by weight, but they account for 14.1% of the greenhouse gas impacts of replacing an average ton of garbage with new products made from virgin materials. (Container Recycling Institute, 2001)

Please let us know what you are up to with your aluminum cans. Do you know any interesting or amazing projects that we haven't yet discovered?

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    • Ammon Beardmore profile image

      Ammon Beardmore 2 years ago

      The Chain mail looks great. I imagine it would be quite light also.

    • profile image

      US-Massage-Therapy 3 years ago

      Wow! We used to crush them horizontally so they grabbed our shoes and would dance around in a tap-show manner. :)

    • Marcel W profile image

      Marcel White 3 years ago

      Some great ideas, no doubt. But I'm not skilled enough to reuse so I must keep on reducing and recycling.

    • profile image

      r_anand 3 years ago

      very good post about reuse of soda cans

    • profile image

      ColettaTeske 3 years ago

      This is a great list of ideas!

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      Great ideas to use the soda cans!

    • HappyTom LM profile image

      Tom Christen 3 years ago from Switzerland/Ecuador

      very nice and interesting lens! Great job! Thank you for sharing.

    • KathyZ1 profile image

      KathyZ1 3 years ago

      Nice lens

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Interesting ideas to use old soda cans. Great lens!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I recycle mine but after reading your lens I may start turning them into cute sharks and airplanes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Can not find instructions for Lotus Tealight made from an Iced Tea Can when clicking the link from your page.

    • profile image

      jura 4 years ago

      I do recycle my sofa cans bit I see some great ideas on this lens .

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      Those are really great ideas, Kab! Such an inspiration. In the Netherland cans are not recycled so you gave me some lovely alternatives. Thank you!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      So fascinating! Now I want to go make lots of the stuff you featured here. They are all so clever and beautiful. This Lens is A+++++!!! In California recycling is the law so everyone has to do it.

    • steadytracker lm profile image

      steadytracker lm 4 years ago

      My grandpa used to make the airplanes out of them. Of course that was before Michigan started their $0.10 per can deposit program. A great lens. Thank you for sharing it.

    • profile image

      mina009 4 years ago

      Very interesting and creative lens!

    • Klinetka profile image

      Klinetka 4 years ago

      I always recycle cans - I think we should all do so

    • shana273 profile image

      shana273 4 years ago

      Great lens! I have always recycled cans, but now I learned how to reuse soda cans.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Love the siding on the house!

    • profile image

      bender2003 4 years ago

      I need a Mithril made from soda can tabs !

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I would like to make an airplane I saw at a street fair out of recycled cans.

    • jc stone profile image

      Jordan 4 years ago

      This is one of the coolest lens i think i have seen!

    • Fridayonmymind LM profile image

      Fridayonmymind LM 4 years ago

      Some amazing ideas. It takes some creative people to come up with these sorts of ideas.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      awesome lens, I think that recycling cans is good for the environment

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Very interesting. And I just put mine in the recycle bin and miss out on all the fun.

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 4 years ago

      Very useful resource. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I would have never known about these other BRILLIANT uses for aluminum cans had I not stopped by here! I am definitely going to try making some of great things with my soda cans.

      (Love the airplane and the shark) and the purses...and the armor and...and...so much of it!

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      Amazing! I never thought I could save used cans and recycle it. Great ideas! Sundae ;-)

    • Meyani profile image

      Meyani 4 years ago

      nice advise, learn something new from you related to soda cans

    • lisln profile image

      LorLinda 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

      very interesting lens learned a lot never even considered all this that you shared thanks for sharing it.

    • KerryVor profile image

      Kerry Voronoff 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Definitely bookmarking this one. My son would love to make that airplane! Although soda cans will have to do.

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 4 years ago

      Wow! there are a lot of things to do with your soda cans! I find the pop top purse or belt to be really nice. :) Great lens!

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 4 years ago

      I really like the idea of using soda can tabs to make a suit of Armor. Since we rarely drink soda, it would take us forever to collect that many tabs :)

    • InfoCoop profile image

      InfoCoop 4 years ago

      Love this lens! Especially like the aluminum can siding. I'm submitting this as my Quest today for a "green" lens

    • profile image

      DebW07 4 years ago

      You've got plenty of great ideas for aluminum cans; my two favorites are the Christmas tree and the shark. I enjoyed this very much!

    • PinkstonePictures profile image

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      Recycling is the way to go

    • debra-cornelius profile image

      debra-cornelius 4 years ago

      Great lens! We recycle cans but some of these ideas are very amazing!

    • TopReviews2u profile image

      TopReviews2u 4 years ago

      Great lens for ideas on recycling. Love the pop top purse and belts made from soda pop tops.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      Wow! Who knew that so much cool stuff could be made out of soda cans!!!

    • profile image

      ChroniclesofaWa 4 years ago

      I didn't know you could recycle your cans in so many ways. :)

    • profile image

      anitabreeze 4 years ago

      This is very cool. I have seen the airplanes before, but that's about it.

    • kerryhrabstock profile image

      kerryhrabstock 4 years ago

      My old friend Darryl used them as "wallpaper." That is, he lined all his walls, top to bottom and side to side with cans. He was a professional baseball player and most of those cans were beer cans, but it was impressive nonetheless. Wonder what ever happened to him.

    • profile image

      miller83 4 years ago

      Love the lens.

    • Random thoughts2 profile image

      Random thoughts2 4 years ago

      Now that is called a true creativity.

      Liked your lens and you are welcome to visit my lens.

    • profile image

      clothing4boys 4 years ago

      Oh my! What an amazing Reuse& Recycle craft lens. Absolutely fabulous!

    • Lookatit profile image

      Lookatit 4 years ago

      I'm big into recycling whatever I can and you have some great ideas here that I'll use. Thanks!

    • HappyAlison profile image

      HappyAlison 4 years ago

      How creative! Nice lens.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Great idea!

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 4 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      Lots of good creative ideas here! I liked the aluminum can siding the best.

    • ZenSquid profile image

      ZenSquid 4 years ago

      Very interesting lens!

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

      Very creative ideas. Much more fun than putting them in the recycling.

    • James1978 profile image

      James1978 4 years ago

      We don't really any choice here in the UK. Virtually every single item has to be recycled nowadays.

    • profile image

      Ajeet 4 years ago

      It all gets down to "recycle recycle recycle!"

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image

      TedWritesStuff 4 years ago

      Genius.. with a little 'can do'...

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      Interesting lens. Thanks

    • one SquidAddict profile image

      one SquidAddict 4 years ago

      Amazing ideas for things to do with old soda cans. I have seen belts and handbags before, but I can't believe someone has actually covered their home with them!

    • profile image

      laurenrich 4 years ago

      I recycle my aluminum cans.

    • profile image

      healthimage 4 years ago

      Have to agree with Sam on this one. I haven't touched soda for over a decade and two good things happened. 1: I lost weight and feel great. 2: I don't contribute to the world's mountain of empty soda cans (and feel great)!

    • iSamR101 LM profile image

      iSamR101 LM 4 years ago

      Cool ideas, but here's a crazy thought for you...stop drinking soda (it's not healthy)!

    • profile image

      jmatts1 4 years ago

      Great lens with so many awesome ideas. I've always recycled the cans but I might try some of these artistic ideas. Check out my new lens if you get a chance: http://www.squidoo.com/bottle-less-water-coolers

    • Baddew Fibes profile image

      Baddew Fibes 4 years ago

      So many ideas, so little time. I've earmarked the soda can shark as my first project.

    • Judith Nazarewicz profile image

      Judith Nazarewicz 4 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

      Great lens!

    • Freestuffer LM profile image

      Freestuffer LM 4 years ago

      Interesting lens

    • profile image

      CristianStan 4 years ago

      I've always thought about saving my soda cans, but I never drink enough soda per-year to even make a bag full. Water rocks for me!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      great lens :)

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 4 years ago

      back in high school, we used to donate the opener of the soda so that they can build wheelchairs for the physically challenged people. thanks for the share! i love the armor idea :D

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 4 years ago

      great lens. Very unique. Blessed

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      That dragon is gorgeous!

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 4 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

    • InSearchOf LM profile image

      InSearchOf LM 4 years ago

      Very good ideas here. I love the chain mail armor and we just went to Texas Renfest - it would have been cool to wear one. Bookmarking this page for inspiration and ideas and showing it to my son.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great ideas! I recycle mine at the moment, but might need to try something new!

    • rooshoo profile image

      rooshoo 4 years ago

      That chain mail armor just blew my mind. Whoa!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      At the moment i just recycle them but I'd love to do some sculpting if I had the right tools to do it with.

    • profile image

      wendyfinn 4 years ago

      Some really fun ideas. I think I like the tea light holders best.

    • danadavies lm profile image

      danadavies lm 4 years ago

      interesting read! Thanks for the lens:)

    • profile image

      HolidaysDex 4 years ago

      You are some very creative ideas on how to recycle soda cans - thanks.

    • one dental profile image

      one dental 4 years ago

      This post is awesome! Never knew there were so many ways to reuse aluminum cans!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Chainmail armor... I don't even... That's the best idea ever.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 4 years ago

      That is amazing. I LOVE the purses made out of poptops. I did make an art project with my poptops. I collected poptops for a year and then glued that quantity of poptops (700 or so) to have a visual representation of how much pop I drink per year. It was astounding. It stopped me for a while...but I'm back now..until I quit again.

    • pearls2cents lm profile image

      pearls2cents lm 4 years ago

      It is interesting to know there are so many ways to get creative with aluminum cans. I have a soda pop top bag and love it!

    • dragonlildragon profile image

      dragonlildragon 4 years ago

      very amazing lens, wow so many ways to use the soda cans.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Interesting, who know you could do so many things with soda cans

    • ksktika profile image

      ksktika 4 years ago

      very interesting

    • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

      OUTFOXprevention1 4 years ago

      Wow! some interesting stuff!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your comments and liking my lenses

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I don't know that such nice things could be possible with those cans . Thanks for sharing such creative lens keep up the good work

    • justmelucy profile image

      justmelucy 4 years ago

      Now I can use my cans in new ways. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I use aluminum cans to make goggles for steampunk costumes. I think I'm going to start collecting pop can tabs so I can make armor for ren faires too!

    • kerbev profile image
      Author

      kab 4 years ago from Upstate, NY

      @Diana Wenzel: If you shingle the dog house, you've got to send me a photo! :-)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Congrats on your Purple Star! Well-deserved.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Love the creativity displayed here. I often wonder what I could do with all of the aluminum cans that I collect on my daily walks (picking up the litter left behind by others). Right now I recycle them, but you have sure given me lots of more imaginative ideas. I may use some to shingle a dog house that I am currently building.

    • profile image

      ClinicalResearchColumbusOhio 5 years ago

      very interesting ideas!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Many great ideas. thanks for sharing.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Wow you have lots of great use for cans, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Scanabella 5 years ago

      Holy Cans Man! WOW!

    • profile image

      KristoferPurple 5 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • profile image

      kgdunst 5 years ago

      Wow this is very creative. This len sparkle'd me.

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      Nice videos.. ;)

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      Nice videos.. ;)

    • profile image

      Dianeyp LM 5 years ago

      I love the purses! great lens