Are Cardboard Coffee Cans Recyclable?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: October 2, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

As recycling is becoming more popular, it is important to understand what is considered recyclable and what isn’t. 

When it comes to coffee cans, some types will be recyclable, and others won’t. 

It is incredibly important that you know what kind of material your coffee can is made out of.

All coffee cans that are plastic and metal will be recyclable, but paper and cardboard coffee cans are trickier. 

They are usually either lined with aluminum of coated with a waterproof material or wax to keep them dry and safe.

Is Cardboard Recyclable?

Cardboard is recyclable and it is usually extremely easy, First, you need to make sure that you take everything out of the cardboard box by removing any packing materials like Styrofoam or bubble wrap.

Next, it is beneficial to flatten your piece of cardboard. 

This will make the piece take up less room, making it possible to recycle more cardboard at one time. 

Before you place the cardboard in the recycling bin, you need to make sure the cardboard is clean and dry. 

You can then put it in the recycling bin and go about your day.

Here are some tips to consider when recycling cardboard:

  • Damaged (ripped, dented) cardboard can still be recycled.
  • Tape and labels can be left on the cardboard.
  • Always make sure wet cardboard has plenty of time to dry before you put it in the recycling bin.
  • Juice, milk, and cereal boxes and be recycled.

Can You Recycle a Cardboard Coffee Can?

It isn’t recommended that you recycle a cardboard coffee can. 

This is because they are commonly lined in steel or coated with a wax of some kind. 

These materials aren’t generally able to be separated from the cardboard, and they aren’t considered recyclable as a unit. 

This means you can’t put them in a recycling bin.

If there is a way that you can separate the cardboard from the steel or wax, you can then recycle the cardboard can. 

This can be really difficult and might not be worth the hassle. 

In most cases, you should just throw a cardboard coffee can in the trash.

These types of cardboard coffee cans are most commonly lined with steel instead of with wax. 

In addition, they will also have a plastic lid. You can try to separate the cardboard from the plastic by soaking it in warm water. 

The cardboard should begin to separate from the steel, and you can then remove it. 

You can then recycle the steel and cardboard separately in their respective recycling bins. 

The plastic lid can also be recycled.

What Types of Coffee Cans Are Recyclable?

Metal coffee cans are recyclable because just about every type of metal is considered recyclable. 

Metal can be easily melted down and made into something else, and it is incredibly simple to separate from materials that aren’t metal. 

However, if the can is coated with wax or plastic, try to remove that first.

Most plastic coffee cans will be recyclable. 

You will notice that about every single plastic product available has a plastic code that resembles a triangle with a number in the middle. 

These codes will let you know if the plastic is recyclable:

  • Codes 1 and 2 are safe to be recycled and are accepted worldwide. These plastics are ones that are generally used for food containers such as pop bottles, milk, and coffee canisters.
  • Codes 4 and 5 might potentially be recyclable. These codes include plastics like yogurt cups, and they are usually softer than plastics that have coeds 1 and 2.
  • Codes 3, 6, and 7 are not recyclable. This includes things like plastic wrap, plastic bags, and foam.

How to Dispose of Cardboard Coffee Cans

If you can’t recycle cardboard coffee cans, how are you supposed to get rid of them? You will throw the regular can out in the trash and recycle the plastic lid. 

In addition to coffee cans, you might also find beverage powder, iced tea powder, hot chocolate, and tea bag canisters.

If you can manage to get the cardboard and steel liner separated from each other, you will be able to recycle the materials separately. 

It is essential that you wait for each material to properly dry before putting them in the recycling bin.

Are Cardboard Coffee Cups Recyclable?

Surprisingly, disposable cardboard coffee cups are no longer accepted as a recyclable material. 

They need to be thrown away in your regular trash. Styrofoam cups are also no longer recyclable materials.

The only parts of a cardboard coffee cup that are able to be recycled are the plastic lids and paper sleeves that you get to protect your hand. 

You would need to separate these properly by putting the plastic lid with the plastics and the paper sleeves in with the paper. 

This is crucial for proper sorting.


Recycling is important for keeping our environment healthy, but sometimes it’s not always possible. This is true in the case of cardboard coffee cans. 

They are usually made out of more than one material, like steel or wax, that can’t be separated easily from the cardboard.

In some cases, you might be able to soak your cardboard cans to separate them from the other materials. 

If this happens, you can recycle the materials separately. 

If not, then you can just throw away the cardboard container in the trash.

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