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Are Trader Joe’s Coffee Cans Recyclable?

Are Trader Joe's Coffee Cans Recyclable

We all love coffee, and Trader Joe’s has quite the assortment- but in a time where recycling is more important than ever, are Trader Joe’s coffee cans recyclable?

Trader Joe’s coffee cans are made completely from aluminum. Aluminum can be recycled indefinitely, making Trader Joe’s coffee cans easily recyclable. However, your local recycling facility may not accept the coffee can’s plastic lid. Check your area’s recycling or sanitation centers to determine what plastics they take. 

There you have it! If you’re a Trader Joe’s shopper, you can cheer for recycling, reducing, and reusing! The rest of this article will go over what aspects of these products are recyclable and what you can do with your old coffee cans to help keep this world beautiful.

Are Trader Joe’s Coffee Cans Recyclable?

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Trader Joe’s coffee section allows coffee lovers to browse fair trade and delicious products. The average American drinks about 3 cups of coffee a day. It’s a morning staple.

Because of its popularity, coffee cans empty quicker than other products. As a consumer, throwing away so many cans of coffee every year feels irresponsible.

That’s why it is so great that most coffee, especially at Trader Joe’s, is inside metal cans.

The company was also one of the first to put whole coffee beans into a can. These metal cans are completely recyclable. 

To recycle a Trader Joe’s coffee can:

  • First, empty the can of all coffee grounds or beans. 
  • Rinse the can out a little.
  • Pull off the label.
  • Deposit the can inside your recycle bin.

Because of its film-like material, the label can be a pain for recycling companies, not to mention it can contaminate other products during processing.

Take it off to help save time and hassle and ensure that your can gets processed. 

To check the current price and availability of Trader Joe’s Medium Roast Coffee, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

Are Aluminum Coffee Cans Recyclable?

When recycling coffee cans, the first step is to identify the material of the canister. The three main materials used to store coffee beans and grounds are:

  • Metal
  • Paper
  • Plastic

Metal is one of the most popular types of canisters for coffee. It’s an important resource because you can melt it down and forge it again into something new indefinitely.

Almost all types of metal are recyclable, including aluminum. 

It never hurts to double-check if you’re ever questioning what you can recycle. Check out your local recycling center to see what materials they accept. 

Are Trader Joe’s Coffee Cans Aluminum or Plastic?

Most of the coffee available at Trader Joe’s comes in an aluminum can with a plastic lid. Trader Joe’s has stored both their ground and whole bean coffees in aluminum-fiber-based cans since the 1980s. 

Sometimes you can purchase coffee from Trader Joe’s in a bag. These bags are often composed of paper, cardboard, and wax. The waxy substance prevents the product from safely being recycled. 

Aluminum coffee cans, which all Trader Joe’s coffee cans are, can be recycled. However, the plastic lid might not be recyclable. While most plastic is considered recyclable, some plastic tops feature materials that are unsafe to recycle. 

Recycling rules vary depending on where you live. Reach out to your local sanitation department or recycling center to see what plastics they accept. Check the product’s number in the recycling triangle to find the lid’s plastic code. 

Why Are Most Coffee Products in an Aluminum Can?

Aside from being a great material to support sustainability, aluminum cans also help maintain the flavor of coffee better than another packaging. 

Coffee starts to degrade when exposed to light and air. The best way to combat this issue is by storing it in an air-tight, dark container- like an aluminum can. 

Any air seeping into the coffee can will make your coffee lose flavor and become stale. Aluminum cans prevent this by sealing the beans up tight to ensure freshness. That’s why Trader Joe’s coffee is always so fresh tasting.

How Do You Recycle Trader Joe’s Coffee Pods?

Sometimes you don’t have time to make a whole pot of coffee- that’s when a coffee pod is perfect! However, single-serve coffee pods create a lot of waste in landfills.

Learning how to recycle them properly is important; thankfully, Trader Joe’s coffee pods are recyclable. 

Here’s how you can recycle your coffee pods from Trader Joe’s:

  1. Wait for the pod to cool down first before attempting any further steps.
  2. Once the pod is cooled, take it out of the machine and completely remove the aluminum foil seal on top. 
  3. Throw out the coffee grounds.
  4. Remove the paper filter and throw it away.
  5. Rinse out the plastic pod.
  6. Deposit the pod and aluminum foil seal in your recycling bin.

Paper filters and coffee grounds are biodegradable, so they will decompose over time. 

DIY with Coffee Cans

One of the best ways to recycle anything is to do it yourself. Turn that coffee can into something new you can reuse at home or work! After all, waste not, want not. 

However, before repurposing your old coffee can, you may want to treat it for oxidation. Not only will this remove the oxidation in the aluminum, but it will also make it easier to paint!

To treat the can, follow these steps:

  1. Wash the can with soap and water.
  2. Neutralize the can by rubbing it with a cloth and vinegar.
  3. Lightly sand the can with steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper. 
  4. Wash it off again. 

Apply a metal primer to the can to prevent later oxidation. 

What Can You Do With Old Coffee Cans?

There are multiple things you can do with an old coffee can, such as:

  • Create an upcycled birdhouse.
  • Build an artsy coffee can wine rack.
  • Make a plunger holder for your bathroom.
  • Punch holes in one to make a luminary.
  • Turn it into a simple planter. 
  • Craft it into a coin bank. 

How Can Empty Coffee Cans be Reused?

Aside from creative upcycling projects, coffee cans also have easy, practical reuses!

The cans make excellent storage containers for your home. If you plan to use them for storage, a bit of burlap, ribbon, paint, or a simple label can add a touch of décor to these simple canisters. 

They’re great for holding markers, paintbrushes, pencils, toys (especially Legos!), and more. If you’re a knitter or crocheter, empty coffee cans are also great for putting a single ball of yarn into to prevent it from tangling. 

Some people even fill their old coffee cans with cookies and other treats for their neighbors and loved ones- this is especially great during the holiday season! Remove the coffee label and add some seasonal ribbon to give it that cute and quirky family feel!

Final Thoughts

Trader Joe’s has been using aluminum cans for their coffee since the 1980s, making them recyclable. However, you may need to check with local plastic guidelines to learn whether or not you can recycle the lid. 

You may not want to get rid of the coffee cans if you need a new project or storage. The cans make excellent holders and great containers for gifts too. 

If you prefer to use coffee pods instead, remember to recycle! While those little pods may not seem like much to you, they add up and fill landfills everywhere after multiple times consumed daily. 


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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