Recycling: Seven things you can do with a Pringles can

The distinctive Pringles tube has been branded a "nightmare" by recycling bosses because of the material it is made of.

The Recycling Association says the combination of a metal base, plastic cap, metal tear-off lid, and foil-lined cardboard sleeve make it one of the most challenging items to recycle. So what else could these pesky tubes - subsequently adopted by some other snack manufacturers - be used for?

Pet toys

The used (and clean!) cylinders can be reversioned into toys and food storage for your pets. The owner of two guinea pigs, Franklin and Theodore, makes tunnels for them to play in and stuffs them with hay and treats for the boys to snack on during the day.

A Mumsnet user agrees, and gives the empty tubes to her gerbils. RavenAK said the gerbils loved playing in them and eventually shredded the tubes, so all that was left to do was compost the remains and recycle the metal base.

Image copyright Charlotte Urban
Image caption Guinea pigs Theodore and Franklin nibble on their handmade treat box


Vice-provost for education Tanya Stanko used the crisp packaging to create a working Enigma machine with her engineering students at Innopolis University.

The original Enigma machine was used by the Germans during World War Two to encrypt and decrypt messages, but the code was successfully cracked by Alan Turing in 1939.

Image copyright @tanyastanko/Innopolis University
Image caption Students at the Innopolis University in Russia build an Enigma machine during one of their classes

Carrier bag-holders

After the 5p carrier bag charge was introduced in 2015, hoards of plastic carrier bags have plagued our spare cupboards, but crafty bloggers have reversioned their crisp tubes into bag dispensers.

Image copyright Ruth Lowe/The Time Fairy
Image caption A tidy way of keeping your carrier bag stash under control

Drum kit

One little boy came up with the idea to make a mini drum kit for the family's 4 July celebrations, with the addition of a few strips of duct tape to bring it all together.

Image copyright Chrissy Taylor/The Taylor House
Image caption One way to save costs on entertainment at family parties

Christmas decorations

You may still have those Christmas crackers made of cardboard toilet roll tubes and crepe paper from your nursery days. But this creation takes it up a notch.

Jeanette Ellis has made collections from Pringles cans, such as this nativity scene, on and off for years. Her son says they are "always a hit".

Image copyright Jeanette Ellis
Image caption 'Deep and CRISP, and even': a nativity scene with a difference

Space rockets

At the Science Museum in London, staff use empty tubes as part of their rocket show. The packaging teamed with hydrogen gas, matches and oxygen creates a reaction to launch the rockets, which - apparently - makes "quite a loud bang".

Image copyright The Science Museum
Image caption The rockets don't quite have enough power to reach space

Alternative Crossrail

Meanwhile, in 2015 railway blogger Andy Carter calculated how many Pringles you could fit into the 26-mile rail tunnel project, Crossrail. Services - when work is complete - will run as far west as Reading, in Berkshire and as far east as Shenfield, in Essex.

Mr Carter made a number of rough calculations and claims it would take a whopping 844 million cans of Pringles to fill Crossrail.

But I doubt you'd try this one at home.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Blogger Andy Carter warns that his rough calculations should be taken with a pinch of salt

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