Creative Ways To Recycle Film Canisters

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Recycle Plastic Film Canisters
String lights made from film canisters, Creative Commons License photo credit: futureshape

Film canisters are not meant to be reused for long-term storage of food. Especially meat product. We sometimes have to learn that the hard way…um…seriously though…

Types of Plastic

The black film containers are constructed of virgin high-density polyethylene (#2 HDPE) plastic, a tough semi-rigid material commonly used for other items such as kitchen utensils and toys, etc. The gray container lid is made of low-density polyethylene (#4 LDPE), also a commonly used plastic. #4 plastic is usually harder to recycle unless you bring it specifically to a recycling center.  See RecycleScene’s  non-boring article we did on plastic recycling numbers for more information.

At one point, Fujifilm used recycled moisture-proof paper for its film instead of canisters. They also have a Zero Emissions Target on their website, with some pretty comprehensive recycling practices.

Kodak also runs a film container recycling program that utilizes every component that is recovered from all manufacturers’ 35 mm film- the magazine, the spool, and the film canister. Their FAQ states that, “the plastic from the spools is made into new products like sheet lifters for loose leaf notebooks. Steel from film cartridges is sent to steel mills to be made into wire and, after initial preparation, the film cans and lids are ground up and re-extruded to be used in the manufacture of new film container bottoms.”

Recycle Plastic Film Canisters: Reuse Ideas

There are many healthy ways to recycle a plastic film canister, too. They do make handy little storage containers. They are also great for holding craft beads, pins, or little knick-knack tchotchkes.

Clearly, an excellent experiment is to use a film canister to make a rocket! Use an antacid tablet, water, and some goggles!

I hope you found this article helpful. Please feel free to share ways that you’ve reused film canisters.

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2 Responses to Creative Ways To Recycle Film Canisters

  1. Greetings, I am looking to set up a film canister recycling program and was wondering if you know what type of plastic the spool is. If it is a common blend I can recycle them locally rather than having to consider logistics of sending to kodak (plus we have primarily Ilford rolls here)

    thank you!


  2. Hi Nicholas,
    It would be difficult to say what type of plastic the spool is- you would have to look on the bottom to see if it has a resin code on it. If so, check out our posts on Plastic Recycling Numbers and give your local center a call.

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