Reuse Ideas for Coffee Cups, Sleeves and Stirrers

Many of us stop by that big-box coffee chain at least once a day. But what happens to all those hard-to-recycle coffee cups, sleeves and stirrers after your sip is spent? Come prepared with a reusable mug on your next trip to the café to stop the paper trail of single-use cups. If you forget your mug one morning, don’t toss that cup in the trash! Use our crafty guide to repurpose your coffee waste into everything from camera equipment to home decor.

1. Turn those sleeves into magnets

Photo: SEI Lifestyle

Cardboard coffee cup sleeves are seriously annoying. Sure, they keep your fingers cool for a few minutes. But after that, they’re pretty much just an extra piece of trash. Repurpose these coffee shop leftovers into eye-catching magnets for your fridge, office or dorm room like the craft mavens at SEI Lifestyle.

Tara Anderson, a guest-post contributor to SEI Lifestyle who blogs at The Pink Couch, dreamed up this creative reuse idea when her 4-year-old started kindergarten. Wanting to elegantly display her daughter’s artwork from school, Anderson repurposed cardboard coffee sleeves and scraps of craft paper to create these cheery magnets that will spice up any surface in need of a pick-me-up.

Check out Anderson’s tutorial at SEI Lifestyle to find out how to make it. And don’t restrict yourself to disposable sleeves for this one. Use the same method to upcycle cardboard scraps from all over the house.

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2. Create a lamp from old cups

The crafty user community at Instructables hates coffee cup waste as much as you do. To stop those mixed-material cups from heading to the landfill, the Instructables staff launched the Coffee Cup Challenge last year and asked members to submit their most inventive upcycling ideas.

Entries included everything from portable cakes and DIY speakers to this elegant lamp made from 125 coffee cups. Dreamed up by Chicago-based member creasemaker, this half-sphere lamp is perfect for adding a touch of light and an attractive accent to any room of the house.

Check out this step-by-step tutorial from Instructables to get started. If your coffee addiction isn’t quite strong enough to gather 125 cups on your own, ask friends and co-workers to donate their spent cups for use in your project.

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NEXT: Turn foam cups into art

Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.
Mary Mazzoni

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