Tin Can Lids by Jack Bresnahan



New Designers 09: Northumbria University graduate Jack Bresnahan exhibited a series of biodegradable, plastic lids for turning used tin cans into household containers at graduate show New Designers in London last week.


There are 9 plastic lids in the set, which turn the cans into objects including a vase, soap dispenser, sugar caster, tea and coffee canisters, toothbrush holder, money box and desk tidy.


See all our stories from New Designers in our special category.


See also: Jar tops by Jorre van Ast


Here's some text from Bresnahan:


Jack Bresnahan
Northumbria 3D Design 09

Green issues are at the heart of everything that Jack Bresnahan does.  A passionate believer that designers  must take responsibility for their designs from conception to disposal, Jack feels that ‘anything that ends up in landfill is simply poor design’.


His aim through his designs is to create products that make environmentally friendly goods more accessible and help to make day to day living greener. This is not a blinkered crusade however, as while his designs are always created within a green framework he balances this with a drive to develop products that are both useful and good to look at.


His first final year project is a prime example of this.  Across the UK, countless tin cans are thrown away everyday. Some are recycled; others go straight in the bin.


In an attempt to breathe new life into old rubbish, Jack has created a range of 9 different biodegradable plastic lids, that can be placed on the top of a freshly-washed  baked beans can for example and transform its purpose. From a vase to a soap dispenser, a sugar pourer to toothbrush holder, money box to desk tidy and tea and coffee canisters, these stylish lids take tin cans to a whole new level.

Posted on Monday July 20th 2009 at 6:30 pm by Zaynab D. Ziari. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • B

    same idea from Jorre van Ast
    but well..ok these are cans..

  • Lizzie Bell

    These look like a poor version of Jorre Von Ast jars. Jars are eaiser to clean out than cans are to polish up to the degree to which you seem to have polished yours. None of the lids have been designed (except perhaps the vase ); simply used in their traditonal forms. There is not a problem here as tin cans are commonly and easily recycled.Good work ethos and nice concept but neither original nor practical.

  • Very nice! I’m a big fan of repurposing that isn’t too, shall we say, patchouli-scented? These pieces have a nice clean simplicity to them that makes them very appealing.

  • Clark

    Awesome. Simply awesome.

  • I really like this project for its simplicity and how obvious it seems in retrospect. The tin can has functioned in all of these roles ever since tin cans existed, but they never looked this good while they were doing it!

  • Indi

    Very cute, but what’s the life span of the biodegradable plastic?

  • it’s a follower of Jorre van Ast but it’s quite different design

  • Great product! They will make a clean, uniform, and eco storage system.
    I just have hesitations in using cans for storing food as it sometimes tastes a bit tinny

  • David Trawin

    if you ever decide to produce and sell these, put on the list – they’re great!

  • Tyler

    Cute, but unwashable in dishwasher.

  • liz

    beeeeeeeeeeeeee-utiful! very impressed!

  • nick

    i too would buy these if you decide to sell…….. i could see ikea using these in their product line.

  • Prentiss Riddle

    I don't understand: for most of these functions you could just as easily use the can without a lid, and for the specialized ones that require sealing you're likely to be defeated by different can sizes. For the soap dispenser, why not just clean and reuse an existing soap dispenser you've probably got in your waste stream already?

    These are pretty, but I'm increasingly annoyed by the manufacture of new stuff in the name of helping us manage the old stuff we've already got. Most reduce/reuse/recycle functions at the household level don't require manufacturing anything.

  • Anonymous

    VERY similar to this which has had a lot of publicity. I wonder which came first?


  • toodles

    with the amount of sugar you could fit in that sugar dispenser there is no doubt in my mind that that lid is coming straight of when you tilt it.


  • crumpet

    call me stupid or shortsighted but if i’m going into a store to buy a tea and coffee container or container for that matter. odds are that i will want to buy the whole thing.

  • Marissa

    Just because its not an “original idea,” those are jars and these are cans, something everyone has at home and do throw away all the time. It’s a great idea!

  • donny

    at first glance a wonderful idea, but deeper analysis reveals it to be a strange concept, Prentiss Riddle (above) pretty much sums it all up, if a brief was set in university to take a can and turn it into something of use, it would have been much better/and more apt in these times of eco awareness, to just use a marker pen to label each can – toothbrush holder – tea – coffee, no r+d needed, no manufacturing, just a simplistic answer, admittedly the contrast of the white and steel is aesthetically more pleasing and to adorn a modernistic bathroom would obviously look more appealing, but nevertheless, completely pointless!

  • Jill

    I think it’s a great idea – very clean lines, looks great, and if the tin gets damaged, just recycle and use another one! Of course, a lid on a bent time could look good too :)

    I love the jar idea too, have not enountered that before, but a wonderful idea.

    I would like to know how long the lids are designed to last.
    I also like that these lids come in a set – very comprehensive!

    Can you get them separately too?

  • Jill

    oops, i meant “bent tin” not time…

  • kw

    In terms of practicality, I’d like to remind everyone that these types of cans get rusty pretty easily. Why would you want to store toothbrushes, cooking oil, or any other wet items in it?

  • chris

    Like the desk tidy design as this definately looks like it would work OK. However I agree that these cans rust very in normal environments, so wouldn’t last long with water.

    Also, I wouldn’t fancy putting my hand/fingers through the hole to get a tea bag…they can have sharp edges around the can opening.

  • Kate McNally

    LOVE the idea. So where can I buy a set??

  • team boo

    the best use i can think of for these would be for kids craft supplies (which the comparable glass jars would not be good for) and i would like the spout top for laundry liquid use (bleach, peroxide, vinegar).

  • Mark S.

    Does anyone know how to get in touch with the manufacturer of these lids. We would like to purchase a quantity? All the websites lead back to here but no one tells us how to buy the lids.


  • Chris

    Mark, they’re for an exhibition. I’m going to assume they’re not for sale.

  • MJW

    But after I’ve turned 6 cans into usable household articles… What do I do with the other cans? They still will be coming. And the cup I use to store my tooth brush, or the soap dispenser I already have… Should I throw them away? Good intention, but such ideas just won’t do it. Ever.

  • For some more information check out jackbresnahan.co.uk

    The lids are on their way and will be available soon

  • I love the cans – where can I get them from…

  • anonymous

    soap dispenser? what to do about dispensing from a rusting can?

    i also wonder about manufacturing plastic lids for some of these things that really could make do without.

  • I think those lids are a brilliant idea. I am surprised they are biodegradable though and not recycled because biodegradable plastic is usually not that stable in contact with aqueous products, particularly if it is made from corn starch additives. Food of course contains plenty of water and I would like to see the long-term effects of exposure.

  • Carole

    I think the lids are brilliant too! So you can’t reuse every single can that comes into the kitchen, but that’s what the recycling bin is for.

  • Billy

    Where did you get those lids?

  • Ella Belle

    So, how can people buy these lids? They are a great idea as I save all my cans to use as containers in my home.