The cans and lids provide protection before use and more importantly after they are shot. The value of the film and magazine are much higher after shooting than before. The cans and lids protect the valuable contents against light leak, moisture, dirt in the velvet, and physical damage. If your images are valuable put the mag back in the can/lid after shooting. If you don't care just toss it on the floor of your car.
Film can and lid plastic is recycled by labs.
Here is a little film can story. David Burnnet from Contact Press was accompanied by my boss on David's shoot in the Tokyo Fish Market on a cold day. David was reloading. He tried to pop off the lid with his thumb but it wouldn't go. He threw the can containing unexposed film in the fish muck and pulled out another. My boss asked him why he tossed a perfectly good roll of film. He said that he didn't have time to mess with a "bad" film can.
I was assigned to understand why the top was difficult to open and fix the problem. We changed the lid design and the plastic blend so the protection was still good and they could be openned in the cold. A small but important change. It was also expensive since new molds were required. For better protection Kodak Professional films had black cans.
To see how film is made: www. makingKODAKfilm.com
Why do 35mm films come in nice plastic canister??
That's an interesting fact about the translucent containers. I mean it's not that hard to make a label to put on the side of the canister, they already had a label on the top. That would have been just as easy to identify or maybe even easier too if labeled with large bright lettering. Though they would be less helpful if you are reusing them with a different film.
Besides protecting the film from dust and moisture, the plastic container should protect it from light as well. When the lead is entirely retracted inside the canister there is a higher probability that some light can leak inside the canister. My first photography book, which I bought in 1980, criticized the Japanese translucent plastic container as basically not very rational.
Originally Posted by mfohl
Besides, if you don't retract the leader inside the canister - as some do - the translucent canister is no help in understanding which film is used and which is not.
My recolections of Film Containers.
When I started using film back in the 1960 era, the Kodak B&W film came in a foil pack with a cardboard sleve, as did the (original) Adox. Colour film came in aluminum cans. Kodak has made several variations on film cans.
The oldest ones were screw caped, and the film type was colour coded by the colour of the cap and the body of the can. but by the time I started the cans were unpainted and the Caps were Yellow. The next version was a stright sided Aluminum can with a Black Plastic cap. The cap had a Kodak Logo, and they logo came in a oval shaped spot that actually varied depending on the country of origin. (same code was apperently used for Super 8 Catriges)
The metal cans were fairly tight and sometimes could not accept an Ilford or Agfa Film. the p[acltic cans came next and were Grey with Black tops. still with the Kodak Logio indicating the origin. Then they had the "big K" logo. The colour scheme was reversed with a Black can and Grey top. (I do have a couple of Yellow cans from a promotion)
I think the translucent cans came at about the time that air travel was getting pasenger inspection. They allow the inspector to see that it has film and not something else. The Current cans have a real pattern on lower side of the lip, which makes them not seal as well, but is proably the modification mentioned above to make them easy to open.
I had an occasion where I was given a "naked" roll of film in the grey Kodak can, and was surprised that it was not fogged.
*the Cassettes themselves*
It is worth noting that in the 1960 era, Kodak also invented the "staked" cassette. where the end caps are crimped in place. before then the caps were only held on with the springiness of the meatl and a dropped roll of film was likley to have an end cap come off. The crimping prevents this. (I have also heard it sugested that this prevents someone from collecting old cassettes - relaoding them and passing the film off as new)
It took several years before Kodak Limited addoped the Crimp on caps.
Ansco, and ferania also had the snap off ends. Agfa and Ilford used a convex cap which was slightly harder to remove.
Perhaps funnier was the first roll of Fuji Neopan SS I ever bought. it came ina dark green can with a plastic top, but the top was pressed on the bottom of the can.. The whole assembly was then sealed in foil. once you used the film, the cap could be sliped off the bottom or the can and put on the top to protect the film from dust and such. The cap was lighter green and said Fuji FIlm. Fuji, Konica film also came with a snap off (reusable) cassette.
The older Plactic cans were resonably air tight.
*The winner* is proably Ilford. I don't know if the cans used for FP4 are light tight with the grey cap. I suspect the ones with the Black cap are. I do miss the Yellow blue and green caps that Ilford formerly used, but they were definatly not light tight.
I still live just beyond the fringe in Stittsville