Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Aluminium cans

The thought of aluminium cans being a good way for community groups to raise funds I'm sure enters the mind of many people including myself. I decided to investigate and share what I find in case it helps others.

The average aluminium can weighs 14.7 grams (based on 2005 figures)
It thus takes 68 cans to make a kilogram.
I called a scrap merchant and they will pay 80 cents per kilogram.
Each can is thus worth around 1.18 cents.

A few months ago I decided to start collecting cans rather than throwing them into the recycle bin. I've collected 158, or nearly $2 worth. Over a year I'd probably end up collecting about $10 worth of cans.

I can't help but feel that with 300 houses around me. If everyone collected $10 worth of cans a year, then collectively we could donate around $3,000 a year to local groups. A school for example could start a collect-a-can project. Our local primary school has around 300 students and our local secondary college has over 1200 students. If the families chipped in their cans say quarterly, there would be a nice bonus for the school. The same applies to community groups.

I also asked about collection, as it really isn't worth the time for everyone to drive kilometres and back to drop off cans. We agreed a good size to make it worthwhile would be around 100kg, although smaller amounts would be OK too. But really, to me, we should minimise travel and thus the cost on our environment.

To save room cans should be crushed. I recently saw a can crusher for sale, but given the money you get for each can, it'd probably be best just to donate the money. I stand on my cans wearing sturdy footwear. It could be easy to twist your ankle if you slip so be careful. I've also seen another person crush their cans using a very heavy industrial hammer.

I hope the above information helps others.

- Kelvin Eldridge

PS. I found this neat trick with a can I thought I'd share. If you leave around 20% of the contents of the can in the bottom of the can, you can balance the can on the bottom rim so it sits at about a 45 degree angle. It's a great looking effect.

PPS. Thanks to Boomerang Scrap Metal Pty Ltd for their time answering questions.

Tags: aluminium cans, aluminium can, recycling cans, aluminum cans


  1. S.A./N.T 10c PER beverage container

    1. Thanks for the info. I wonder what the recycle rate is in SA and NT states compared to the other states and territories where there is no deposit. Whilst it may be an incentive to return and collect the deposit, often people don't recycle so where does the deposit go? That could be millions of extra dollars raised as profit or taxes depending on who gets the unclaimed money.

      I remember claiming prizes and deposits when I was younger and it was rarely a pleasant experience. Perhaps things have changed. The recycling centre so far has been a much better experience.

      There was a skit on Seinfeld once where Kramer and George decided to truck containers interstate. Quite amusing.



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