Great American Can RoundUp Awards Cash for Recycling

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The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) has launched a contest similar calling on groups to register and collect cans starting and going through Earth Day 2011.

Aluminum can recycling increased 4 percent in 2009, boosting it to a recycling rate of 57.4 percent. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

Similar in style to Recyclemania, the Great American Can RoundUp winners from each state will receive $1,000, and the grand prize winning group will earn $5,000.

The program is marketed toward nonprofit groups as a fundraiser, such as churches and schools. The contest will also be weighted on a per-capita basis, meaning the final total will be an average collection per person. There is no minimum or maximum number of participants per group.

This contest follows a similar campaign that was launched by the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) in September that runs through Nov. 15, challenging aluminum recycling plants to collect the most cans and raise money for local charities in the process.

The can competition serves as a fundraiser as it only requires groups to turn in receipts for recycled cans and not the cans themselves. Most scrap metal recyclers will pay for aluminum cans, and in states with bottle deposit laws each can is redeemable for at least a 5-cent refund.

“Last year, Americans recycled 55.5 billion aluminum cans and collected close to $1 billion,” said Robert Budway, president of CMI. “By launching the Great American Can RoundUp, we’re encouraging all Americans to get cash for cans […] Participants can use their recycling earnings to better their schools, organizations, groups and communities.”

This year’s campaign also coincides with the 75th anniversary of the aluminum beverage can, although cans have been used for food products for 200 years.

CMI also reported this month that aluminum can recycling increased 4 percent in 2009, and now has a recycling rate of 57.4 percent. This also coincided with a 1.7 percent decrease in the number of cans shipped, and a decrease in the weight of cans that means more cans need to be recycled to produce the same volume of recycling.

While aluminum can recycling provides a good year-round fundraising opportunity, it’s important to note the impact of including cans in your curbside recycling program. These cans are the most valuable material collected at the curb, generating almost 70 percent of the total scrap value and can help cover the costs of collecting other materials that isn’t as valuable of a commodity.

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Trey Granger

Trey Granger

Trey Granger is a former senior waste stream analyst for Earth911.
Trey Granger

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