Good morning, savvy savers! For this week’s Greener Living Tip post, I want to discuss a rather old, but novel way of making-aback a few dollars annually, by selling your aluminum cans to your local recycling center! Sure this may not seem like a great or vast way to make money, on average you would get back $0.02 per can, and according to the EPA, the average American family throws away 400 cans a year, that could be a savings of $20.00 annually! This may not sound like a lot of money, but think if the cans were not thrown out you would earn $20.00, which equates to six 12-packs of soda.
Also, selling-back to recycling centers can help in other ways such as:
1) Recycling can help minimize aluminum mining. As aluminum doesn’t occur naturally in the earth’s crust, it has to be extracted from its ore, bauxite, in a costly, energy-intensive process that can be detrimental to the surrounding environment.
2) Recycling can help the rainforests. Mining bauxite disrupts rain forests, results in the loss of habitat for plant and animal species, erodes the soil and severely affects the water retention capability of the soil; noting that the degradation of Jamaica’s delicate coral reefs along its south coast is as a result of alumina spilling during ship loading, over the past half-century.
3) Mining can be carcinogenic. Caustic soda is used to extract alumina from raw bauxite, can leach into waterways and cause respiratory issues, and increased instances of cancer in select communities.
4) Recycling cans can cost manufacturers 1/3 less in production cost, which is passed down to consumers.
5) Recycling aluminum requires only 5% of the energy and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions, as compared with primary production, according to the EPA; this is enough energy to run a television for three hours.
6) A recycled can, that is both easy to recycle and easy to reconstitute, cans appear on the shelf just six weeks after recycling!
So, by selling back your cans, you can save money, save on product cost, save on air and water quality in your community, and save the planet at the same time! To find out ways to buy back cans in your area, contact your local recycling center, public water works station, or your city managers office for more information! And if you have any information on aluminum recycling in your area you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about it below!