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June 2014: South Africans are jumping at the chance to recycle new can packaging

An increase in recycled aluminium cans is expected after South Africa’s beverage packaging industry started the conversion from steel to aluminium cans in 2013.

The value of used aluminium cans is much higher than that of tin-plated steel cans, therefore aluminium recovery and recycling is a more economically viable option for informal can collectors to earn a living or supplement a low income.

Barry Warren, Pretoria branch manager of Southern African can recovery company, Collect-a-Can, is convinced that aluminium can recycling is still an unexplored opportunity as most collectors have not yet realised the value of aluminium and the value of separating aluminium beverage cans, steel beverage cans and other cans, including aerosol, food, oil and paint cans.

Barry believes that collectors are still going through a learning curve. “Unfortunately, a few collectors are losing the opportunity of earning an additional income, because they are not sorting their cans,” says Barry.

“South Africa is still in the early stage of recognising the value of recycling cans as a means of earning an income, yet we are already experiencing a monthly growth in aluminium can recovery at the Pretoria branch, as the public and other income interested groups become aware of the role aluminium cans can play in helping generate that additional income,” says Barry.

“As the roll-out of aluminium can manufacturing in Southern Africa is a costly venture, it will take time for the can fillers to introduce the aluminium cans into all the regions,” mentions Barry. However, he is still excited about the conversions’ influence on the recycling industry.

Barry believes that there will be an increase in the can recovery rate as soon as aluminium cans have been introduced to all corners of Southern Africa. “Collect-a-Can has already done extraordinary work to promote beverage can recycling, which has led to the recovery rate improving from 18% to 72%, since Collect-a-Can’s inception in 1993,” says Barry.

Collect-a-Can encourages all potential and current collectors to attend its various educational forums to learn more about the value that aluminium brings to the recycling sphere. The public can also look forward to some other exciting Collect-a-Can campaigns such as a major campaign for Clean-up South Africa Month and Recycling Day in September 2014.

Barry would like to challenge all South Africans to sort their cans before delivering it to the closest Collect-a-Can branch. “We at Collect-a-Can encourage you to sort your cans to earn more for your recycling efforts,” says Barry.

For more information about Collect-a-Can contact the Collect-a-Can head office on 011 466 2939 or visit the website Collect-a-Can is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (

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