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August 2011 - Earning cash from cans

Anyone can earn some extra cash for themselves by collecting used cans for Collect-a-Can. Not only will this benefit your pocket but you’ll be benefitting the environment too as most metal cans are 100% recyclable. Collect-a-Can is in the business of recovering used cans and processing them for recycling. They will pay cash for food, beverage, oil, paint and aerosol cans. “Most people are not aware that some used cans are more valuable than others or that Collect-a-Can will pay varying rates for the different types of cans if they are sorted correctly,” explains Gregory Masoka, Operations Manager of Collect-a-Can. “The rate paid varies according to the fluctuating metal prices. Your nearest Collect-a-Can branch will be able to provide you with the current purchase price,” Masoka continues.

How to earn cash for cans
Begin by collecting as many used cans as possible and make sure that they are empty.  Sort your cans according to value into the following three categories:  (i) Aluminium beverage cans, which are the most valuable. These are normally energy drink and imported beer cans. (ii) Steel beverage cans which are the next most valuable and (iii) aerosol, food, oil and paint cans. Mixed cans will also be accepted but you will receive a lower rate for them. Large collection bags are available on loan from Collect-a-Can depots in which you can store your cans.

Once you have stockpiled a large amount of cans, bring them into your nearest Collect-a-Can branch where they will be weighed, inspected and graded. You will then be paid cash for your cans. Collect-a-Can will also collect your cans from you if you fall within one of their collection areas but cans that are collected earn a lower rate.

With the welcome weight of some cash in your pocket you are bound to feel motivated to start collecting cans all over again.  You can even ask your local restaurants, bars and sports stadiums to give you their used cans to boost the amount of cans you can collect.

What happens to cans once they reach Collect-a-Can?
Collect-a-Can does not recycle steel itself. All cans recovered are either compressed into bales and sold on the open market to steel mills to produce new prime steel or turned into briquettes which are sold to the mining industry.

Whilst Collect-a-Can's most visible activity is the recovery of used metal cans, its other fields of operation include the recovery of tin scrap used in the manufacturing process of cans, as well as the processing of tin sludge. Tin-bearing scrap recovered from can manufacturers and can fillers undergoes a detinning process at Collect-a-Can's de-tinning plant in Vanderbijlpark where high-grade tin is stripped from the steel for re-melting. Good quality steel and tin are both valuable commodities.

Recycling cans has a commercial benefit, as less money is spent manufacturing virgin steel, as well as an environmental benefit as there is less can litter left lying around and used cans are prevented from entering the waste stream where they take up unnecessary landfill space. 

If not recycled, cans may take years to decompose depending on the environment. It can take 50 to 80 years for a steel can to decompose but in particularly corrosive environments, such as on the salty sea shore in a tropical country, it can take just a few months. It can take an aluminum can 200 to 500 years to decompose.

More information on Collect-a-Can contact the Collect-a-Can head office on 011 466 2939. Collect-a-Can is also on Facebook and Twitter.

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