How Much Are Aluminum Cans Worth?
When I was a kid, I would earn a windfall of cash by bringing to a scrap yard the aluminum cans I had gathered digging through garbage cans at the local baseball field. It was an event I looked forward to all year and would use the cash to buy a new video game. Today, most people throw their household’s empty cans into recycling containers and let the refuse company deal with it. Could this be a lost source of valuable cash that we’re all just giving away? How much are aluminum cans worth?
I did some analysis to figure out just how much a person might make by selling aluminum cans to a scrap yard as opposed to just recycling them through their usual garbage and recycling pickup service.
How Much Aluminum Will You Collect?
The answer to this question is going to vary family to family. For the purpose of this example, let’s use a family of 4 that consumes one beverage each per day from an aluminum can for a total of 28 cans per week or 1456 cans in one year.
How Much is Aluminum Worth?
The amount scrap yards buy cans will vary on the market cost of aluminum. Normally, scrap yards will pay roughly half of the market cost of aluminum per pound. A nearby scrap yard lists their aluminum can buyback rate as varying between $0.07 and $0.30 per pound. For the purpose of this example, let’s use the high end of the range; $0.30 per pound.
How Many Cans Equal A Pound?
Aluminum cans are lighter today than they were in the past. At today’s weight, it takes 31 cans to equal one pound.
1456 cans from a family of 4 consuming one beverage from an aluminum can per year, at 31 cans per pound yields (rounding up) 47 pounds of aluminum. If we got $0.30 per pound at the scrapyard, our year’s worth of cans would give us a payday of $14.10.
Not Just Cans
Scrap yards buy aluminum. While cans are a very common form of the disposable metal, they aren’t the only one. If you find other things, such as used aluminum foil or disposable pans, toss them in with your cans to increase the weight of the scrap metal, and thus the amount of money you’ll get.
Don’t Cheat the System
Some people will try to increase the weight of their aluminum by burying other objects. The scrap yard usually runs the aluminum through a conveyer with a magnet on the end. Aluminum won’t stick to the magnet, but other objects will. If you try to cheat the system, you will get caught.
The time and effort needed to separate a family’s cans, store them, and take them into a scrap yard seems hardly worth $14.10. This might be a good exercise for a young child for a lesson in responsibility and work ethic, but hardly worth the time for an adult. There are certainly better ways to earn a little extra cash.
How about you, Clever Friends, have you brought aluminum cans to a scrap yard for money?
Check out additional articles on Clever Dude:
- Can K-Cups Be Used More Than Once?
- 3 Reasons You Should Start Using Recycled Auto Parts
- Save Money By Taking Out Your Own Trash