Imagine recycling enough aluminum to send your kids to college. One man did just that and has money left to spare. Now he’s buying an education for ten more kids he’s never met.
His love of recycling began 28 years ago, when Jim Schroeder and his wife saw too many cans littering the streets.
“My wife said it’s a shame people don’t do something about that, we should start a club…and I said that’s a bad idea, but we’ll try it.”
And that idea– soon turned to gold– or aluminum rather and the can collectors club would earn the Schroeder’s thousands of dollars over the next few decades. The club gained momentum and members– soon more than 100 people– mostly friends and family began to drop cans off at the Schroeder’s home each week.
“Initially we save money for our kids post high school education.”
Money earned from the cans helped put all four Schroeder children through college. And though school is complete, Jim still loads up his car each week — and now gives profits to charity.
“This past year we hit our second highest total and collected about 47,000 cans.”
For Schroeder, it’s a fun way to make a little extra cash, and the best part, it’s environmentally friendly. It takes 99% less energy to make these cans from recycled aluminum than it does from raw materials. And if you recycle them, it only takes a few weeks to put these cans back on the shelves (News story from WTVW Evansville, Ind., November 7, 2008).
Although this is an amazing story, I could never collect that many cans. But I can at least supplement my income a bit and do some good for the environment at the same time. I was able to make over $400 last year recycling can and will make a little more this year. You won’t get rich with recycling but the money I make is invested in my kids 529 College Savings fund and will grow over the years until my kids are old enough for college. Here are the steps that you should follow:
- Collect recyclable aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles from work, home, and friends. When you go for a walk or to the park, pick up any cans you find and place them in a plastic bag to take home with you.
- Segregate and store your plastic, glass, and aluminum containers until you have enough to make a trip to a recycling center cost-effective. I store my containers in the garage.
- Find a recycling center near you that pays for cans and bottles.
- Drive to the center, unload your cans and bottles, get them weighed (or counted), and get paid.
Tip: You get paid different rates depending on whether your load is segregated, commingled, by the pound, or by the count. You get paid the most by count but you can only use this method if you have 50 or fewer containers of each type. If you live close to a recycling center and don’t have that many to recycle, I recommend recycling by count because it pays more. Additional information can be found at www.bottlesandcans.com.