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Aluminum Fuels Charity Efforts

Municipal Recycling, Nonferrous

A North Carolina program recycles aluminum cans for charity dollars.

April 25, 2002
Calvin R. Ditrick is a big fan of aluminum packaging. It’s not necessarily because beverages taste better in cans than they do in bottles. But Ditrick volunteers on behalf of aluminum can recycling efforts for several non-profit groups in North Carolina, and he’s still waiting for the day when recycling glass or plastic containers will yield similar returns.

The “No-Friller” Recycling Program is a non-profit charity that sets up aluminum can recycling collection bins that are managed by not-for-profit groups who become “caretakers” of the bins and their contents. Groups maintaining the bins get to keep 50 percent of the scrap value, while the other 50 percent goes to three charities—the local Heifer Project, Habitat for Humanity and Elderhostel chapters—linked to the “No-Friller” program.

Several not-for-profit groups have chosen to link up with the program, including the Humane Society of Scotland County, N.C., the Scotia Village Retirement Community in Laurinburg, N.C., the Parks & Recreation Commission of Scotland County, and the Habitat Home Owners of Scotland County.

Groups affiliated with St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg—such as the Student Government Association, the Student-Led Eco Action Club and the Christian Fellowship—have also become involved with the program. “They have strong faculty support and a desire to raise more funds by recycling more aluminum cans and other items,” says Ditrick.

It is the “other items” part that has Ditrick wondering. For now, the bins will be for aluminum cans only, as they are the only household recyclable that fetches enough of a scrap value.

Ditrick is hopeful that someday the program can be expanded to other materials. “Can charities earn funds by recycling plastic or glass bottles, or plastic grocery sacks?” he asks.

With prices the way they currently are, Ditrick is one of the aluminum industry’s biggest fans, rooting for the industry to capture more packaging market share.

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