The Million Cans Recycling Contest
What is the Million Cans Recycling Contest?
A fun contest to see which elementary school from 8 states can recycle the most
aluminum beverage cans from September 2023 to May 2024. The goal is to inspire
students at these elementary schools to collect at least one million cans during the
contest that will then be sold to a metal scrap yard for recycling with the revenue
benefitting the schools.
When will the contest take place?
October 2023 to May 2024
Courtesy of the Can Manufacturers Institute, which represents U.S. metal can manufacturers
and their suppliers, every participating student in 2nd or 3rd grade will receive a
complimentary copy of the book, “The Girl Who Recycled 1 Million Cans.” This special gift
aims to educate and inspire students about the significance of recycling cans, further
motivating them to actively search for cans to recycle. Plus up to $10,000 in cash and prizes will be given out to the schools during the contest.
2nd or 3rd graders at each participating elementary school in seven states will go
head-to-head to recycle the most used aluminum beverage cans!
Elementary schools in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and
Texas. They are located near the facilities of aluminum beverage can manufacturers and their
What will students learn?
Participants will not only learn about the significant environmental and economic impact of
recycling aluminum beverage cans, but also about teamwork, communication, sharing, and
giving back to their school and helping our planet.
Why are schools participating in this contest?
1) Environmental Awareness: The contest raises awareness about the importance of
recycling and encourages students to actively participate in sustainable practices. It instills a
sense of environmental responsibility and fosters a culture of conservation.
2) Hands-On Learning: Engaging in the contest provides students with a practical, hands-on
learning experience. They gain knowledge about waste management, recycling processes,
and the significance of reducing, reusing, and recycling materials.
3) Teamwork and Collaboration: The contest encourages teamwork and collaboration among
students as they work together to collect and recycle aluminum cans. It promotes
cooperation, communication, and a sense of unity among participants.
4) Financial Benefits: Schools will earn financial rewards through the contest, including the
payout for the recycled cans and monetary prizes each school has the chance to win. These
funds can be utilized for various educational purposes, benefiting the school and its
5) Community Engagement: The can recycling contest can extend beyond the school walls,
involving the local community. It serves as an opportunity to engage parents, neighbors, and
other community members in supporting the school’s recycling efforts. This promotes a
sense of shared responsibility and strengthens community bond
How are schools making money by collecting used beverage cans?
Your school can earn money in the Million Cans Recycling contest in two ways:
1) The metal scrap yard nearby the school that is a partner on the effort and pays the
school by the pound. Each pound is about 34 cans and while the market value of
aluminum beverage cans fluctuates, it’s typically about 65 cents a pound. So the
more you collect, the more funds your school will receive. The partner local scrap
yard will provide a bin for collecting aluminum beverage cans and collect and weigh it
once it’s full.
2) Winning the extra contests to earn additional prize money for your school. These
prizes include the coolest designed aluminum beverage can collection bin and most
aluminum beverage cans collected per participating elementary school student at the
school during certain periods of time.
In May, your school will receive a check based on the total pounds of recycled cans.
School Recycling Ambassadors:
Every student at the school has an opportunity to earn the title of Recycling Ambassador. For
example – every student who collects 500 cans becomes a “Recycling Envoy” and earns a
reusable metal water bottle. Further, students who collect 1,000 cans earn the title of
“Ambassador of Aluminum” and get a t-shirt.
How can my school join?
Email [email protected] or call Jess Alexanderson from Scrap University kids at
(425) 440-1701 to enroll your school.
Let’s teach kids the value of never throwing a can in the trash. Instead, encourage them to save and recycle cans at your local scrap yard. Recycling is like magic, and together, we can make a significant impact while earning some extra cash for your school. Join us on this recycling adventure today! Can we work together to recycle 1 Million cans?