Where Can I Take My Aluminum Cans for Cash?

Collecting cans and trading them in for cash has been one of the most common ways of making money as a kid especially in the summer. This is mainly because it gets so hot therefore the consumption of cold canned drinks is at an all-time high. Additionally, there are a lot of parties and gatherings that happen during summer hence you are likely to find a lot of soft drinks and beer aluminum cans in trash cans.

For more details on how you can actually make money from collecting cans, you can visit our other page – How many aluminum cans does it take to make $100?

This activity is however not limited to kids; anyone seeking to make some money on the side can do this. With only garbage bags, protective gloves, and a good source for collecting the cans, you are well set to start this side hustle. 

person sitting facing table with Coca-cola can
Where Can I Take My Aluminum Cans for Cash

Where to Take Your Aluminum Cans for Cash

Bottle Deposits

Certain states have a bill known as the ‘Bottle Bill’ or rather the ‘Container Deposit Fee’. This is the amount to be paid by a consumer upon purchasing a recyclable beverage container and can range anywhere from $0.05 to $0.15. This depends on several factors such as;

  • Type of beverage
  • The material of the container
  • Quantity, that is, the volume of the container 

This bill was set to encourage the reuse and recycle of beverage bottles. This works by giving the deposit refund to any consumer who takes back the bottle to the retailer or the redemption center. 

Sell online

Sounds ridiculous but it is a thing.

Platforms such as eBay and Etsy are full of people who like to buy collectibles and that could include aluminum cans provided they are in good condition and are unique. 

Another batch of people who buy aluminum cans on these sites are those who use these cans to DIY items from the cans to resell such as ornaments, décor, candle holders, etc. 

Scrap Yards & Recycling Centers

A scrap yard is the most common place among people to sell their collected aluminum cans. At scrap yards, the buyers usually buy these cans by the pound therefore how much you make depends on how many cans you collect.

How Much Can You Make Selling Aluminum Cans?

First of all, you need to know that unlike other metals such as copper and brass, aluminum does not cash in a lot. This is mainly because it is lightweight and has a smaller price tag. Regardless, you can be able to cash in as a substantial amount of money if you can collect enough cans. Usually, most people who buy recycled aluminum cans buy them by the pound. 

To be able to make it to one pound, you need approximately 30 cans. With a pound of aluminum cans going for about $0.40, it means that you need to collect over 300 cans to be able to make $5. Not much. 

This side hustle has a lot of earning potential. One can easily make up to $500 or more trading in aluminum cans but you need to have a foolproof strategy for doing so. 

Where to Collect

Trash Cans: these can either be trash cans found on the streets, at convenient stores, at gas stations, in offices, etc. Even though you might not find a lot of cans this way, it does not hurt to dig into those trash cans. 

Local Parks: parks are a great place for people to hang out usually with food and drinks. You are therefore likely to be able to collect several empty cans of soft and alcoholic drinks usually left on the grass or in trash cans. 

Stadiums: especially after a major sports event. If you have access to a stadium, you will often find that you can collect tons of aluminum cans left behind by the hundreds of people who had attended. 

Concerts and Festivals: similar to sporting events, concerts and festivals are usually attended by large numbers of people. You are therefore likely to find a lot of aluminum cans that you can collect for a trade-in. 

At home: it could be your home or at a neighbor’s home. You could ask your neighbors to set aside their empty aluminum cans for you to go collect every once or twice a week. A household consumption might not be significant enough unless the household has a party or a get-together. 

Once you have enough aluminum cans then you can go and trade them in for some cash.

Tips for Recycling Aluminum Cans

Accumulate the Cans: before taking them to the scrapyard, it is more worthwhile if you take your time to collect as many cans as you can. The more the cans the more the weight and the better the money. Therefore, get large plastic bags and keep them in your garage. You will then be filling them up each day with your new collection. 

Clean and Crush: some scrap yards usually pay less for dirty aluminum cans, therefore, you need to ensure that you empty all liquids from them as you collect. As for crushing them, this goes to ensure that you have room for all the cans you collect. 

Weight: most scrap yard dealers buy aluminum cans by the pound. It is good to know how much the weight of your cans beforehand to help you approximate how much money you are likely to get. This can be done by weighing the cans or you can approximate by knowing the number of cans you have. One pound is approximately 30 cans. 

Research on prices: different buyers have different prices. Since the whole point of collecting aluminum cans is to make money, you should do your research to find out the best buyer in your area. This will make a huge difference in the long run. 

Bottom Line

Recycling aluminum cans is not only good for the environment but also a viable way of making a few extra bucks on the side. 

We however do understand that walking around with garbage bags to collect empty cans laying along the streets and sometimes having to dig into trash is not for everyone. But if you need to make a quick easy $100 within a week, then this is a good enough opportunity.