How to Make Money Collecting Aluminum Cans

Updated November 21, 2016

Collecting aluminium cans is a great way to make money while helping out the environment at the same time. You can find aluminium cans everywhere if you know where to look, and recycling centres will pay you cash for the cans. The rates these centres pay depend on the market. While it's probably not enough to provide a full-time living, you can definitely collect enough aluminium cans to put some spare cash in your pocket on a regular basis.

Locate recycling centres that pay cash for aluminium cans. Look in your Yellow Pages under the business section for recyclers. Pick out several centres near you. Call to inquire about their pay rates for aluminium cans and their hours of operation. With online search engines, try to locate centres using keywords such as "recycling centers" and "scrap metal dealers" along with the name of your city or county.

Compare rates offered by each business to narrow it down to one or two recycling centres with great rates located near you.

Collect the aluminium cans. Start by saving all the aluminium cans you and your family use on a daily basis. Also talk to your neighbours and extended family members to see whether they will save their cans for you. Look for aluminium cans on the sides of roads and highways; near parks and schools; and in dumpsters and dustbins used by local businesses. Offer to help clean up after local events like conferences, concerts and football tailgates where there are usually a lot of aluminium cans left behind. If you live in a state that offers deposits on aluminium soda cans, this can be a great way to make money collecting a large amount of aluminium cans in a short amount of time. It is often a dirty job to collect cans, but the rewards can be worth it.

Take the cans to the recycling centre to exchange them for cash. Try to set a collection goal based on weight and make the trip only after reaching that weight. Limit yourself to one or two trips a month to save money on gas and try to get at least fifty pounds worth of cans before visiting the recycling centre or metal scrap yard.


Always wear gloves and old clothing when looking for cans in dirty places.

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