GRN Recycle Talk FAQ

From: Stephen Carfora (
Date: Sun Feb 02 1997 - 04:18:00 EST

Date: Sun, 2 Feb 97 09:18 WET
From: (Stephen Carfora)
Subject: Re:  aluminum pop tops and small metal caps (Will Read)


In response to your two-part query, I offer this response.

The story (or rumor) about aluminum can pop tops or pull tabs having some special extra worth has been around for quite some time - probably the most infamous of the stories is that
aluminum can pull tabs can be recycled in exchange for time on a kidney dialysis machine for someone
with kidney disease. Everything I have read says that the pull tabs have no extra worth or special significance in comparison with the rest of the aluminum beverage
can. It has been described as one of the classic urban legends , and the National Kidney Foundation and Reynolds Aluminum Co. periodically try to get the word out that
it is in fact a myth. As a matter of fact, there is even an Urban Legends web site which has a brief segment about the
pull tab legend. It s at:

The Reynolds Aluminum Co. web site also has some information aobut this issue, but I don t have their web site handy (but it might be

Regarding you posting about metal caps, and why many recycling dropoff off centers and curbside recycling programs
list metal caps as an unacceptable item in the recycling mix ... I m still researching this one. But I suspect that one big reason is that the
recycling firms figure that if they say it s okay to put metal caps in, then people will deposit all sorts of caps including the very prevalent plastic ones.
Therefore, they might figure that it s a good trade off to lose that extra bit of metal that comes in the form of metal caps in exchange for possibly reducing
the introduction of contaminants in the form of plastic caps. That s just my theory. I plan to call a local MRF and curbside recycling firm to get their
spin on it. I work for a local government recycling office in northern Virginia.

Steve Carfora

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