Aluminum Cans as an Investment


Aluminum cans are an investment. No, really! In some states one can take back aluminum cans for their redemption value, typically $.10 or $.05. In states where there is no redemption for cans, it makes sense to take back aluminum cans to a scrapyard. Scrapyards will give you some percentage of what the cans are worth according to the spot price of aluminum at the time. Note, that scrapyards will often accept a variety of metals in exchange for cash, but that is an article for another time.

As of this article, the spot price of aluminum is $.7072/lb. We get the following table:

Can size Metal value of a can # cans needed for $1
7.5oz ("small") $.0109 92
12oz ("regular soda") $.0204 49
16oz ("energy drink") $.0234 43
24oz ("Arizona") $.0390 26

Of course, a scrapyard probably won't ever give you 100% of spot. They will (based on experience) give you something ranging from 40% to 60% of spot price (let's just say 50%). Therefore, the numbers in the table above should be adjusted to something like:

Can size Metal value of a can # cans needed for $1
7.5oz ("small") $.0055 183
12oz ("regular soda") $.0102 98
16oz ("energy drink") $.0117 86
24oz ("Arizona") $.0195 51

This idea of scrapping aluminum cans fits in nicely with the Zip to Blue Chip investing idea. This is because it is often very simple to find aluminum cans. I often find plenty of aluminum cans at the same places I often find money on the ground, for example the day after a big sporting event at the local highschool stadium. Make sure to get permission if you are able to take the cans, however, since many people and places have established recycling programs.

Consider aluminum can redemption and scrapping aluminum cans as part of your "low hanging fruit" investing strategies. True, it doesn't get much "lower" than this, but we all know small things add up over time, especially if the money from scrapping is invested, for example, in solid, dividend paying stocks.

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