How to Make Money Recycling Aluminum Cans and Selling Aluminum Cans in Tennessee

Unemployment is still high in Tennessee and jobs can be hard to find. If you are unemployed in Tennessee or just looking for ways to boost your income, here are some tips that will help you sell soda cans and recycle aluminum cans in Tennessee for cash. Not only can you make a little money recycling your beverage cans, but recycling is good for the environment!

Difficulty: Moderate


Things You'll Need:
Aluminum cans
Storage containers
Plastic storage bins
Plastic bags
Cardboard boxes
Recycling plant

Gather Your Aluminum Cans
Collect Your Aluminum Cans - Gather your cans from work, home, friends or other locations.

Crush Your Aluminum Cans
Crush Your Aluminum Cans - Crush your cans to save space. I smash mine by stepping on each can three times: once in the middle, and once on each end. Cans are easier to store and transport when they are flat.

Store Your Aluminum Cans
Store Your Aluminum Cans - Save your cans until you have a large enough load to make a trip worthwhile. I recommend plastic storage bins as they are easy to clean and often have handles for ease of use. To reduce the threat of ants and other pests, consider rinsing the cans out first if you will be storing them in your house. The going rate for aluminum cans is around 31¢ per pound which is not worth the gas unless you get several pounds of aluminum cans saved up. Seventeen pounds of cans - about 10 medium-sized shopping bags full - will net you about $5.27.
Plan Your Recycling Trips - Combine your recycling trip with another trip to the same part of town to make it more cost effective. That way the money you earn for your cans won't cost you much extra gas or time.
Take Your Aluminum Cans to a Recycling Facility that Pays for Aluminum Cans - I used PSC metals in Tennessee, listed in the Resources below, because I couldn't find another recycling company that paid for cans in my area. Many recycling plants accept other metal besides aluminum, but many do not accept tin cans. Call first to find out what kinds of metals your facility accepts.
Unload Your Aluminum Cans - When you drive in to unload your cans, unload your cans into the large rolling bins or shopping carts, making sure the cans are all aluminum - no tin - and that they are removed from any bags or boxes.
Weigh Your Aluminum Cans - Roll your cart to the scales and have them weighed.
Pick Up the Receipt for Your Aluminum Cans - Most facilities issue a receipt, not cash, when your cans are weighed which you take to an ATM or the office to be paid. In Nashville, the ATM machine is across the street from the scales at the facility I used.
Cash Out the Receipt for Your Aluminum Cans - Take the receipt you are given to the ATM or office located on site which will read the barcode and issue your cash payment. 17 pounds of crushed, loose cans just about fills up a shopping cart and will only net you $5.27, but that's $5 you didn't have before!
Call Your Local Recycling Plant for More Information - Call the recycling plant before your trip if you have any questions.

Tips & Warnings:-

Your city websites, utility bill inserts, and can be helpful for finding local recycling information. may list people looking for aluminum cans in your area
Nashville also has several small recycling bins called "goats" located a few places around town where you can drop off aluminum cans for cash.
If you know of other places to sell aluminum cans, tin cans, plastic, glass or other similar disposable products, please leave a comment.
The residue from sodas and the smells can attract pests. Have a good storage system set up.
Don't try to cheat the system. I am sure operators have a good idea how much a shopping cart or bin full of aluminum can weighs.
© 2009 by Kathryn E. Darden, all rights reserved.


PSC Metals
Unemployment Resources in Tennessee
How to Sell Aluminum Cans & Get Paid to Recycle Drink Cans
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Tennessee
Find Low-Cost or Free Health Coverage in Tennessee
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