Have you seen businesses collecting the tabs off aluminum cans? We asked why, and what we were told was surprising, especially after our investigation. 

This was a blast from the past for us, seeing a pile of tabs from cans. Believe it or not, it's still being practiced at Legions, Elks Clubs, Golf Courses, and other various locations around Central New York.

Rumer has it that pull tabs from aluminum cans have special redemption value for time on dialysis machines, help the Ronald McDonald House or Shriners Hospitals for Children. It's also been rumored that the tabs can be used to purchase a wheelchair or a seeing eye dog.

It's all just rumors. According to Snopes.com, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) says the dialysis story has been dogging them for quite a while. According to the Snopes site: A million pull tabs have a recycle value of about $366...To put this in even clearer perspective, 100 pull tabs have a scrap metal value of about 3½ cents. That old "something for nothing" dream gets people every time.

The Bottom Line: No charitable organization will pay out a premium (in cash, goods, or services) for pull tabs from aluminum cans. Some of them will indeed accept donations of pull tabs, but all they pay (or receive) in exchange for those tabs is their marginal value as scrap aluminum. Anyone gathering pull tabs for charity would do far better to collect whole cans; accumulating nothing but pull tabs is like eschewing quarters in order to collect pennies.


Everyone justs want to help. That's not a bad thing. Now our question is where are all the tabs going? What's happening to them?

Reflections in Central New York

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