June 23, 2010
by Canadian Packaging Staff
One Spokane, WA couple is unsure whether a diamond engagement ring or a pile of aluminum cans sparkles more.
With their wedding just over a month away, Peter Geyer and Andrea Parrish are about to say ‘I do’ thanks to the power of recycling, as the couple has collected 400,000 aluminum cans in order to pay for their wedding day.
The cans–worth an estimated US$3,800–were donated to the happy couple from people all around the U.S., the United Recycling Services (URS) and Alcoa Inc., the world’s largest producer of primary aluminum.
“We are happy to help Peter and Andrea reach their goal,” says Paul Gauron of URS. “Recycling cans is a great marriage of protecting the environment and earning some cash.”
Like most couples, when Geyer and Parrish began planning their wedding, money was the main issue, but rather than go into debt, they decided to look after themselves while looking after the environment and started a campaign to recycle aluminum cans to pay for the ceremony. Once Alcoa heard about the plan, it donated 150,000 cans.
"Alcoa’s contribution put us past the halfway mark at the time, and we were just blown away," explains Parrish. "Since then, people around the world have lent a hand and we’ve met our goal sooner than we had expected. We are so excited about our wedding in July!"
The couple says they will continue to their efforts to collect cans to help pay for their honeymoon, and will donate 60 per cent of what they receive to the charities of Doctors Without Borders and Rim Country Land Institute.
And, once the honeymoon is over, the recycling honeymoon will continue as couple will continue to advise folks on how they can start their own fund-raising efforts through recycling aluminum cans.
"This has been a great story on how recycling aluminum cans not only protects the environment, but can be a financial incentive for anyone trying to raise some additional funds – whether you’re a Boy Scout troop, an athletic organization or you’ve just gotten engaged," offers Greg Wittbecker, Alcoa’s director of recycling. "Alcoa will continue to spread the word on the benefits of recycling."
According to Alcoa, aluminum cans are infinitely recyclable and it takes 95 per cent less energy to recycle cans than to make them from new aluminum. The beverage containers can be used, recycled and back on store shelves in as little as 60 days. In fact, nearly 75 per cent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in use today because of the material’s infinite recyclability.