Second Annual Great American Can Roundup Launches on “America Recycles Day”

Grade-School Students Nationwide Start Competition Tommorrow to Raise Thousands for Charities

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2011 – Hundreds of local schools around the country are gearing up this month to recycle millions of beverage cans in a nationwide effort to raise tens of thousands of dollars for school activities, local charities, or other special causes.

The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), the trade association representing can makers and their suppliers, announced today the launch of its Second Annual Great American Can Roundup (GACR) School Challenge, which begins Tuesday in honor of the national observance of America Recycles Day.

The GACR School Challenge is a competition that educates grade-school students about the importance and benefits of recycling cans. Participating schools are rated on a per capita basis, meaning winners are selected based on a comparison between the pounds of cans recycled and the number of enrolled students. CMI awards $1,000 per state to the school recycling the most beverage cans per capita and an additional $5,000 to the national champion school.

“The can is America’s most recycled package. Each year, the United States recycles more than 55 billion aluminum cans,” said Robert Budway, president of CMI. “It saves untold billions of dollars in energy costs and mineral use, cuts our carbon footprint, conserves natural resources, and reduces landfill use. We hope the future leaders of tomorrow learn this great recycling lesson by participating in the Roundup and passing it on.”

The simple “call-to-action” for students participating in the GACR School Challenge each year is to hang on to that can rather than just tossing it in the trash.

Last year, a total of 108 schools from 30 states representing more than 56,000 students competed in the contest. Participating schools recycled more than 2.3 million aluminum beverage cans. The recycled cans, totaling more than 68,000 pounds, generated more than $34,000 for school activities and other uses.

Can recycling benefits the environment in ways that extend beyond just minimizing landfill waste. For example, producing a can with recycled content requires 95 percent less energy than making that same can out of raw material. This process in turn conserves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves money.

In addition to the School Challenge, CMI is hosting the Scout Council Challenge and an Intra-Industry Challenge as part of the Great American Can Roundup. New this year, the Scout Council Challenge was announced last week at the Girl Scouts USA Annual Convention celebrating the 100th anniversary of the youth group. Scout Council Challenge winners are expected to be announced in June 2012.

Launched in 2003, the GACR Intra-Industry Challenge encourages manufacturing facilities nationwide to partner with schools and local organizations to collect and recycle used beverage cans, with all proceeds going to a local charity of choice. It begins in January 2012 and runs through Oct. 1, 2012. Last year, facilities collected and recycled approximately 140 million cans, diverted more than 4 million pounds of cans out of the waste stream and back into new products, and raised more than $150,000 for charities across the country. Since the program’s inception, more than 290 million cans have been recycled.

CMI has set a goal of tripling the number of schools participating in the 2011-2012 Schools Challenge; schools interested in competing are encouraged to register at The program ends on Earth Day, April 22, 2012.

About the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI)

CMI is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. CMI members account for the annual domestic production of 130 billion food, beverage and general-line metal cans. Together, they employ approximately 32,000 workers and operate nearly 150 plants in 36 states. For more information, visit