From: David Church, The Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published October 3, 2013 09:01 AM

An "Uncanny" Hobby

We all know the benefits of aluminum cans; they are light, easily moldable and can be held in a soft grip. But are they always responsibly disposed of? Can we do more to safely protect our green spaces from these metal objects? This article explores how a small scale project can help protect the local environment through recycling in the most responsible way.


We all see aluminum drink cans littered outside whilst going about our daily lives. Yet we don't all pick them up and recycle them. But why? I think the reason lies in recycling habits within a localized area. If there are no recycling points dotted about alongside waste bins then it is difficult for any environmentally conscious walker to rid themselves of their empty cans. The only solution is to keep it until they get home, but even with a carry bag it can be a messy business.

Nevertheless, it remains an important pursuit to rid our green spaces and roadsides of these metal receptacles. If not for their unsightly appearance - they really do not camouflage well in any landscape - then thought should be taken for those small insects who are drawn to the sticky, sweet drops still left inside. For example, one particularly discolored can became home to a nest of ants so I was unable to recycle it. On my travels in the UK I have also found slugs, snails and earwigs fall victim to the can trap.

These little creatures and our environment more widely needs protecting, so just over a month ago I decided to start can collecting. The rules were simple to follow; I would go about the normal course of my day, keeping a plastic carry bag (that would otherwise have been reused as a rubbish sack in my house) tucked inside my rucksack, picking up any cans I saw along my route. There has been three surprising consequences of this straightforward action; I have become more aware of the litter that people disperse in my local area, I have found that social pressures can at times be difficult to suppress, and I have seen so many cans that they sometimes fail to stay in just one bag.

Read more at:  The Ecologist

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