Arizona Town Saves All Their Cans - Habitat Home Built from the Proceeds

Jun 27, 2002, 01:00 ET from Aluminum Association

    YUMA, Ariz., June 27 /PRNewswire/ -- When a group of 80 retirees began
 meeting every Tuesday to help recycle aluminum cans, they never dreamed their
 efforts would change anyone's life. But that is just what happened. On
 Saturday, June 29, the Rodriguez family will move into their Habitat for
 Humanity home in a Yuma neighborhood because of them.
     "The aluminum can has been a source of revenue for charitable
 organizations for decades," Says Brian Sturgell, chairman of the Aluminum
 Association and president of Alcan Aluminum Corporation. "It is the most
 recyclable beverage container in the world and you can make money by recycling
 it. By tossing that empty aluminum can into a recycling bin versus the trash
 can, everyone can contribute to the efforts of groups like Habitat for
     At first glance the numbers seem daunting. The average Habitat for
 Humanity house costs approximately $45,000, in Yuma it is $50,000. In the
 United States the average return per recycled beverage can is one penny (price
 will vary). This group of volunteers in Yuma has successfully raised more than
 that amount: $50,000 from aluminum can recycling, and the Rodriguez family are
 now able to move in to their Habitat home because of them.
     That means it takes approximately 5 million beverage cans to build a house
 in Yuma. The Yuma county population is 83,000. With 380 cans per capita, there
 are 31.5 million cans in the county available to recycle every year, or enough
 cans to build seven homes a year. All it takes is for caring people to deposit
 their cans in recycling bins. George Gibson, a grandfather and retired pastor,
 leads the charge in Yuma. As a life-long recycler, he cares about the
 environment but also his neighbors. Gibson is the local ringleader of a
 creative recycling program that is growing nationally in leaps and pounds --
 literally every year. The program is called Aluminum Cans Build Habitat for
 Humanity Homes (ACBHHH) and the goal is to help families across the country
 move from poverty housing into a simple, decent home built by Habitat for
 Humanity affiliates.
     Gibson and his group work tirelessly: meeting every Tuesday at the Habitat
 warehouse to sort cans and ready them for the Recycling Center. They work
 closely with countless businesses and schools to engage everyone in their
 mission. They are negotiators and environmentalists; educators and
 compassionate citizens and above all, they are an inspiration to fellow
 retirees, to Habitat affiliates and to families in need.
     "I am amazed by the tirelessness of these volunteers," says Millard
 Fuller, founder and president of Habitat for Humanity International. "Every
 day they are working hard to collect cans to help their neighbors. This is
 what volunteering for Habitat for Humanity is all about. Hard work, dedication
 and results! I hope that all Americans take notice and begin recycling for
 Habitat affiliates in their communities."
     Since the ACBHHH program began in 1997, 3.8 million pounds of aluminum
 cans have been recycled by and for Habitat affiliates.  Local affiliates,
 volunteers, recyclers, national and local retail outlets and civic
 organizations work together to "Make Every Can Count!"  For more information
 on ACBHHH and how you can donate your cans to Habitat, visit the ACBHHH Web
 site at or call toll-free at 1-888-798-CANS.
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SOURCE Aluminum Association