evanston-can-recycle-090920.jpg
evanston-can-recycle-090920.jpg

In the sometimes paradoxical world of environmental friendliness, Evanston is switching next month from trying to wean people away from plastic water bottles in favor of tap water to trying to encourage them to maximize the recycling of aluminum beverage cans.

It’s called the “Cans for Cash” program, a promotion of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the aluminum recycler Novelis and Keep American Beautiful.

If Evanston is among the top can recyclers in October among communities its size, it could win up to $15,000 to support recycling education and awareness.


In the sometimes paradoxical world of environmental friendliness, Evanston is switching next month from trying to wean people away from plastic water bottles in favor of tap water to trying to encourage them to maximize the recycling of aluminum beverage cans.

It’s called the “Cans for Cash” program, a promotion of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the aluminum recycler Novelis and Keep American Beautiful.

If Evanston is among the top can recyclers in October among communities its size, it could win up to $15,000 to support recycling education and awareness.

Two years ago, when it first participated in the annual competition, the city won $2,500 and the local group Keep Evanston Beautiful won $5,000.

All you have to do to participate is remember to put your aluminum cans into your city-issued recycling bin.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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6 Comments

  1. Cash for Cans
    If the city is serious about cash [even about civil responsibility] for cans, the why are there no re-cycle bins downtown, in other shopping area [Main, Central, Dempster] and most of all the parks or City Hall [I don’t know how many cans I’ve had to pick-up there].

    No if you want to clean up cans while biking or walking you have to find a residence with a re-cycle bin out or in the alley. Between the stadium and NU I pick-up three to five cans and bottles each way each day—and usually well away from NU, like Ridge and Grant, Simpson and Foster from Sherman to Ridge, etc.

    One could assume all the beer cans are from minors not wanting to get caught but why so many pop cans–fear of the sugar police ?

    Probably the city or better NU, would pick-up after the football games, they could set their record along. From the stadium to NU I’ve picked up as many as four bags each following Sunday afternoon—well after NU should have policed the area.

    It would be great if people would switch from bottled to tap water but they seem to have so much money to waste they just find it another way to throw their money away. I’d like to know who all of them are since I have some wonderful ocean front property in Arizona to sell them.

  2. Carbonated soda — source of much childhood obesity
    We have no aluminum cans to recycle at my house. Why? With several elementary school-age children, we do not purchase carbonated soda. As several studies have found, carbonated soda is a major contributor to childhood obesity in this country.

    It’s great to recycle aluminum cans. I recycle any cans that I find on my walks. But if Evanston parents have taken the positive step of not buying soda for their children, we can’t win this competition or even be in the running. Or do we drink a lot of beer in cans in Evanston? Doesn’t beer taste better in a glass bottle? (Yes, we recycle glass beer bottles.)

    What’s the message? Go buy soda and beer — you may get fat but you’ll be able to recycle the cans?

    1. Carbonated Soda AND bottled water
      Probably even more bottled water containers outnumber the number of cans dumped on the streets. ‘Suppoedly’ intelligent people are seen with their bottled water at work, meetings, seminars, etc.. If they don’t realize the cost compared to tap, studies that show blind taste tests show people really prefer tap water, and the enviornmental cost of the bottles—well as Forest Gump said “Stupid is as stupid does.”
      But like soda the effect on teeth would surprise some—not the sugar.
      I joked with my dentist about all the soda people at work would drink even for breakfast. He said bottled water is the second biggest cause of cavities—because it lacks the natural [and city added] elements of tap water. I was surprised but found other dentists told friends the same thing.

  3. Whole Foods—No more checks ?
    A news story was that Whole Foods [no specific stores mentioned] would experiment with not accepting checks due to cost of processing.
    Last week there was a news story of a restaurant that would no longer accept cash !
    My understanding is that debit and credit cards fees charged to merchants are much more expensive to merchants than checks [except having to take to the bank, and other internal bookkeeping costs] and certainly more expensive than cash. Since, as we are told, grocery and fast food stores work on a very small profit margin already, why do this ?
    Debit and credit cards cut into the merchant’s profits which they either ‘eat’ or reflect in higher prices to customers.
    I see high school and NU students charging $3-4 meals at fast food stores and grocery but of course this is their parents money and so they don’t care the effect on the merchant or prices. What is more surprising is to seeing adults who should understand the costs, doing the same.
    On the other side, we have heard for decades that we are/should be moving to a ‘cashless’ society. Since banks [including the FRB] incur significant costs in printing/shipping/destroying [FRB] and handling you would expect the system to have move to zero costs for at least debit—esp. since they allow the bank to get their money immediately. Somewhere there is a disconnect.

    1. Check bouncing
      Whole Foods (and most other retail stores) policy of not accepting checks has more to do with getting burned on bad checks than it does with processing fees. It is a huge pain in the ass for a retailer to get paid when a bad check is used.

      As far as your comments about debit and credit cards, merchants are not forced to accept them. If they don’t want to pay the fees, they can simply be a cash-only business (see Unicorn Cafe, which plenty of NU students frequent and pay only in cash).

      I certainly don’t feel bad about a surcharge for the merchant if I’m charging $3 on my debit card (my own money, by the way… not mommy and daddy’s). That’s the cost of doing business now days, and again if they don’t like it, they don’t have to accept credit cards or they can set a minimum purchase price for using a card.

      A retailer/restaurant refusing to accept cash seems dumb and I’d be surprised if they stayed in business too long making decisions like that.

      1. No checks. Hooray.
        I am glad that Whole Foods is no longer accepting checks. There were too many times when I was standing behind some NIMBY woman who always had lots of little non-scannable items from the bulk section…and then she pulls out her checkbook – the whole process just takes forever, and it is a nuisance for everyone who is waiting in line.

        I believe that the Gold Coast WF on Huron (which is near the NU Streeterville campus) was the first to stop taking checks. Evanston south was next. I wrote comments at all three stores asking for this change.

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