Is America Becoming a Feudal Country? aside: Aluminum Recycling Rates

Just went by a recyclers in Northwest Indiana and looked up their prices for aluminum. How much was it?

Seventy cents a pound

When I was much younger, I collected a bunch of cans before a Knoxville football game and saved them until Tuesday to take them to a recycling center. There I learned a couple things:

  1. It takes about twelve cans to make a pound of recycled aluminum cans
  2. Two cents a can makes no sense to recycle.

Of course, that was back in 1989, when recycling aluminum cans brought you 25 cents per pound. Now, at seventy cents a pound, we’re talking close to six cents a can. That’s actually more than most states with recycling, and would make a trip to Michigan a cost-waster.

Now understand, we had aluminum can collectors in Michigan (even did some myself) because the 10 cent deposit made for a good return. Collect a whole bunch, and you did well. Even made for some problems with out-of-state collectors (they had to put on a 90 day jail penalty plus renumeration if you turn in out-of-state cans).

Of course, that was when gas prices and collection rates were low – when it cost $1.25/gallon and the local recyclers were giving you twenty cents per pound (if you were lucky), it made sense to load the Astro Van and try your luck across the border. Now that we’re staring down $4.25/gallon and prices nearing 75 cents per pound, the question becomes: is it worth the gas usage and risk of imprisonment?

And america slides further into Feudal Country status.

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