How to Build a Soda Can Crusher

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Aluminum cans for soda and beer are made from about 40 percent recycled materials. Although most people don’t mind recycling, the extra room it takes to sort and keep recyclables can make the task lest appealing to some. Empty soda cans are especially bulky, when compared to cardboard or paper that can be easily flattened and stacked. Instead of tossing those pesky cans into the trash, create a contraption to help you easily crush the cans for recycling.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 20-inch pieces of 2-by-4-inch wood
  • Hinge
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • 2 jar lids (spaghetti jar or similarly sized lids)
  • Handle

Construction

  • Lay the pieces of wood end to end with a 4-inch side on the work surface. Lay the hinge on top of the pieces of wood so the bend of the hinge is at the seam between the pieces of wood. Screw each each side of the hinge into one piece of wood.

  • Fold one board over on top of the other, and check that they align correctly. If you attached the hinge correctly, the two boards should line up exactly on top of each other.

  • Unfold the boards, and attach a jar lid about 2 inches from the outer edge of each board .

  • Attach a small handle to the top board, near the end. Look for a handle or cabinet pull that allows you to grasp the entire thing and wrap your fingers around it. This will give you leverage when pushing down on the board to crush the can.

Use

  • Place the can crusher on a sturdy, flat surface.

  • Open the boards up and place an empty can in the center of the bottom lid.

  • Place the board on top, and push down with the handle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before crushing your cans check with your local recycling center if you pay a deposit on cans. Some places won’t accept crushed cans for you to get back the deposit, since the machines can’t read the cans’ barcode.
  • You don’t have to buy a handle and use your arm strength to crush cans. If you would rather use your contraption on the floor, omit the handle and use your feet to close the boards together.
  • Don’t try to crush unopened cans. You may hurt yourself, and have a big mess to clean up.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
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