A friend of mine recently asked me a question about saving aluminum can pop tops. She was under the impression, as many people have been for decades now, that one could actually save those tops and turn them in to a charity to pay for medical care for the needy, or some such good cause–she wasn’t quite sure what. That was her question–do you know where I can turn those in? The answer is nowhere, for that purpose anyway. The whole notion of saving can pop tops for charities is a very popular and persistent urban legend. The good folks over at Snopes.com (an independent reference web site that focuses on urban legends) provide a good explanation of the commonly held belief and some references for your further information. The pop tops have the same amount of aluminum in them as the rest of the aluminum can, and thus have the same monetary value as any aluminum at any given time. Thus, if you want to save aluminum to benefit a charity, you’re better off saving whole cans, turning them in for money, and giving the money you receive to the charity of your choice.
My friend was disappointed, but looking on the bright side, she decided that she would save the pop tops she had collected anyway, because they might be useful in making crafts. That’s my girl! I knew that somewhere in my files I had an example of cool things made from aluminum can pop tops, so I looked it up this morning to share with y’all. Check out DaLata Designs, a fair trade company that supports Brazilian artisans who make clothing and accessories from aluminum can pop tops (“Da lata” means “from the can” in Portuguese). The stuff looks like chain mail, and if you want to make a unique fashion statement, this could do the trick. Apparently from the site’s “Story” section, you can also contact them regarding custom designs. Their items aren’t really my style, but their reuse ethic definitely is. The pop tops are collected in Brazil, so it’s not like you can send them in to this company for use or anything, but if inside you burns the heart of a talented seamstress, you may just find some inspiration on the DaLata web site and discover a real reason to save those pop tops.