Author Options:

Suggestion for a new contest or at least ideas on reusing.... Answered

I would like to see a contest rewarding the best idea for repurposing aluminum screw-top cans! There are some brilliant people out there that should be able to come up with great ideas to keep these out of landfills. Budweiser and Coors cans are the ones I am talking about.
Thanks for considering this,


The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.

3 years ago

Never meant to admonish anyone for this, more like encouraging the collective think tank to come up with what I can't. I keep looking at these and say to myself there's got to be a great use for them, but I'm not creative enough to come up with an idea.

Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

Reply 3 years ago

I must admit: My reply yesterday was not very constructive.

The potential uses for a thing follow from its properties. The properties of your aluminum bottle are: lightweight, aluminum, pointy-shaped, vaguely cylindrical, resealable bottle, covered with garish beer logo advertising...

I don't make any promises about the quality of the following ideas. You know, art is subjective.

The properties, lightweight and pointy-shaped, suggest that you could attach a bunch of these to a swim cap, or baseball cap, so the tops of the bottles are all radiating outward with your head at the center. I have seen similar headdress worn by that guy, Jamiroquai, and whatshername, that big statue of the girl with the book and the torch, in New York's harbor.

The fact that your aluminum bottles have cylindrical symmetry suggests maybe you could make a chess pieces out of them. Perhaps two styles of beer, with different colored bottles, could serve as the two different colors of the opposing,16 piece, armies. I am guessing that some significant reshaping, using metal shears, hacksaw, etc, will be required to make them look, convincingly, like pawns, bishops, rooks, king, queen... The knights are probably going to be the hardest, since they're the only pieces that lack radial symmetry.

I dunno. Salt and pepper shakers? That's kind of the same thing as the chess set, but much less arduous, since you only have to make 2 pieces instead of 32.

Maybe you could make them into juggling pins. The shape, narrow on one end, wide on the other, is vaguely suggestive of this. Of course they do not weigh enough, but maybe if they were filled with something they would have better rotational inertial.

Since their shape is round and smooth, maybe they have good aerodynamics. Perhaps they could be weaponized. Like, filled with concrete to make them heavy, easier to throw, or maybe filled with flammable liquid, like, an aluminum Molotov cocktail...


The fact this container is resealable, that is maybe good from a weapons perspective too.


While on the topic of mad science, the fact that these bottles are electrically conductive, round, smooth, without sharp edges, suggests they might work well for storing electric charge. Like maybe this shape would work well for the rods, collectors, etc, in a dirod machine.


Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

3 years ago

I am seriously wondering why you are interested in this particular container.

Aluminum beverage containers are already more likely to be recylced, than containers made from other materials.

I mean, aluminum cans have been recycled for ages. The reason for this is because making aluminum from bauxite ore, is energy intensive, particularly intensive in its use of electricity, which costs more than other forms of energy, like for example raw coal.

As sort of a contrast, for making steel, raw coal can serve as both heat source (for melting the metal) and reducing agent (for reducing metal oxides to metal). But coal is not a powerful enough reducing agent to reduce aluminum from its oxides. Aluminum is one of those metals with high reduction potential, so pretty much the only economic way to make it from its oxides, is some kind of electrolytic process. Raw coal is cheaper than raw electricity, like by the kilojoule, and I think this is most of the reason for the cost difference of new (or scrap) steel versus aluminum, like price per kilogram.

That's kind of a long story, I guess, but my main point here is that aluminum containers have been recycled for ages, like even before recycling was fashionable. The Wikipedia article on "Aluminium recyling", I think has some numbers that back up the story I'm telling.


"Recycling scrap aluminium requires only 5% of the energy used to make
new aluminium.[1] For this reason, approximately 31% of all aluminium
produced in the United States comes from recycled scrap.[2] Used
beverage containers are the largest component of processed aluminum
scrap, and most of it is manufactured back into aluminium cans.[3]"

Moreover, this new screw top design, is, I think, more likely to get re-used, or upcycled since it is a better container, because it is resealable. I mean the fact that it is resealable increases the number of possible ways it could be upcyled.

So basically, I get that you are interested in this container, and you think it has great potential for being upcycled into something brilliant.

However I think the motivation for doing something with one, or more, of these screw top cans... I think the motivation is going to have to come from the utility of the created thing itself, rather than from a desire to merely, "to keep these out of landfills."

The reason why, is this can's basic design, aluminum with screw top cap, is already keeping it out of landfills.

It just seems to me that your call to action, for you know: Hey, everybody, lets make something great out of a aluminum screw top cans! It would be more moving if you could explain, like, why this particular container has such great upcycle potential, instead of merely admonishing us to, keep 'em out of teh landfills.