The tips and tactics below will help you get the most out of your recycling campaign and win the Great American Can Roundup Commander-in-Chief Challenge.

For additional suggestions, try contacting recycling/environmental organizations.

List of Organizations

Get the Whole Community to Pitch In

  • Building interest in recycling and in your campaign is the key to success! Recruit your academy’s great orators and artists to:
  • Contact local businesses and ask for their partnership in collecting cans.
  • Create eye-catching signage. Many Great American Can Roundup participants make giant signs with the word “RECYCLING” spelled out in aluminum beverage cans.
  • Make a float or booth and participate in parades, fairs or carnivals.

For more tips on how to build community awareness about your roundup and recycling in general, go to Promote My Roundup.

Did You Know?
Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours!

Tactics to Try

Gather a group to collect cans in public areas such as parks and playgrounds, along creeks and streams, around shopping centers, stadiums, construction sites, etc.
Ask local merchants to place a box or bag near snack bars or vending machines, with a sign reading “Please Recycle Your Aluminum Cans Here” and name the cause to which you will donate any prize winnings. Be sure to delegate the task of retrieving cans from these bins on a regular basis.
Hold a “Car Wash for Cans” event in a parking lot (any high-traffic location with access to water spigots).

  • Offer free car washes in exchange for 100 cans (or a specified weight).
  • Pro-rate prices for smaller donations.


Collect cans from parade watchers and/or ask parade organizers if you can set up recycling bins along parade route.

  • March in the parade with recycling bags to collect cans along the way.
  • Drive a float/pickup truck in the parade to promote beverage can recycling awareness and collect cans.
  • Ask vendors along the route to offer recycling bins and/or display signs about your can roundup during the parade.


Collect cans as fans arrive for a big game and/or during the game.

  • Promote your recycling campaign ahead of time so fans arrive with empty cans.
  • Decorate a pickup truck with your team colors, park it near the parking lot entrance and collect cans in the truck bed.
  • Make it a contest between your school and your rival, and compete to fill your truck first!

OR
Partner with local professional sports teams.

  • Set up collection bins at your local stadium/arena.
  • Ask the team owners to provide free tickets, photos of athletes or team gear for fans who bring X number/pounds of cans for recycling on a special day.

Challenge nearby colleges/universities or local businesses to collect more cans than your academy! For business challenges, contact your local Chamber of Commerce or service organizations, which often support this type of environmental outreach.

This is a great way to raise community awareness. Check with academy administrators, local retailers, the parks and recreation department, or organizers of local events such as art fairs, carnivals and parades to host a mountain-building event.

  • Set a specific goal such as 10,000 or even 100,000 cans. (The million-can mountain of a Girl Scout troop in Kansas drew crowds from across the state who came to see what it looked like!)
  • Find a highly visible, accessible location for the mountain. Parking lots are best.
  • Recruit people or businesses with trucks to transport the cans.
  • Rally people to your cause by clearly communicating how you will use recycling proceeds and/or the prize money you win.