Are you or someone you know collecting soda can pull tabs for a fundraiser? If so, you might want to come up with a better plan when you know the truth behind their value. 

For decades, people looking to raise money for a cause have asked friends and family to tear off the pull tab on aluminum cans and save them. All the tabs collected are then sold to scrap metal dealers to be recycled with the money going to whatever organization needs funding. Tabs have also been collected to redeem for free time on kidney dialysis machines for those in need.

It sounds like a great idea and an easy way to raise money, but when you do the math, is it?

First of all, there is no truth to the rumor that these tabs have any value for time on a kidney dialysis machine. In 1998 The National Kidney Foundation debunked this in a press release saying "Such a program has never existed through the NKF, nor have there ever been programs through the foundation allowing people to exchange any type of item (box tops, product points, etc.) for time on dialysis."

As far as raising money for other causes, why not just do a bottle and can drive instead? According to, 100 pull tabs have a value of about 3.5 cents. That's it. If you collect a million pull tabs you can sell them for about $366. That seems like a lot of work for little reward.

Now if you were to redeem all those cans that the tabs came from here in Maine for the 5 cent deposit. You'd get $5 for 100 cans and if you collected one million, you'd have a cool $50,000. The math works out much better, don't you think?

Some organizations will collect the tabs as part of a fundraiser drive, but they aren't getting any special deal on the value of the metal. The Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City collected the tabs and raised over $20,000 in a year, but that's with additional charitable donations. In fact the metal recycler collecting the tabs for them makes an additional donation on top of the money for buying the tabs.

So do yourself a favor and if you're going to collect pull tabs to raise money, keep the whole can. It's worth so much more.


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