Did You Know?
If the data put forth by the Aluminum Association is to be believed, Americans earn roughly around USD 1 billion from recycling aluminum cans every year.
An aluminum can crusher, as its name suggests, is used to crush or smash empty aluminum cans to the smallest possible size in order to recycle them. The method put to use depends on the type of can crusher you use. Some of these crushers are designed to crush cans by applying force from both sides, while some smash the can from above.
The methods put to use can be classified into two categories: (i) mechanical methods, wherein cans are crushed by machines powered by electricity, and (ii) manual methods, wherein cans are crushed manually using a simple equipment.
Manual Aluminum Can Crusher
In manually operated can crushers, the force generated by an individual is used to crush cans. These simple machines are preferred over their mechanical counterparts in most homes, as they are relatively inexpensive and user-friendly. This is because you don't have to crush hundreds of cans in a day. Simply insert a can in the frame meant to hold it and crush it by applying force with your hand. The best thing about this type of can crushers is that it's very easy to build one on your own.
How to Make an Aluminum Can Crusher?
Aluminum being a relatively soft metal, can be easily crushed, and hence, you can use hardwood to build a can crusher for home use. You will require two 16-inch-long 2×4 boards of wood, a drilling machine, hinge, screws, two jar lids, a cabinet handle, and roughly about half an hour of your precious time.
While it's for you to decide whether you want to make a large can crusher, or a small one, we believe that a 16-inch can crusher would be ideal for home use. So you can begin by attaching the hinge. For this, you will have to drill holes in the wooden boards.
Once you have drilled the holes, place both the boards end to end on a table, and attach the hinge to them with the help of screws, such that you can fold these boards together lengthwise like a book.
Next, take two jar lids, slightly bigger than the circumference of aluminum cans, and fix them to the inner side of the boards. You need to be careful with this part, as it is important that these lids are fixed exactly opposite to each other, such that they are directly on the top of each other when you fold the boards. You can either use a strong adhesive or small screws to fix these lids. They will act as a holding device of your can crusher.
Next you will have to attach a handle to your can crusher to get a good grip while you are working on it. A cabinet handle will be ideal. You will have to drill holes and attach the handle on the outer side of the can crusher, exactly above the place where you have fixed the jar lid. It will give you a good hold over the equipment when you get to work.
So, your homemade aluminum can crusher is ready. You can place it either on a table or some hard surface to use it. Just take the empty can that you want to crush, place it in the jar lid fixed on the bottom board, grip the handle, align the top board of the crusher on the can, and press with force to crush it.
Considering the space they occupy, transporting aluminum cans to recycling centers can be tedious task. By making a can crusher of your own, you will be able to make your recycling haul compact and thus, easy to transport.