Alcoa’s New Facebook App ‘Crushes’ Aluminum Recycling Goals

A few days ago, Alcoa released a new Facebook app called “Pass the Can.” Playing is not only weirdly gratifying (more about that in a minute) it also helps support recycling initiatives all over the country.

As you may know, aluminum (an Alcoa specialty) is the only material that’s endlessly, 100% recyclable. It also takes lots of energy to make aluminum from scratch. The energy you save by recycling a single aluminum can will run a TV for three hours. It also takes about 400 years for aluminum to degrade in a natural environment. If you leave a Coke can in the woods, and nobody picks it up, it will probably still look exactly the same a century from now. All of these facts are good reasons to recycle, which is why you might want to give “Pass the Can” a try the next time you’re on Facebook.

ALCOA pass the can

Image via ALCOA

In “Pass the Can”, players crush a virtual aluminum can, pass it to Facebook friends, and at the same time encourage real-world recycling and contribute to a ‘green’ cause. Once you’ve connected the app to your Facebook profile, you’ll be presented with a digital can just itching to be crushed. Now for the weirdly-gratifying part I mentioned before: there are several methods for crushing, including a wrecking ball or elephant’s foot. Just select your preferred method of impact and WHAM! The can is obliterated, ready for recycling.

But what’s this? Another can emerges from the crumpled ashes! Pass this can on to your social networks, and encourage your friends to do the same. Every time the can is crushed and passed, Alcoa will donate $1 (up to US $75,000) to recycling efforts led by three leading conservation non-profit organizations: Keep America Beautiful in the U.S., Planet Ark in Australia and the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Europe. Additionally, each time a can reaches a new level of “intercantinental” travel, the player is awarded a badge with aluminum recycling facts to share with friends.

“Pass the Can” is Alcoa’s second app created to promote aluminum can recycling. In 2010, Alcoa launched Aluminate, a recycling app for iPhone and iPad that helps you find recycling centers, track how many aluminum cans are recycled and calculate the cash earned through recycling.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog