Alyssa Griffith, Ashlie Meyer, Lizzie Noe, Annabelle Newton and Brylee Bruce hold some of the very first pop tops they have collected for this year’s drive.

The success of the pop top/pull tab fund-raiser by Vinton-Shellsburg Middle School students was so great, that the girls who led last year’s project have begun another drive this year.

Alyssa Griffith, Ashlie Meyer, Lizzie Noe, Annabelle Newton and Brylee Bruce set out last year to collect pop tops for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) in Iowa City. Their goal last year: 2,000 pop tops.

They met that goal — 60 times over — collecting an estimated 120,000 pop tops by the end of the school year. That’s nearly 80 pounds of aluminum, which the RMHC collects and sells to aluminum recyclers for up to 60 cents per pound. Area businesses joined the student effort.

The girls hope for an even more successful fund-raiser this year.

Last year, the girls also delivered cookies to the families who were staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their children were receiving medical care at University of Iowa Hospitals. This year, they plan to cook a meal for those families when they make the drive to Iowa City, on a non-school day to be chosen later.

Last year’s project was an indirect result of the girls working together on the First Lego League Team called the Chattery Chinchillas, which advanced to the State tournament. Many of those girls participated in Lego League again this year, but all of them are working on the pop top drive.

The drive will include contests between VSMS classes, and a box where local residents and business operators can drop off their pop top donations.

The girls are now in seventh grade, and hope to make this drive an annual VSMS tradition. They have even begun discussing the option of continuing it through high school, passing it along to younger students, and are looking forward to the day when they are old enough to drive the aluminum to Iowa City themselves.

The RMHC organizations in many places encourage fund drives. Many of the facilities even have web pages dedicated to explaining why pop tops help fund their programs for families with sick children.

Among the interesting facts about aluminum pop tops, are these:

  • At a recycling rate of $0.30 to $0.60 per pound, it takes about 235 pounds of pop tabs to cover the cost of caring for a family for ONE night at RMHC-EIWI.
  • If a magnet sticks, it’s not aluminum. Run a magnet over pop tabs and pick out any items that stick to a magnet.
  • The tab contains more aluminum than the entire can.
  • The pop tab was invented in 1974.
  • One pound of aluminum makes about 30 soda cans.
  • Aluminum does not rust.
  • 10,433 empty aluminum beverage cans weigh as much as Shaq O’Neal.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a television for 3 hours.

See the Iowa City RMHC pop top/pull tab page HERE.