When our 70-pound boy up and collected several hundred pounds of discarded aluminum cans, we were faced with a problem. How, I wondered, would we store the heap of containers until we could get to a recycling center? Well, my son Jim and I tried various ways of compacting the metal money makers—the between-the-hands crush, the hammer and anvil smash, and the concentrated foot stomp—among others, but all those techniques turned out to require greater strength and weight than Jim could muster. We needed a more convenient method, one that (we hoped) would be fun for Jim as well as effective.
Then a friend came up with the basic idea that I developed into what I call the One-Step, Three-Can Slam: a homemade can crusher that can be used by children or adults to crush cans to a 3/4" thickness for efficient storage and transport.
My design incorporates a small (Jimmy sized) workbench at one end, but the working parts could just as well fit into a table, bar, bench, or box. I'm sure that MOTHER EARTH NEWS' readers will be able to make their own slammers. And help remove litter from the highways. And put cash in their pockets!
Editor's note: Nonreturnable beverage cans are a blight on the land! But the metal they contain is also a valuable resource and a source of income for many people. Before you give this device a try, heed a word of warning: it can crush fingers as well as cans! We recommend that you never let a child use it without close supervision, and then only after you're sure he or she understands and practices appropriate safety procedures.