Collecting pop tabs is a great way to teach kids about philanthropy and the importance of recycling, and raise funds to help children and their families at the same time. Some of our Chapters raise thousands of dollars with their pop tab collections.
Our Pop Tab program collects aluminum tabs only, like the ones found on soda cans. Many other products, like animal food, use tab systems but may not be made of aluminum. That is why we suggest you consider “specializing” in soda tabs. However, a good rule of thumb to follow if you want to collect tabs from other products is this: if you put a magnet near the tabs they should not be attracted to it. If they are, they are not aluminum tabs.
We collect pop tabs instead of entire aluminum cans because it’s more hygienic to store tabs at the House than cans, collection is easier for many, and storage until they can be recycled is certainly easier for us. The program is an easy way for people of all ages to support Ronald McDonald House Charities and know they are making a difference for families and children. Those interested in collecting aluminum cans and other metals should refer to our page on metal recycling. Remember, to bring your pop-tabs to us at the House.
You may use any clean container to collect pop-tabs. Over the years we’ve seen all sorts of creative vessels – decorated coffee cans, large plastic pretzel jars, cloth sacks, zip lock bags, etc. We truly appreciate your efforts in collecting and donating pop-tabs to us.
Once we have received enough tabs to fill two 32 gallon bins our recycling partner, Cycle Systems, picks up the tabs and provides us with 2 “empties”. If you have collected a significant amount of tabs, you may wish to take these directly to the Cycle Systems recycling center nearest you to redeem these for us. There are 9 such centers around the state. You must be specific with the folks at the center that the tabs are being brought in to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville. This is important.
At the end of each month Cycle Systems sends us a check for the scrap value of the tabs and other metal items collected. These values are market dependent, and go up and down throughout the year. But it all adds up to precious dollars that help the House fulfill its mission!