Do you know you can earn money by selling soda pop can tabs?
I didn’t believe it myself until I met a person at a party talking about it.
Considering how frequently you come in contact with an aluminum can, chances are high you can build a collection of tabs to sell for profit.
But where can you sell soda pop cans?
How can you easily get more aluminum cans to sell?
And most importantly, how much money can you make selling soda pop can tabs?
In this post, I walk you through all of these questions.
By the end, you will know if this side hustle is right for you and how to make the most money possible from selling pull tabs.
9 Easy Ways To Sell Soda Pop Can Tabs
The Best Places To Sell For The Most Profit
There are a handful of places you can sell soda pop can tabs for money.
Here are the ones that will get you the best return for your money.
eBay is the biggest platform for buying and selling soda pop can tabs.
A quick review of completed listings shows that bags of 1,000 aluminum can tabs sold for around $10 each.
Note that these are your standard silver tabs.
You can also sell colored tabs as well, but the prices vary greatly on these.
After you account for selling fees, you are making a little more than $9.50 per bag.
Amazon is another place to sell aluminum tabs, but the market isn’t as robust as eBay.
There aren’t many selling and the prices are actually a little lower.
For a bag of 1,000 you are looking at roughly $8 each.
When you add in fees, you are making less money selling on Amazon as opposed to eBay.
Ironically, you can also sell pull tabs on Etsy.
I thought there wouldn’t be listings here since Etsy users are buying the pull tabs to make artwork.
Nonetheless, the going rate for a bag of 1,000 aluminum tabs is roughly the same as eBay at $10 per bag, but you might be able to get closer to $12 as well.
When you take into account fees, you are making a little less on Etsy than on eBay.
But if you can sell the tabs for $12, you will make a little more after fees.
#4. Scrap Yard
Scrap yards collect all different types of metal, including aluminum.
Selling your soda can tabs to a scrap yard is another way to make money, although not nearly as much.
At the current time, scrap yards are paying on average $0.40 per pound of aluminum.
Because of this, you will need a lot of pull tabs to make decent money.
In fact, you would be better served to leave the soda tab on the can and recycle the entire can since it weighs more.
#5. Yard Sale
I’ll be honest, this option isn’t a goldmine either.
You might get lucky and find someone looking to make crafts out of tabs that comes to your yard sale.
In this case, you might be able to charge a higher price than online options like eBay or Amazon.
There are two reasons for this.
- Immediate possession
- No shipping fees
When buying online, the buyer has to wait for the tabs to arrive in the mail.
At your yard sale, they can take them on the spot.
Additionally, when buying online, many sellers will have the buyer pay shipping.
For example, on eBay some sellers offer free shipping, while others are charging a shipping price of $5 or more.
As a result, you might be able to sell you baggies of soda pop can tabs for $13 each.
#6. Local Flea Market
This idea is the same as a yard sale above, only with the possibility of more customers, meaning a greater chance to sell your tabs.
Plus, if a crafter does find you at a flea market, there is a good chance they will be a returning customer in the future as well.
Again, though, this option is not as good as selling online.
#7. Craft Fairs
The goal here isn’t to set up a table to sell your tabs.
Instead the goal is to browse what people are selling.
If you come across a booth that has soda can pull tab art, you could have a potential customer.
Ask them if they are interested in buying more tabs and what they are willing to pay.
You could even do this at flea markets and other craft festivals as well.
#8. Sell Locally
Finally, you can try to sell your pull tabs locally on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or even in local Penny Pincher magazines.
In fact, local Facebook groups could be a good place since many people from your local community will be members.
Of course, you could also join neighboring groups as well to expand your reach.
This option isn’t ideal since the people looking to buy aluminum tabs might not be looking in these areas, it is another option to try.
#9. Ronald McDonald House
Understand you won’t be making money with this option, as you donate your pull tabs to charity.
But since it is for a good cause, I figured I would list it.
Especially for the fact that some of you might start collecting tabs and realize this gig isn’t for you.
Instead of tossing your tabs, you can donate them and make a difference.
Ronald McDonald House is one of the biggest charities that collects pull tabs and they have locations throughout the United States.
How To Organize Your Soda Pop Can Tabs For Maximum Profit
To get the most money from selling your soda pop can tabs, you need to prepare and organize them.
The easier you make it for the buyer, the higher premium you can charge.
For starters, you need to know who you are selling to.
Remove Curly Part Of Tab
If you are planning to sell to crafters, you should remove the curly part that is present in the middle of the can tab.
You can easily do this using a pair of needle nose pliers.
There are two advantages of doing this.
- First, the buyers prefer to purchase these because they don’t have to put additional effort in removing those curly parts themselves.
- Second, you will be able to store more pop can tabs because the curly parts take a lot of room.
Clean The Tabs
Another important thing you should do is clean and straighten the tabs.
If they are dirty or bent, crafters will not buy them because they have to clean and straighten them.
And even if they buy such tabs, it will be at a much lower price.
To clean them, just fill a bucket with soapy water, dump the tabs in and let them sit for a few minutes.
Then lay them out flat in the sun to dry.
Finally, you need to organize the tabs.
Start by sorting by size.
Most tabs are the same size, but you might encounter larger than normal tabs.
Next, most sellers sort by color.
Silver tabs in one pile and colored in another pile.
Some people will separate each color as well. This is up to you to decide if that much detail is worth it.
In my experience, it is.
Once organized, you need to put them into lots.
Most buyers prefer lots of 500 or 1,000 tabs.
Placing them in a sandwich or quart sizes baggie is ideal.
Doing this allows you to fit them in smaller boxes, keeping shipping costs to a minimum.
You could use a shipping envelope as well to send them, but you run the risk of them getting bent if the carrier isn’t careful with the package.
If you plan to recycle the tabs at an aluminum recycling center, you do not need to do any of this prep work or organizing.
Simply put them into a large box or bin and take them to the recycling center.
Where To Collect Soda Pop Can Tabs
If this side hustle sounds up your alley, then your next question is where can you get the soda can tabs?
The first thing you need to remember is you can get a soda tab off any aluminum can.
- Soft drinks
- Beer cans
- Energy drinks
- Canned goods
So when you try to figure out where to collect them, don’t limit yourself to just soda cans.
Below are some great ideas of places to look for tabs to help you get started.
#1. At Home
If you drink soda or other beverages from an aluminum can, then you have a great starting point for collection.
The best way to do this is to let everyone in your house know you are collecting the tabs.
This way, they won’t just throw the cans in the trash or recycling bin.
They can leave them on the counter for you to remove the tab.
It is up to you however if you are comfortable with them removing the tab or you want to do it.
They always say if you want a job done right, do it yourself.
But at the end of the day, it is your call.
#2. Friends And Relatives
Another easy way to start collecting them is to ask your relatives or friends to save their used aluminum cans for you.
Of course, you could just ask for the tabs too and have them do the work.
Just make it a point to collect their used tabs frequently as some people don’t like to have clutter in their house.
#3. Your Neighbors
Taking this one step further, you can ask your neighbor to collect their used tabs as well.
If you are good friends with your neighbors, this makes the request easier.
#4. At Your Work And Your Spouse’s Work
Offices and workspaces are great places to collect pop can tabs from.
People drink a lot of soda at these places and if you can set up a collection container, you could get masses of can tabs.
But for that, you need to take permission from your office or cafeteria first.
This was one of my side hustles as a kid.
I collected aluminum cans to recycle for money and my Mom’s co-workers would put the cans in a separate bin I set up and I would collect them weekly.
It was a great way to get cans fast.
And if you have children, you might consider this as a way to get them interested in making money as well, since it is easy to do.
If you are someone you know is throwing a party, make sure you have a separate place set up for aluminum cans.
Once the party is over, collect the cans and pull the tabs off to add to your collection.
This one requires a little thinking outside the box.
You could ask the college if you could collect their aluminum cans, but most colleges will probably say no.
The other option is to dumpster dive.
College kids throw lots of parties and with those parties are beer cans.
You can check out the dumpsters on Saturday or Sunday mornings to try to find trash bags full of cans.
If you get lucky, you might run into students who are throwing the cans out and ask them to simply leave the trash bags in another place for you so you don’t have to go into the dumpster.
#7. Charity Events And Festivals
Many churches hold summer festivals where they serve food outside.
If some near you have these events, you can ask them if you can have the aluminum cans.
To increase your odds of them saying yes, promise to bring and set up a 55 gallon drum for the aluminum cans.
The easier you can make it for them, the greater the chance of a yes.
You can even approach other charity events too.
Many of these have volunteers who help out.
You can offer to not only help out, but also take care of the recycling too.
These are just a handful of ideas to help you get started collecting soda pop tabs.
With a little more thinking, you can come up with many more ideas.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling Soda Pop Can Tabs?
Now the big question, just how much money can you expect to make selling all the soda pop can tabs you collect?
If you decide to recycle them, the current rate for aluminum is around $0.40 per pound.
And estimates are you would need roughly 1,200 tabs to get to one pound.
That is a lot of tabs to make this venture worth your time and effort.
Because of this, you are better served selling the tabs to crafters.
In this case, you can get roughly $7 per 1,000 tabs selling to crafters.
This is a much better deal than recycling 1,200 for a measly $0.40.
If you are really dedicated and use the methods I laid out to collect the cans, you could end up making $100-$200 a year.
But if you are able to source a few places that allow you to collect a lot of aluminum cans every week, you could make considerably more.
Understand that this is for the standard silver color tabs.
The larger tabs as well as colored tabs also sell for a higher price than recycling as well.
If you would rather go the recycling route, then I highly suggest you completely skip the pulling off the tabs and simply recycle the entire can.
Going with this plan, you would need roughly 35 cans to get to one pound.
And if you collect 8,750 soda cans you would get roughly $100 at today’s rates.
This isn’t exact since there are different sized of aluminum cans, from 8 ounce to 16 ounces, not to mention you have the new aluminum beer bottles as well.
My math assumes a standard 12 ounce can.
The point is, this isn’t fast money in terms of recycling aluminum cans.
But if you use the tips I outlined above for collecting cans, you might be able to make some extra money on the side doing this side hustle.
Finally, you could turn the tabs you collect into artwork and sell these items at a premium.
This would give you the best return on your time, but many people are not interested in crafting, they just want an easy way to make some extra income.
At the end of the day, selling soda pop can tabs for money is possible.
But it is not something that is going to make you rich.
The income you do make from it could be used to boost your savings or even help you pay down your debt.
The key however in any side gig is to make sure it is something you are interested in doing.
Otherwise you will simply waste your time.
Below are some other great ideas to make extra cash on the side.