Has your single-handed can-crushing feat of muscular strength ceased to impress even you? Try this instead.
November 6, 2006 6:39 AM   Subscribe

What to do once your beer is all gone All right, so you’ve finished your beverage. You’ve discreetly released the gas from your digestive tract via your mouth. And now you want to dispose of the empty can. You consider your options. Public-spirited as you are, you are too savvy to believe that you can redeem the pull tab for a wheelchair or a dialysis machine, or that an aluminum beanie will protect your brain from alien forces, and you are far too civilized to smash the can against your forehead. As a responsible, ecologically minded person you could recycle, but you’re also creative, and recycling would leave that artistic urge unsatisfied. So, perhaps you whip up a morning glory wreath for the front door. Or an airplane. Or a honeybee. Or the Starship Enterprise, a shark, a knight in shining aluminum armour, a piano, a hot rod, a Christmas tree, roses for your beloved, or Easter lilies for your mother. Or whatever else strikes your fancy. Then you have twin epiphanies: that you’ve entered the wonderful world of aluminum crafting, and that after emptying all those cans you urgently need to pee.
posted by orange swan (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
o_s, i think i love you.

thank you for this post!
posted by lazaruslong at 6:44 AM on November 6, 2006

Oh no - your home isn't full of both macrame and soda can art, is it orange?


Lovely post.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:48 AM on November 6, 2006

Unless you live in some place (like China) where the pull-tabs come away from the can when you pull them, you might be able to redeem one for a reason to have emergency-room macrame on your fingers.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:53 AM on November 6, 2006

You can also construct a beer can house (a local attraction in Houston).

Thanks for the post.
posted by karson at 7:01 AM on November 6, 2006

posted by jonson at 7:05 AM on November 6, 2006

On the north gates of Louisiana State University, this homeless guy called Smitty used to sell bouquets made of Foster's cans.

He made some stellar art, as can be witnessed here.

So, he still lives in a van, but has wireless Internet, and a website. Yay for the Internet revolution!
posted by The Giant Squid at 7:25 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

One person's trash is another's art project. I need to spend alot more time enjoying this post. But the man wants me to go and grind out a Monday at work.

In South Africa I've seen whole dioramas made from recycled cans. They are elaborate, rough and amazingly detailed and beautiful.
posted by fenriq at 7:27 AM on November 6, 2006

Had a second grade teacher who told us she would retire when she had collected 1 million pull tabs (the old kind that came away from the can). She had the idea for three reasons - first, it would be cool to show kids what a million of anything looked like, and second, she figured by the time it happened she would be ready to retire anyway, and third, it made us do math.

In the back of her classroom were two old cardboard appliance boxes. When I was in second grade, one of them was full and the second was on its way. We would find tabs, link them together in chains, drop them in the box, and add to the total amount. I don't remember how many she actually had in there, but I do remember she was a bit worried that we would run out of pull tabs before she got to a million.

Mrs. Doornbos was the meanest, nastiest teacher I have ever met - the "pull you upright in the chair by your neck hairs if you slouch" type of old-school disciplinarian and grammar Nazi. All of the students loved her, of course. Underneath her strict exterior was a heart of gold - we all knew that on October 31 she would be distributing full-sized Snickers bars instead of the snack size everyone else settled for.

Thanks for reminding me of this, orange swan. Makes my day a bit happier.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:42 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

My nephew made a Samurai coat-of-mail out of pull tabs crocheted together. It is awesome. We collected tabs for him for months, especially the coloured ones. Then, his dad happened to be in a recycling place and they had totes full. So he bought a tote-full for cost, and now all his friends have Samurai gear too. I wish I had a picture.
posted by Rumple at 8:10 AM on November 6, 2006

What to do when your beer is all gone: buy more beer. Duh. :)

That said... cool post. Thanks for taking the time to do it.
posted by Malor at 8:43 AM on November 6, 2006

Or whatever else strikes your fancy

a set of air filters for your Triumph? (not mine)

posted by blackfly at 8:46 AM on November 6, 2006

Handbags, guitars and radios, seem to be popular can creations in South Africa. It's amazing what people can make from what most would call trash. They make some fun silly animal figures from grocery bags, too.
posted by Goofyy at 9:27 AM on November 6, 2006

We get a dime for every can we turn in in Michigan, and that means that our streets are much cleaner than nearly any other state I've been to.
Of course, we also have roving gangs that strip aluminum siding from houses to sell it for scrap...
posted by klangklangston at 9:42 AM on November 6, 2006

With just a pin and a sprinkling of cigarette ash, you can use an empty beer can to make your very own crack pipe.

Express your creative urges and commit a class C felony, all at the same time!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2006

pepsi can stove
posted by hortense at 9:58 AM on November 6, 2006

Great post! In more cool beer can crafting news, I saw this (self link to my flickr stream) at a local street festival and now I'm determined to make one; these, which I found via Mecha the other day, are so beyond my technical skill that I can only salivate.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:04 AM on November 6, 2006

Of course, the Ronald McDonald House finally made the urban legend real. My niece has a 64oz plastic jug she's filling with them. I go along because it makes her feel good.

But when the UL started, most soda and beer cans still had tabs that were intended to be removed. The UL was beneficial in that it reminded people of the tabs and maybe they wouldn't throw them on the beach or whatever (they used to cause thousands of injuries annually). And the value of the aluminum in one can is greater than the value of several tabs. I suppose the tabs are easier to collect and move around, but it just doesn't seem like an efficient way to "give".
posted by dhartung at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2006

Self Link Alert: Easter Oly celebrations of years past. All are (supposed to be) puns on "Oly," Like Mong-oly-ans, Taeb-oly, G-oly, and rhin-oly.
posted by pwb503 at 2:06 PM on November 6, 2006

terrific post, orange swan - don't miss this gallery of cool smashed cans.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:19 PM on November 6, 2006

Neat-o post!
posted by gokart4xmas at 11:07 PM on November 6, 2006

Meet the undisputed king of pull tab artists, Herman Divers. If you're ever near Lucas, Kansas, you can see his creations up close at the Grassroots Art Center. It's well worth the detour. (Kansas is chock full of old farmers and retired school teachers who wake one day and decide to devote the remainder of their lives to sinking glass into concrete or covering their houses with buttons and Barbies. It's a wondrous thing.)
posted by melissa may at 12:56 AM on November 7, 2006

Hooray, Beer!

Are we still doing that "best post" contest? :-)
posted by baylink at 8:13 AM on November 7, 2006

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