The cost of 200,000 aluminium cans to be donated to children’s holiday camps

From March this year, customers can donate the money they would be refunded for returning aluminium cans. Thanks to the initiative there were 200,000 cans collected which is equal to more than three tonnes of recyclable aluminium. The amount that was raised is close to one million forints and will be used by the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta to fund the holidaying of disadvantaged children.

The empty aluminium cans crinkle as the machine squeezes them. It is a good feeling knowing that we are doing something for our environment when we don’t just throw them in the bin, but rather make the effort to take them to one of the selected SPAR collection points. The amount we get back for returning them we can now donate towards a good cause, so there is another positive aspect; we can help disadvantaged children with a simple action.

SPAR Hungary has been working with the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta for more than 25 years. Another milestone was reached in this partnership in March this year, when the donation option became available for customers returning aluminium cans as part of a special initiative. The value of these cans is donated towards a charitable cause, as they are used to fund the holiday camps for children in need.

“Thanks to the ‘Minden Doboz Visszajár’ (every can is refunded) initiative, the returned cans are useful in several ways. The aluminium collected gets recycled, and the donations help hundreds of disadvantaged children to have a summer holiday. Since the end of March this year there were 200,000 cans collected with this campaign which is the equivalent of more than three tonnes of recyclable aluminium. They collected almost one million forints which the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta uses to support the holidaying of disadvantaged children,” said Márk Maczelka, head of communications at SPAR Hungary.

“Children from the poorest families very often live in an isolated environment without access to opportunities, and their childhood is therefore very different from other kids of the same age. Our campaigns are designed to provide the opportunities for them, so they don’t have to grow up too early. By donating the price of the aluminium cans, customers gift these children experiences which they wouldn’t have access to,” added Tamás Romhányi, head of communications at the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta.

In 2021 there were 20 million cans returned to more than 30 machines in selected SPAR and INTERSPAR stores, which weighed 320 tonnes and equal to 2% of all the aluminium cans sold on the Hungarian market. Returnpack placed their first aluminium recycling machine at the INTERSPAR on Sibrik Miklós út in Budapest in the spring of 2010. This was followed by more than 30 machines all over the country, mostly in INTERSPAR stores. Customers usually return 20 million cans to these machines annually, which means more than 220 million aluminium cans have been recycled since the beginning of the partnership almost twelve years ago.

Returnpack Kft. protects the environment by recycling almost 70 million cans each year, which means that more than 1,000 tonnes of aluminium get returned and recycled. Their unique patent is a Hungarian innovation: the machines recognise and accept cans that are crushed or flattened.

“This is not trash. It is valuable as these cans are recyclable forever. The ‘Minden Doboz Visszajár’ (every can is refunded) initiative is working to promote the collection of these cans either selectively or by taking them to the collection points. It is easy to return these, there is no need to group them separately and a can will be recycled in eight weeks to return to the shelves of the stores in the form of an aluminium can once again,” vouched Péter Vida, Hungarian representative of the campaign and head of operations at Returnpack Kft.