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You know you want to, so don’t hold back when it comes to squashing those cans on National Crush a Can Day. Not only does this day give you the opportunity of crushing, squeezing and bending cans into satisfyingly small shapes, it’s also a chance to share can compression fun with family and friends.

History of National Crush a Can Day

A fun way to raise awareness and encourage people to recycle, National Crush a Can Day offers reminders that recycling is a critical part of protecting the earth’s environment. This is the perfect day for people to get on board with sustainability!

Ancient cultures are known to have reused and recycled various items as much as possible, taking care of the earth’s resources well. The first record of recycling dates back to 1031 when the Japanese were recycling paper.

Recycling of fabric rags made from linen and cotton started in the United States as early as the late 1600s. The fabric scraps were made into paper and sold to printers and book publishers. But recycling of cans didn’t start until later, which makes sense since this was before the can was actually invented!

The tin can was created in the late 1700s, inspired by Napoleon in an effort to find a way to preserve food that armies could carry with them. The aluminum can wasn’t made available to the public until the 1950s.

Metal recycling in the US began in the late 1700s in an effort toward winning the Revolutionary War against England. In fact, in an ironic turn of events, a metal statue of King George III was removed in New York City, melted down and turned into bullets.

As recycling efforts have continued to develop, it is important that everyone gets on board with it. And that’s what National Crush a Can Day is all about!

National Crush a Can Day Timeline


Cans originate in France 

Napoleon offers a reward for someone who can create a way to preserve food for his army, and the can is invented.


Cans are patented in England 

King George III grants a patent to Peter Durand for the preservation of food in tin cans.[1]


Aluminum cans are introduced 

Offering greater malleability, aluminum is found to be easier than steel for making cans.[2]


Easy open cans are created 

The pull-tab for beverage cans is added to cans to make them easier to open, invented by Ermal Fraze.[3]


Aluminum cans dominate the beverage market 

The transition from steel cans to aluminum cans for beverages progresses and aluminum begins to take over.

How to Celebrate National Crush a Can Day

A fantastic stress buster, can squashing is also a great way to get more cans into a smaller space at recycling facilities, so get squishing those cans! Try out some of these ideas for celebrating National Crush a Can Day:

Host a Can Crushing Party

On National Crush a Can Day, any safe form of can crushing is permissible. Why not gather friends together for a Crush a Can Day Ultimate Can Destruction party?

Line those cans up and throw rocks or other heavy objects at them before stomping the tins into oblivion with a well-placed boot. Of course, it might even be a fun idea to finish the event with a few beers, hopefully generating more empty cans for further crushing excitement!

Of course, the person who crushes the most cans at the National Crush a Can Day should win a prize. Perhaps it could be a crushed can that is made into a trophy!

Raise Awareness for National Crush a Can Day

One great way to celebrate this day is to start a campaign for National Crush a Can day at work or at school. Gather groups of people together and raise awareness for the need to recycle – not only cans but glass, paper, plastic and more.

Make posters, host events and get a social media campaign going in honor of the day. Encourage recycling for individuals and perhaps even start a campaign for local businesses and companies to recycle and ensure more sustainable practices to help save the planet.

National Crush a Can Day FAQs

Why should you crush cans?

Some people think it’s best to crush cans before recycling them because they take up less space.

How to crush a can with air pressure?

When a can is partially filled with cold water, placed on a hot plate until it steams, and then placed upside down in a bowl of cold water, it should be crushed by the atmosphere.[1]

Is it bad to crush cans? 

Whether you should crush cans depends on where you live. Some local recycling places prefer that the cans are not crushed.

How can I make a can crusher?

A can crusher can be made at home from plywood, a wooden pallet, PVC pipes, metal and more.[2]

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