Claim: Aluminum soda can tabs can be redeemed to certain companies and charities who will help pay for medical treatments such as chemotherapy and dialysis.
This story is yet another example of a “redemption rumor,” similar to the Star Tootsie Roll Pop wrapper story. According to an article published in The Houston Chronicle (and similar articles in other publications), the rumor is false, but it has been repeated so often that many people are convinced that it is true, and nothing can convince them otherwise. One recycling center reports it receives 30-40 calls a day from people who have heard the myth. Even worse, this myth has given countless families false hope. Families collect thousands of tabs, thinking that they are helping save a loved one, only to find out that the whole story’s a hoax. In one instance, a collection drive in Alabama resulted in over 276,000 tabs being collected for a 12-year-old girl with melanoma. When the girl’s mom called Coca-Cola to find out how to redeem the tabs, she found out the sad truth.
Although aluminum tabs can’t be redeemed to pay for medical treatments, some charities do accept the aluminum tabs. Ronald McDonald Houses are prime examples. However, the charities that do accept the tabs simply sell the tabs as scrap metal. According to Ronald McDonald House Charities, they accept tabs instead of whole cans “because it’s more hygienic to store tabs than cans, and collection and storage is easier.”