Spokane couple aims to recycle 400,000 cans to pay for their wedding #Philosophizing#eco-friendly#handfasting#medieval Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Dec 30 2009) Ariel arielmstallings Photo by Tyson Habein for Yellow House Photo Andrea and Pete are combining two different kinds of awesome into one fabulous wedding: they're trying to pay for their low-budget summer 2010 wedding by recycling 400,000 aluminum cans. In a move that it's both uber-eco-friendly as well as budget minded, they're scouring their city of Spokane, WA to find cans to recycle. I cornered Andrea with a few questions about the project, and she told me all about their motivations, goals, and trebuchet bouquet toss… Andrea, what made you decide to do this? Related Post First photos from Andrea & Pete's wedding, paid for by recyling 400,000 aluminum cans Remember Andrea and Pete, the couple who paid for their wedding by recycling aluminum cans? We've got a first look at their wedding pictures! In the beginning, this was one of those crazy ideas that popped into my head at 1am and I kind of brushed off. When I started sorting our recycling the next day, though, I started to play with the numbers. We set aside aluminum anyway, since one of Pete's hobbies is smelting aluminum in the summer months, and just with the cans from his shop and various friend's offices / homes / shops, we can get a pretty significant number built up. While our stash was nowhere near the 400,000 we'd need to pay for the wedding, I figured with 7 months and some serious effort, it might just be possible. Long story short, a combination of chutzpah and hope. Why cans? Two big reasons — environmental impact and cash. Aluminum is the recyclable that has the largest positive environmental impact — each recycled can saves about 7 kWh in addition to all kinds of nasty mining chemicals, and without a lot of the by-products that paper or plastic recycling can create. Also, aluminum has that magic combination of being very plentiful and of decent value. On average, Americans throw away 1,500 aluminum cans each second, so we knew that the opportunity was there. Depending on the state you're in, each can is worth anywhere from 1-5 cents each, which means we could actually build up enough cash quickly to actually pull this off. Photo by Tyson Habein for Yellow House Photo What's more important to you about the project: the environmental responsibility, or the budget-friendliness? That's a tough question. When we started the project, it was the budget-friendliness. I just got a job after 10 months of unemployment, we had just purchased a house a few months before I got laid off, and in general live pretty frugally. The prospect of dropping even 3-4 thousand dollars on a wedding just hurt. At the same time, we are huge on recycling and environmental friendliness — we have an organic garden in our front yard, we compost all our food waste and paper, and use reclaimed / recycled materials for as many projects as we can. When I got further into the research of the impact that the just 400,000 cans would have, I would definitely say that the environmental impacts are equal to, if not more important than the budget friendliness. Tell me a bit more about your vision of your wedding? When we started planning the wedding, we knew the biggest thing is that we wanted to have a celebration of friends and family where a wedding happened to happen somewhere in there. We found an awesome vacation home / castle that we can rent for 3 days less expensively than a reception hall for 4 hours. Once we decided on that and a date as close to Lughnasadh (harvest/community celebration) as we could make it, things have kind of been falling into place. We're medieval re-creationists, and a good friend is bringing his homemade trebuchet to launch the bouquet with. For those of you who don't know, this is a trebuchet. Photo by John Linwood. OH MY GOD TREBUCHET BOUQUET LAUNCH! YESSSS! Er. Sorry. Go on. The food is going to be mostly potluck, though we will provide some of it. My mom is going to do the wedding cake (she's been catering and decorating wedding cakes for 30 years). We're going to be handfasted by the friend that brought us together in the first place, we've got a friend that home-brews beer that will be bringing a few kegs, and we're breaking open our cellar of home-brew wine as well. In general, it'll be a big, home-made, community-centered celebration! Thanks to Andrea for sharing her story with us — and now hey everyone: You can see the result of all their efforts! Ariel Author of three editions of the Offbeat Bride book and the brand-new From Shitshow To Afterglow, Ariel Meadow Stallings acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying. To follow her latest work, join join The Afterglow, for exclusive access to essays, videos, online courses, and more. PREVIOUS Samantha & Ryan's New York, Alice in Wonderland, guerilla wedding NEXT Danielle & Dave's geeky, puzzle-laden, Brooklyn wedding Show/Hide comments [ 40 ] Wow, fellow Spokanites. Way to go! Reply What a fantastic idea! Good luck to you both! From what you've said, saving the environment this way sounds like a perfect way to start off your married life. We don't have recycling facilities that pay you in the UK (or if we do I've not found them) and recycling is usually collected by the local council, but I think it's fantastic that you can do this in the USA. Reply That is such a great idea, I think I might steal it 🙂 Although, up here in Michigan cans are worth 10 cents each. Reply Nice article! Let's help 'em out peps! Reply Yeah, kudos! As a Spokanite too, I'm curious where this fabulous castle is?! Reply Totally stealing this (if you don't mind). I saw the can thing around obt and really didn't know what was going on. I didn't dig too much and lo and behold, didn't find much. Thanks so much for posting this. Reply Awesome Idea. I may steal it too 😉 Reply Totally love this idea and am now a little disappointed that I do not have a wedding in the works so I can steal it too! Reply lol meh even without the wedding… a can recycling fueled uber vaca?!?!? Reply Go Andrea & Pete! We'll keep our eyes glued to wedsite to see how it's coming along. Reply Fantastic! My girl scout troop used to recycle cans and bottles as fund-raisers, and my church does that too. Such a great idea for a wedding! Reply Cans are worth 10 cents in Michigan 🙂 Reply You have completely inspired me! I am totally going to use this idea!! Thanks!! Reply Wow this is truly amazing! Good luck, ya'll!! Reply Sweet! Ill have to recruit some ppl around my neighborhood and kick some cans your way. Reply Don't just snag the idea, folks! Help 'em out! Reply What she said!! Reply Aunt weezie is so Jazzed by your story! awesome! Reply Oh and the check is in the mail! Reply this is very admirable Reply This made my heart smile. Best wishes!!! Reply such a wonderful idea…our budget isnt the biggest…we can use all the help we can get! Reply Awesome idea! I cannot wait to tell others about your plan. Reply Best of luck! A lot of hard work pays off in an excellent celebration. Reply This sounds amazing! Good luck to you both 🙂 ( And speaking as a medieval re-enactor in the UK – the trebuchet bouquet launch? Fantastic!! 😀 ) Reply You guys are a total inspiration!! Reply Great Idea to save cans, recycling and earn money at the same time, I used to do that when I was living in california and it helped with food and bills and such when I was working part time at the time. I cant wait to see how your wedding turn out . I'm sure it will be a great day for you both, remember to breathe on your wedding day!!! Good Luck to you both! Reply I would love to do this myself. I don't even know how I would even start. Reply Did you know your on Yahoo's front page today! 😀 I bet everyone starts giving you their cans to recycle! Good luck!!! Reply What an awesome idea! Hope this works out for you, and you enjoy your wedding. PS Simple is good when it comes to weddings. We had everybody bring food, and it was great. Best of luck in the future. Reply Great idea! and admirable too. I wonder if you have ever seen the TV show Northern Exposure. There was was an episode where the folks in town, Nome ( I think), Alaska came up with an idea to fling a cow with a Trebuchet. Many preparations were made, but they never followed through because they finally found that it had been done before. You both look young and this may have been before your time. I am sure you could find the show on the net somewhere. Anyway, Good Luck with all of your endeavors. Reply Paying for your wedding in cash is the best way to start a new life together. We did it 8 years ago. Good luck in your adventure! Reply So great! Just saw it again on my local news station in NC! Reply OMG U guys are on the msn homepage!!!! Congrats on the donation!!!! Reply kick ass guys…Hope you can pull it off. What an amamizing way to help the earth as well as your pocketbook. Congrats Reply I just applied to go abroad for a semester and had to figure out a way to raise some money, and I remembered your article! My goal is at least 100,000 cans by August to pay for the bulk, though I'm still not sure how much I'm going to get per can XD You're so inspiring, good luck! Reply I have to say, I read the title and it sent a cringe down my back as I remembered being with my good ol stubborn polish grandfather and him making me bring a trash bag on walks around the city he lived and pick up cans (at 13 that is a very embarrassing thing to do) then I read the article and opened up my computer calculator… OMG!!! All the possibilities of what to do ran through my head!!! Amazing idea! Reply This is such a cool idea! I wish I thought of something similar as I'm a big environmentalist and also had a budget! Good luck! I wish I could help you out, but my state doesn't take cans for money (yet!). I wish you all the best and am so glad you're spreading this idea around!! Reply Hmmm…I am thinking that I should start saving for my funeral. I have no insurance and it would help my family. These services are not cheap. Thanks for the idea. Reply an ex-boyfriend and i planned a trip to europe when i graduated from college. at the time we both worked at a gym and the number of cans and bottles that were thrown away was ridiculous (think of all the energy drinks)! we decided to collect them to have extra spending money for the trip. we told our co-workers and members about it, and within a couple months of NO extra work we'd saved about $1000. People would actually bring their recycling from home to the gym for us 🙂 Reply Join the conversation Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. 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