Safeway Stores and Aluminum Co. of America are working together to test a new aluminum beverage can recycling system called "Cangaroo."
Cangaroo machines have been installed in Safeway supermarkets around the country, including two in Frederick, and will remain in place for the next three months.
Cangaroo is a sophisticated trash compactor. About the size of a large copying machine (48x39x28 inches), the machine is a depository for empty aluminum cans. Consumers receive one cent for each can deposited. Cangaroo prints out a credit slip that can be taken to a Safeway cashier for cash.
Cangaroo is electronically smart. It will not accept steel cans or aluminum cans that have been crushed, inserted upside-down or are partially filled. Consumers simply insert cans one at a time into a slot and push a handle and Cangaroo does the rest. The cans are counted and crushed and dropped into a storage bin that can hold over 2,000 cans.
The crushed cans are shipped to Alcoa, where they will be recycled into aluminum sheets for resale to can manufacturers.
The relatively small size of Cangaroo and its portability make it ideal for placement in a grocery store. Safeway has Cangaroos at its Prospect Shopping Center store and at 501 W. 7th St. in Frederick.
If the test proves successful, Safeway plans to install Cangaroos in as many stores as possible depending on the availability of the units, a Safeway spokesman said.
During the first nine months of 1980, more than $60 million was paid to consumers for cans returned to Alcoa's network of 700 recycling centers. During that same period, Alcoa recycled 5 billion aluminum cans.