For the past three years, Cans-4-A-Cause founder Jeff Myjak has been collecting empty beverage containers and handing over the proceeds to worthy causes. In 2020, he amassed over $20,000 in redeemable bottles and cans, which aided local nonprofits such as the Portland Food Bank, Shepherd Home for Veterans, a local domestic violence shelter, and many more.
“I focus on groups and people that really need help,” said Myjak. “We take bottles and cans to the redemption center and all the money we collect is then given to these area programs — we keep nothing. Nothing is given to a national program; it all stays local.”
Myjak started Cans-4-A-Cause after finding out that 50 percent of beverage containers in Connecticut are not exchanged for their five cent deposit. When Myjak discussed the reasons for such a low redemption rate he said that most people either “don’t want to be bothered with the machines” or think that “if they put the containers into recycling that indeed someone is redeeming them.”
“And my favorite is when they say — ‘It’s only a nickel!’”
But these nickels add up. According to the state Department of Revenue Services, each year $36 million worth of bottle deposits go unclaimed. That’s about $10 for every man, woman and child in the state.
Myjak collects bottles and cans from Middletown, Cromwell, Berlin, Middlefield and Durham. Many residents leave containers by his house at 124 Westmont Drive, Middletown, but also have the option to leave them at the Red Barn Center at 352 Main St., Durham; or Portland Senior Center at 7 Waverly Ave. Also, Myjak is happy to pick cans up at a preferred location.
Compared to its first year of operation, in 2020 Cans-4-A-Cause increased donations to local nonprofits by 233 percent. During a recent two-week stretch, Myjak received some 25,000 containers, which will be redeemed for $1,250. He intends to further spread awareness about his organization and expand the coverage area by collecting bottles from Glastonbury, East Hartford, Meriden and Southington.
“There are other programs in the area that also collect bottles and cans,” said Myjak. “We are not looking to take away from those programs. We are trying to provide more reasons for people to not throw bottles away. Whether you are a resident or a business, please consider saving those nickels. They add up and there are a lot of ways they can be put to good use.”
For more information about Cans-4-A-Cause or to arrange a bottle pick-up contact Jeff Myjak at 860-788-7891 or email@example.com.