In New York State, the 1983 Bottle Bill encourages recycling by charging a refundable deposit $0.05 on most drink containers purchased.

Thus, the 1983 Bottle Bill allows disadvantaged people in New York City to scrape together a living by collecting and redeeming cans and bottles discarded by others. This work has come to be known as “canning.”

The activity of canning is physically demanding, emotionally demeaning and logistically complex. Yet, for many non-English speaking immigrants and people living on the streets this is the only available source of income.

Sure We Can (SWC) helps canners make a living by redeeming returnable bottles and cans and pays these New Yorkers the full $0.05 refund per container– as required by law- and up to 20-25% added value for sorted containers, which is not required by law. More importantly, though, SWC treats them with respect and care.

After cans are sorted and redeemed, SWC schedules pickups with distributors that represent the manufacturers of the original products.

Distributors only pick up the redeemed containers in pre-sorted bulk units and reimburse SWC the $0.05 refund paid to its clients. An additional payment of $0.035 per container -handling fee- goes towards the sorting fees and overhead.

This per-item handling fee is SWC’s only source of income, other than donations and grants.