Dumpster diving for aluminum can tabs behind Mayfield Heights City Hall with his mother Diane was a first for 14-year-old Raanan Shalom, and once was enough, Raanan said.
“We were wearing gloves, so it’s not like we were touching all of the cans,” he said. “It was, I wouldn’t say ‘fun,’ but it was a really cool experience, and after we did it once I was kind of like, ‘OK, it’s not worth it.’”
However, he continued to collect tabs. He isn’t sure exactly how many he collected, but he stopped counting after he hit 2,000.
Raanan, a Mayfield Heights resident and B’nai Jeshurun congregant, became a bar mitzvah in March 2011. He donated the can tabs he collected to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.
“I just felt really good that I could help out and I felt that I reached my goal,” he said. “I thought towards the beginning, it was a little more challenging trying to figure out all the different places I could go to get the can tabs and what reactions I would get, but towards the end I realized it was a very simple thing and it was actually a really good thing.”
The Ronald McDonald house receives a penny a piece for every tab it donates to the aluminum recycling companies.
A year after Raanan’s bar mitzvah project, people still send in can tabs periodically.
“When we get a huge bag, we just go and dump it off,” Diane Shalom said. “It was nice to see that you can make a difference even doing something very simple.”