The Kan Tabs for Kidney Kids project began in a small shed at Koputaroa School in 1999, quite by chance! Originally the children of the school removed the ‘tabs’ as a lunchtime detention, saving the can to fund physical education equipment through recycling. In July 2001, the first of many articles began to appear in the Lions Magazine. The focus back then was on collecting the Kan Tabs and generating revenue from the recycled aluminium. As District Governor, Terry Hemmingsen incorporated the Kan Tab symbol into his DG banner; efforts began to get better prices from the metal recyclers for the growing quantities of aluminium.
As the project progressed, so did the emphasis. Initially it was all about the collection of funds through the recycling process. But it became apparent that we should also be considering the environmental message of re-use, recycle and reduce. This lead to an entry in the Kaikoura “Trash to Fashion Awards”. Then in 2004, Terry Hemmingsen and Diane left Koputaroa and moved to National Park where they joined the Ruapehu Lions Club and so the saga continued.
In late 2007, Terry had an idea. He approached Resene Paints. There had long been an issue with people collecting the tabs and then not knowing what to do with them. Working with Resene and the Ruapehu Lions Club, they produced a 4 litre paint tin, especially designed right down to the hole in the lid for the collection of the tabs. 4,500 tins were distributed around NZ. On the 14th March 2009 the Ruapehu Lions Club launched the national distribution campaign for the Kan Tabs with the 4 litre Paint tin collection.
With 4,500 collection tins now working for the Kan Tabs for Kidney Kids Project, right around New Zealand, the volume of aluminium tabs increased dramatically. At the same time the Ruapehu Lions Club introduced the screw caps off wine bottles in to the collection mix. These too are made from aluminium that can easily be recycled. But with the introduction of the wine caps came new challenges for collection. We needed to be able to handle greater volumes but not necessarily greater weight. With the collection tins out in every community across New Zealand, the amounts of aluminium being collected continued to grow dramatically. Sorting and bagging became a massive club project for Ruapehu Lions Club members, taking 17 members over 5 hours to sort and bag 3 tonnes of tabs and caps for recycling.
Since the start of the Kan Tabs for Kidney Kids Project in 1999, the Lions estimate that in excess of 45,000kgs of aluminium has been recycled. Over $100,000 has been raised.
Ruapehu Lions Club member
Bev Johns sorting Kan Tabs from wine bottle caps.
A huge thank you to Terry Hemmingsen, to Mt Ruapehu Lions and to all Lions Clubs of NZ for your on-going support of Kidney Kids. We are most grateful for your tireless commitment to helping raise funds to support Kidney Kids and their families.
Kan Tabs for Kidney Kids Fact Sheet
- The funds raised from the project do NOT pay for dialysis. This is paid through your health tax dollars.
- The funds raised by Lions are sent to Kidney Kids of NZ to support and assist children with kidney disease including those children who have end stage kidney disease and require treatment such as dialysis and /or a transplant.
- The National Renal Paediatric Unit is at Starship Hospital, Auckland.
- There are about 3,330 tabs to a kilogram.
- The value of 3 x Kan Tabs amounts to approximately 1 cent. Remember every drop in an ocean makes that ocean. Every little bit helps to create something wonderful!
- It costs more to mail a packet of Kan Tabs than the tabs are worth. Therefore please pass your tabs on by hand through your local Lions Club. Please do not mail them.
- Most Lions Clubs and all Lions District Governors know about this project. Pass your tabs to them and they will get them to where they need to go.