Let’s say you combine beans, peaches, carrots, and tuna. What does that get you? Exactly, a huge bridge spanning over about four meters, a globe and maybe even a large Star Wars figure.

What you thought to be a regular recipe is only a recipe for success. It goes by the name of Canstruction and is an amazing project combining charity and art. Designer Cheri Melillo (1949-2009) came up with the idea in the early 1990s and has received dozens of awards for her voluntary work ever since. “So they take cans and build stuff out of them. How is that charity?”, you might think. Glad you asked! Basically, the idea is to create artworks and sculptures out of cans, which will be exhibited it in a well-visited space, thus creating exposure for the project. Lastly, the cans will be donated to charitable organizations to feed the hungry. So it’s a win-win-win scenario!

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Feeding the Hungry Around the World – One Can at a Time

Melillo took her initial motivation from seeing that her neighborhood suffered from hunger a lot. So she started what would later become an international movement. “Each year there are now 150 Canstruction contests all around the world, organized by the local chapters, in countries like the US, Canada, China, Australia, South Korea, and Turkey”, says Canstruction Executive Director and President Carrie L. Kirk. She explains that “until 2016, more than 200M cans of food could be donated, thanks to Canstruction.”

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One Can Sculpture Can Feed Entire Cities

The contests’ rules are simple: The sculptures, each made up of about 2,000 cans on average, have to be self-supporting and constructed in 6 hours or less. Often, the exhibitions are held in shopping malls, museums or lobbies of large buildings.

In 2010, Disney set the Guinness world record with a sculpture of their most famous characters Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto which was built of 115,000 cans. In the JD Pavilion in Moline, Illinois they exhibited a farming vehicle sculpture that consisted of more than 300,000 cans: enough for 180,000 meals.

Cans Are Great for Saving Food

Relying on canned food serves lots of purposes. Cans are easily stored and can be used on demand. Thanks to their long shelf life cans are always available without going off and being thrown away uneaten. On average fresh fruit and vegetables spoil within a week. By contrast, cans outlast even their 3-year best-before date easily. Researchers also discovered that if we implement canned foods on a regular basis in our diet, we can cut food waste by 29 percent. So next time you want to do something against food waste: don’t just give it a try, give it a can!

Are you already part of the Canstruction movement? Don’t hesitate and sign up, it helps everybody!

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