We tore open four bags of cans and counted 256 uncrushed cans into the cart. 256 is a loose-packed fill to the top edge. This is known as "grain-capacity" in the shopping cart business. We could have fit a few more, if we had stacked them carefully and evenly, using the latest configurations in the U.C.S.B. beeramid engineering database.

Already, we were making startling scientific discoveries: One can carry more beer with a shopping cart full of cans than with a keg-in-a-kart.

256 beer cans:

24 gallons


15½ gallons

How much is inside a keg?

An average can weighed 13.3 grams.

MM! Just looking at these pictures makes me thirsty for soda! I love soda!

Next, we dumped out the cans and started crushing. I figured we would be able to fit 2-3 times as many cans into the cart if they were crushed flat.

My neighbors probably hated this. This was louder than the car rolling over.

If my neighbors had called my landlord again maybe I'd have been in trouble. Maybe this experiment would be a prelude to actual homelessness.

"Iron hands" Eric smashed them. Nick "Leadfoot" crushed them, and I, Rob "The Crinkler" Cockerham mashed them!

Our infant children, "Thirsty" Jonas and "Crazy legs" June also helped.

It was an extraordinarily hot day, and crushing hundreds of aluminum cans took a really long time, and a surprising amount of effort. 

This was loud, thirsty work.

The cart was slowly filling up with crushed aluminum cans.

With 526 cans flattened, we took a break. 

I was ready for a cold soda. I really love soda!

We were exhausted. We needed to re-think our crushing strategy, but we were too proud to consult a homeless dude.

Finally, a plan was hatched. We would use the tires on Nick's Passat to crush long lines of cans!

This is probably how German homeless people crush their cans.

In no time, we lined up 171 cans in my driveway and Nick was poised to crush the California land speed-recycling record.

Nick's precision driving nailed both rails of cans. It was magnificent!

Fresh ground pepper.