Tabs for Recycling

Committee Chair: Margot Eckert

Giving Back

Our Tabs committee has the rewarding responsibility to collect aluminum tabs from local members as well as Garden Club Federations of Massachusetts members across the state and delivering them to Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield.   Proceeds from the sale of the tabs is used to purchase needed equipment.  


By Margot Eckert

As published in the GCFM Mayflower and SGC Iris Pedlar October 2021

The gardeners of Massachusetts have “pulled” through again this past year. This summer, over 60 pounds of pull-tabs were collected and delivered to the Shriner’s Hospital in Springfield, a new record. 

For those of you new to the Pull-Tab Project, here is some background. Shriners Hospitals for Children, located throughout North America, have been serving children with complex and specialized healthcare needs since 1922. These include orthopedic and neuromuscular conditions and burn injuries to name just a few. As part of that commitment, all care and services are provided regardless of a family's ability to pay or insurance status. We are indeed fortunate to have a Shriners Hospital here in Springfield. To provide the care and research to accomplish its mission, the Shriner’s network has fundraisers and accepts donations. Aluminum pull-tabs are among the donations accepted. 

I took over the Pull-Tab Project from the wonderful Audrey Rich several years ago. I was a rookie gardener, and I selected a committee that didn’t involve flower design! I asked Audrey how a tiny tab could count for anything. After all, a single tab in your palm hardly weighs anything. Audrey explained that the thousands of tabs collected at the Shriners Hospital in Springfield are periodically collected by a metal recycling company which converts the weight to the prevailing value for aluminum. Then a monetary donation – the value of the tabs at that time – is returned to Shriners Hospital to fulfill one of their many needs. 

Thank you, Beate Bolen, for picking up the many boxes and bags from the office of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts in Waltham and delivering the same to my house. Each one of the boxes and bags was labeled with the garden club which collected the tabs. Covid and quarantines had clearly not stopped our gardeners! 

Before I packed my own car, I wanted to know how much. I stepped onto my bathroom scale with each bag or box and subtracted my own weight. The tally was 61 .3 pounds. I happily delivered the trove to the delivery dock at Shriners Hospital. My strong son, Nate, helped. At some point, the tabs from our garden clubs will be collected with the other tab donations, and converted to dollars for pediatric equipment, child life programs, or whatever are the current needs as determined by the local chapter of The Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America Helma Court No. 64 which oversees the recycling tabs project for the hospital. 

Thank you garden clubbers from all over Massachusetts. Keep up the good work. Every little tab helps