Michigan siblings upcycling aluminum cans into jewelry

Most of your aluminum can likely go into the recycling bin (because we’re certain you don’t just throw them in the trash!). Scott Bertelsmeyer, along with his sisters Sue, Sherry, and Shannon, thought something even more valuable could be done with those recyclables: they could serve as the drivers for economic redevelopment in their hometown of Vassar, Michigan (which, like the rest of the state, suffers from high unemployment: currently 13.7%), while still keeping them out of the landfill. Their company Cangles makes jewelry from the cans… which is now sported by celebs ranging from Paris Hilton to Kelly Rowland to Ian Somerhalder.

The Cangles line is heavy on bangles, but also features cuff links and earrings. Parts of the collection are green-themed (of course); others pay tribute to the military; and still others play off of the source of the material (Vernors, Starbucks, and Arizona Tea cans all have special pieces). All products help support local and national non-profits, such as the Vassar Area Angel Food Ministry, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Cangles sources as much material as possible from local businesses; the rest all comes from within the U.S.

You might expect something that looks homemade, but just a quick glance at their catalog (as well as the VIP purchases) shows that the Bertelsmeyer clan has an eye for design, also… the pieces are really gorgeous.

Know of other small companies dedicating themselves to community empowerment through green products? Share them with us… we’d love to know about them.

via GotApparel


  • Organic t-shirt maker HumanWear talks with us…
  • Jewelry isn’t the only product made from recycled material, of course… check out our listings of other recycled products.

Image courtesy of Cangles