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Sustaining Lives and the Planet: CannedWater4Kids Gains Momentum on Multiple Fronts


Recent 27,000-can order from Chicago scrap metal recycler boosts program started by INX International Ink Co. executive

CannedWater4Kids, a North American based non-profit initiative to generate awareness and fund projects to purify water for children in developing nations, is experiencing multi-faceted growth with new customers and sponsors, industry assistance and global recognition while helping provide clean, safe water to youngsters everywhere.

A recent order for 27,000 cans is helping the fledging program advance to the next level. U.S. school districts also are getting into the act as they promote use of sustainable resources.

“More than a billion people on our planet don’t have access to the kind of water we take for granted,” said Greg Stromberg, director sales, national accounts – metal deco for INX International Ink Co., the world’s largest maker of inks for metal decorating. “Proceeds from U.S. sales of CannedWater4Kids are used to support numerous efforts to provide access to clean water for children elsewhere in the world who sorely need it.”

Mr. Stromberg developed the idea of CannedWater4Kids (CW4K) after learning that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a child dies every eight seconds from drinking unsafe water. He says that 95 cents of every dollar donated to the program ( goes to fund projects such as drilling wells in developing nations, providing packets that help purify water, and donations to a number of globally recognized clean-water causes. One recent project partially supported by CW4K involved digging a new well in Zambia, Central Africa.

People in the U.S. who purchase CannedWater4Kids are treated to pure spring water from a 300-year-old underground glacier. It comes in a sustainable, infinitely recyclable container, another benefit highlighted by the program’s largest single order to-date.

South Chicago Iron and Metal, owned by brothers David and Anthony Giordano, recently ordered 27,000 cans and plan to distribute 100,000 cans per year. Since starting their firm over two years ago, the Giordanos have been providing their scrap suppliers with food and water in plastic bottles.

“I wasn’t happy with plastic bottles,” David Giordano said. “We’re a metal recycling yard, but our attempts to find canned water were frustrating until my wife Sue discovered CannedWater4Kids on the Internet.”

Now the company’s suppliers (300 to 500 per day) get their water in colorful CW4K aluminum cans. Not only does this keep thousands of plastic bottles out of landfills, but the cans conveniently could be sent right back into the recycling process at South Chicago Iron and Metal.

Aluminum cans already are the world’s most recycled beverage containers with a 54.2% rate in 2008, according to The Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). A properly recycled aluminum can could be placed back on store shelves — remade into an all-new, filled and distributed container — in as few as 60 days. Compared to generating new metal, making a new recycled can requires 95% less energy, and produces 95% less emissions and 97% less water pollution.

“Even as CannedWater4Kids makes a meaningful difference by helping provide safe drinking water for youngsters who sorely need it, this program also continues to demonstrate our company’s leadership and commitment to sustainability worldwide,” said Rick Clendenning, INX International president and CEO. “It is also achieving the added goal of generating industry-wide recognition and support among manufacturers, their customers, trade press and related organizations.”

Crown Packaging helped get Stromberg’s CW4K initiative off the ground by donating pallets of cans. Ball container will provide 80,000 to 90,000 cans for the program in late September of this year, and Rexam has committed to supply a similar quantity to CW4K.

“Contributions such as this are absolutely vital to our success, and a major reason why 95% of the profit from our sales goes directly to help fund clean water projects around the world,” said Mr. Stromberg. He added that individual on-line purchases of 12-packs and 24-packs at are increasing. Visitors to the site can donate directly to CW4K and no purchase is needed. When CannedWater4Kids information was recently posted on another internet site, Stromberg said the organization received nearly $500 in individual donations.

Sustainability also rings a bell with school districts, notably Minnesota’s West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Egan Area Schools. A recycling program was kicked off earlier this month and will continue through the season at a local high school football games.

“In keeping with the district’s commitment to sustainable use of our resources, plastic water bottles will be replaced by water packaged in more eco-friendly aluminum cans at the concession stand during home football games,” said district energy manager Lisa Johnson while noting the water will be supplied by CW4K. “When someone buys a can of CannedWater4Kids purified spring water, they not only help the environment, but help bring clean water to those who are without.”

On the corporate landscape, INX International heads a growing list of Midwest companies ordering case quantities for their facilities, further spreading the word among their own customers attending meetings as well as other corporate visitors. One relationship that may lead to further global developments is a 10-case purchase by Roeslein, a St. Louis, MO-based leading global concept-to-completion builder of manufacturing facilities. Its lengthy list of overseas aluminum and steel container manufacturing plants includes Ball, Crown, and Rexam.

CannedWater4Kids also is attracting additional global attention. The CW4K container was nominated for a 2009 beverage innovation award at drinktec 2009, the world’s largest beverage and food container technology show, which took place last week in Munich, Germany. “It was an honor to be selected for this competition,” Mr. Stromberg said. “The additional exposure in this global setting is a ‘win’ for our CannedWater4Kids program and most of all, for our mission to help make a real difference to children in countries around the world.”