It isn't exactly Dumpster Diving, but I've been making it a point to pick up all the discarded aluminum cans my wife and I come across on our trice a week one mile walk. We drop them off with the lady who bought the surplus store from us and she combines them with the ones she gets from the collection barrel next to the Coke machine in the store and donates them to the church. There's hardly a day we walk that I don't come back with at least one (picked up four today) aluminum can.
Just an update on our recycling of aluminum cans that eventually go to the church. I said I averaged one discarded can per one mile walk, but that was just a number I picked off the top of my head. I've been more or less keeping track since then and there is seldom a day I come home with less than two aluminum cans. When we do an extra long walk in a different direction we'll often find five or six cans. Yesterday I found four along the usual route.The Monday after Easter I found enough cans to fill about a quarter of a 30 gallon trash sack in the five trash barrels around a nearby park. The park had been full of people all day Easter and they'd filled the trash barrels. I could have found more cans if I'd have been willing to dive deeper, but there was a lot of food mixed in with the trash and I didn't want to get dirty.And I actually filled a 30 gallon trash sack with aluminum cans when I visited a ponding area near our home. I discovered that the rain water had been washing aluminum cans into the area directly in front of the sidewalk drains. It took the better part of an hour but I finally filled the sack and staggered home with my treasure.A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a little unofficial park complete with benches, trees and trash barrels between two government (city & state) compounds that is a gold mine er... aluminum mine. Seems like the workers constructed it themselves from leftover parts from other projects. It's watered and mowed and has three trash barrels which are full of empty glass beer bottles (useless to me) and empty aluminum beer cans which I covet. I've "mined" a dozen or two aluminum cans every time I visit the "park" following one of their after work parties.I call my (now) daily walks "My Trifecta" because A. I get exercise which is good for me.B. I clean up the neighborhood which is good for the neighborhood.C. I donate the cans to the church lady who adds them to the ones she collects from the store and the church does 'churchy' things with the money it gets from selling the collected cans which is good for the entire community.DesertDave's Helpful HintIn the entrance lobby of the Cracker Barrel restaurants they sell a handy dandy little plastic toy "robot arm" made by a company called "Toysmith" which is a toy version of those long grabbers they use in stores to grab stuff off of high shelves. The arm is only about 18 inches long, but I don't have to bend over so far to pick up cans or put my arm into park trash barrels. IIRC the thing cost me less than six bucks.
It seems fitting that I should upload this on the day before everyone goes on their Easter Egg hunt. I'll be out there too; picking up aluminum Easter "eggs" with my robot grabber arm.Here's another update on my exercising / can collecting efforts. I've come to realize that although in the beginning I started picking up empty aluminum cans while on my walks out of boredom they have now become the focus of my exercise walks. We walk the same one mile route through the neighborhood everyday (yup seven days a week now) and it ain't like walkin' through the woods. At least walking through the woods I have a chance to see wild birds rabbits, squirrels and maybe an occasional deer or something. All we've got in my neighborhood is White-winged doves that have become so tame they're more like pigeons and backyard dogs for whom my passing on the public sidewalk provides (seemingly) the only entertainment of the day so they bark (and bark and bark) appreciatively.(I've found that calmly saying "Hello dog" several times as I approach, pass and leave seems to, over time, accustom them to my presence so that at least the medium sized dogs eventually come to tolerate my passing. All the smaller dogs and Chihuahuas refuse my entreaties for peace and yap incessantly. Also, where there's one dog barking others will join in even though they can't see what they're barking at. One even barks while running in a small circle so as to be sure to bark at his target.)At any rate, I've found that picking up empty aluminum cans is the thing that keeps me walking. I've no doubt that if I was simply walking that same boring route day after day I'd have stopped long ago.Picking up empty aluminum cans turns boring walks into treasure hunts. Although I come back empty handed some days, often as not I return with a can or two; sometimes a dozen or more. And since the church lady donates them to a good cause for me the whole thing becomes my Trifecta:1.) I get exercise which is good for me.2.) I clean up the neighborhood which is good for the neighborhood.3.) I donate the cans to the church lady who donates them to church which does 'churchy' things with the money from selling the cans which is good for the entire community.(Blast from the past)DesertDave's Helpful HintIn the entrance lobby of the Cracker Barrel restaurants they sell a handy dandy little plastic toy "robot arm" made by a company called "Toysmith" which is a toy version of those long grabbers they use in stores to grab stuff off of high shelves. The arm is only about 18 inches long, but I don't have to bend over so far to pick up cans or put my arm into park trash barrels. IIRC the thing cost me less than six bucks. http://boards.fool.com/just-an-update-on-our-recycling-of-al...------------------------------------My trusty ol' grabber arm lost a rubber tip on one of its claws and a few weeks ago the plastic handle developed a crack so I replaced my "robot arm" grabber at the Cracker Barrel the other day. It was $5.99 + tax back then, the new one was $6.99+ tax.But I'm not complaining because the longer metal commercial versions of the grabber arm I've seen cost ten to twenty dollars.
For the past several years I've noted that the crowd that gathers near the public park to watch Fourth of July fireworks is a bunch of litterbugs as far as discarding empty beer cans is concerned.So, on this fifth of July I made it a point to route my walking/exercising path to the park. Sure enough I wasn't disappointed. I'd taken one larger than usual plastic bag with me, but it soon became apparent that it would be insufficient. Luckily a discarded plastic "T-shirt" bag presented itself and I managed (just barely) to stuff all the easy to reach cans into the two bags.If I feel up to it I may run the same route again tomorrow to police up the ones that got away today.
For the past several years I've noted that the crowd that gathers near the public park to watch Fourth of July fireworks is a bunch of litterbugs as far as discarding empty beer cans is concerned.It's amazing how messy people can be.We watched the fireworks down at our private city beach, though there are a lot of tourists in town, and it looks like they stopped checking IDs at 8pm.Anyways, people sat down next to us, and one of the guys had a big oversized sized beer can. Our youngest daughter is 20 months, and she points out anything that we drop or spill or whatnot. When the fireworks ended, and people were packing up, she started squawking (still has a very limited vocabulary) at the beer can. But that didn't phase the guy, even though there was a recycling can 30 feet away in 2 different directions.He left it!As did a lot of people on the beach that night!Our families stuck around a few minutes to gather up all the blankets and little ones. On our way out, I grabbed our one cup, along with several other cups close by and the can, and dropped them into the recycling as we passed it.While picking up all the recycling people leave can be lucrative for some, I'd really wish the stuff just made it into the trash or recycling in the first place.Aaron
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