Nickles on the Sidewalk

My little Scottish Terrier has a thick coat of black hair and short legs.  This is why I often take her for walks in the evening when the sun is not a factor. We often travel a different route every time to avoid monotony and explore less traveled side streets.

Once a week the good citizens of my town drag their “yellow buckets” to the curb for recycling. Some of you have green buckets, some have blue tubs, we have yellow buckets.

On one of my walks with my little Scottie companion I happened to glance into someone’s bucket. I was shocked to find  that these people were tossing soda bottles and beer cans in there! I respect that they are opting to recycle, but they are tossing money out into the street. Convinced that it was a fluke I continued to walk and peered into a few more buckets. I found that it was fairly common. Some people would rather not deal with the hassle of gathering up all their cans and bottles and making the trip down to the local super market for deposit redemption.

In other people’s laziness we can find opportunity. Not necessarily for us as adults, I think people might object to a grown person picking through their recyclables. In some areas this behavior might even be against the law. My idea is for your children.

In the early evening break out your red wagon and go for a walk with your kids. They could travel from bucket to bucket pulling out the redeemable items. Make sure you bring some hand sanitizer. You could set a goal of 200 cans or bottles. If every bucket had 5 items in them it would take about 40 buckets to hit your goal.  At a nickle a piece this would bring you $10.00 or $40.00 a month. Not to shabby.

You could use this money to buy him/her ice cream, a sweet rewards for a job well done. Perhaps you could save up the money and let you son/daughter use the funds to buy themselves a big ticket item like a phone or video game. Even better,  they could take the family out to dinner or use it to buy Christmas gifts for everyone at the end of the year.

This not only takes a small financial burden off of you. It gives you the opportunity to teach your young child about hard work and it fills them with a sense of pride. How do you think your son/daughter would feel if after having  a nice meal with the family they asked for the check and paid or bought themselves a pair of sneakers with “their” money? You’d be surprised, pleasantly so.

Give it a try, at the very least you will go for a nice walk with your kids.







1 Comment

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  • Joseph Kaufman

    I know it is nuts to post a comment on a post almost three years old, but I wanted to point out that taking other people’s recyclables is generally considered theft (state laws may vary, of course). Recyclables are not trash — ownership of the goods is transferring from the homeowner to the recycling center. So, you are stealing from an “owner” of the goods one way or another, and it doesn’t matter how old you are (except of course that your children would not be charged as adults if taken in for the crime *smile*).

    Now, collecting trash from ditches, parks, gutters, and creek banks is a completely different issue AFAIK. If your children want to pick up refundables and really work for every nickel, have at it. In some cases, that is why states implemented the deposit system in the first place — to cut down on litter.