By Montana Grant

Posted: April 15, 2023

All sportsmen love FREE stuff. Fishermen can always use more hooks, sinkers, lures, or flies. Hunters always need some extra ammo, shotshells, or gear. Every dollar saved helps.

We all know that nothing is FREE. There is always a catch. Maybe you need to do something to get something. Maybe the something is also a public service that benefits the community.

The other day, I was driving in my community and noticed dozens of aluminum cans that had emerged from the melting snow. Some were beer or soda. No one enjoys looking at the trash, so it was time to do a public service.

Picking up aluminum cans is money. Each aluminum can be recycled in exchange for a payday. It takes a bunch of cans to make a dollar, but people seem to just be throwing money on the roadside. Since most of the cans are alcohol beverages, the drivers do not want to get caught with evidence that they are driving under the influence. DUI’s are expensive as many of these litterbugs may already know. The 16 oz. cans seem to be more abundant and are worth more. It’s like picking up a can and a half.

It’s funny what you find when picking up aluminum. The “coming home from work side of the road” has mainly alcohol drinks. The “going to work side” has more sodas, energy drinks, and coffee drinks. There are also lots of banana peels on the going to work side. Same brands and flavors seem to be in the same areas.

You don’t just find aluminum cans on the roadside. I have found wallets, CD’s, credit cards, money, tie down straps, tools, welding rods, rebar, golf balls, antlers, and so much more. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. It all gets cleaned up and dealt with.

Now is the best time to be in the ditches picking aluminum and trash. The grass is flattened by the snow, there are no bugs yet, the snakes are not out, and you can see everything easily. I use a grabber that my wife got me after I had back surgery. Wearing gloves and decent boots helps. Your boots need to smash the cans flat. I never touch a can. First, I check to see if they have liquid in them. The grabber can help dump it and set it up for a size 12 smash down. Then it is up into the recyclable grocery store bag.

 It seems that most of my picking comes to a full sack of flattened aluminum every ½ mile. Walking is part of my rehab so I might as well do some good while I get ready to hunt Spring turkeys. Climbing up and down the ditches is a good workout. I pick aluminum facing traffic and wear my hunting orange for safety. Most people wave and are glad that someone is making their community a bit nicer. Good sportsmen do the same thing when hunting and fishing. We always leave a campsite better than we found it.

I have been picking up aluminum cans for years. Maybe it was my being the town Scoutmaster, a good role model and parent, or just a good citizen. It pays to be good. Having $20-$30 extra bucks can be used to treat yourself to some extra outdoor gear, without impacting the family budget. The recycling companies pay for aluminum. Some states pay more or less but you can always make a buck when you need one. My kids have always helped and they also reaped the rewards.

Not only does the community look better, I had a great paid workout. Now all I have to do is get out the nearest Bob Wards store and see what I need!

Montana Grant

New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing