Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Here in Northern Michigan we like to go canning in the Spring. Of course this is not the run of the mill canning of fruits, vegetables or meats. Instead, we are going after a much more valued item then can be found almost anywhere. I am of course talking about cans and bottles that have a deposit on them (it is ten cents in Michigan). Spring canning is a tradition in my home state. All you need is a sack and a pair of plastic gloves(these gloves can be reused if washed in sanitized water).

Any grocery store that sell items with a deposit on them is required to take the same exact bottle/can back and give the person bringing said bottles/cans back, ten cents each(this is Michigan law so check the laws in your own state). Of course you can check around to find out which stores take back the most brands so you don't have to travel all over town to take back all the bottles/cans you pick up. I know of one elderly man that waits around in grocery stores and volunteers to take off your hands those bottles/cans that the store you are at will not give you deposit money for because they do not carry the particular brand. This might be a way of easy canning but, it might not be kosher with your grocer. Many grocers will make extra money off cans left behind at bottle machines that are not accepted. Grocers will wait until they have perhaps a few hundred dollars in bottles/cans that their store does not sell and will then take a trip to the competition to make some quick cash.

In the spring, cans and bottles pop up out of the snow banks along roadways, paths, boat landings, parking lots, and parks/recreation areas of all types. It is just like going out and picking up dimes all over the place. Sometimes coins are also lying around in the Spring which you could just consider a bonus. Why be poor when there is so much money laying on the ground.

Canning is not just a Springtime hobby. Many people make a good supplemental income picking up cans year around. I was once told by a serious year around caner that he supplemented his income by $15,000 per year. He and his son went canning every weekend. The money was used for the boys college education.

I know many elderly people who supplement their incomes by canning. Many people don't have the health to work out at a job or run a business when they are elderly. Canning is a job you can do at your own pace and it is not too physically difficult yet, does provide a good deal of overall exercise. An idea, instead of jogging down that trail or path every morning, why not take along a sack and a pair of gloves to pick up cans and bottles. You'll get exercise and make money at the same time.

Personally, every time I go fishing I always search the area around my fishing hole for bottles and cans. Once I found a plastic sack full of bottles and cans lying in the woods near a public boat launch. The sack had been lying there a long time and had been partially covered up with dirt and leaves but, there were enough bottles and cans in the sack to pay for the gas I used on my fishing trip. Since then I make it a goal to find enough cans/bottles to pay for my gas each time I go fishing.

I also enjoy going to all the festival places in Northern Michigan. Of course I don't go to festivals to spend money. I go to festival hot spots after the festival is over so I can make money off the dropped change and those beautiful big dimes called cans.

I hope everyone is as excited about canning as I am. It is great family fun. Make a picnic out of a weekend canning expedition to a park. The trip may pay for itself. Besides, you will get to enjoy the great outdoors with your family and teach good citizenship at the same time. After all, canning is a sport created by our society to help clean up our environment.

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