Everything Has Value

Every time I see a beverage can littered somewhere, I think of can collectors. Yes, the men who would go around collecting cans in a large cart or large bag to take to the cash-for-cans machine. Why don’t I ever see them anymore? Why are so many areas totally littered with cans? Is it because they no longer have any value? Is there too much other trash to wade through everywhere? Or is it just not convenient enough to be worthwhile?

When I was younger, my family used to save our cans and take them to a cash-for-cans machine at the supermarket. We saw it there regularly, and the big “CASH FOR CANS” sign made it obvious that cans had value.

An ugly version of the cash-for-cans machine

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen one of those machines in a long while. These days cans are just a nuisance and once they’ve served their purpose they all too often get tossed into a trash bin, on the ground, or even in the creek. 😦

How do we make it obvious again that things have value and shouldn’t just be thrown away? Should I start a business with these cash-for-can machines to drive awareness? Maybe those states that have a deposit fee are on to something?

Anyhow, my point is that everything has value. If something is laying on the ground, it can still have value. Even if most people can’t see it, those cans are valuable resources. The plastic bottles too. Even the polystyrene foam cups.

… Although even I don’t bother trying to find a recycling home for those. If it’s foam, I just throw it in the trash can. I may feel a twinge of disappointment, but that’s my limit at the moment.

But to close on a happier note, I’d like to share the story of one resource whose value I have done my best to honor. I have previously shared some examples of reusing old tshirts by means of tshirt yarn creations, but I’ve since learned to take it one step further.

Disassembling the seams

By practice disassembling tshirts to make tshirt yarn, I’ve discovered that there’s a way to undo the hem such that you can often salvage longer threads for reuse. And I now have several different colors in a baby food jar either for necessities or for embroidery practice.

Bonus thread!

Just this week I used some of my tshirt thread to hem up my most recent jeans acquisition. Sure, these little pieces of thread wouldn’t have maxed out the landfill but being able to find another purpose for them sure felt good.

4 thoughts on “Everything Has Value

  1. bastantenj August 23, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    In New Jersey we don’t have a can or bottle deposit either, and I can’t say I’ve ever seen a cash-for-cans bin anywhere. The closest thing I’ve seen is a machine in the mall where you can recycle your small electronic devices and get a little cash back immediately. Starting a cash-for-cans bin business sounds like a good idea to me 🙂 You’d get a higher value “product” than recyclables that go through a single-stream or mixed recycling process.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy August 23, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    Your blog is so inspiring. It reminds me of the war-time slogan “make do and mend”. There’s no reason to lose sight of that thrifty mindset just because everything is now in surplus. I keep hair ties that I find on the street (you see loads surprisingly) and I give them a wash and keep using them! No point in throwing out something that still has so much life left.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Deborah Ray August 24, 2016 / 2:13 pm

      Thanks, Amy! Yeah, some folks would be surprised at just how much you don’t need to buy if you’re willing to give things a good wash. 🙂


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