Recycling Soda Cans into School Supplies


Mary Stumpp is known for hauling aluminum cans in her pickup Truck and raising money for Indianapolis schools. Her nickname is, “the Can Lady”. She will drive around the city and pick up recyclable items from stores such as cans, wires, and other metals. When she receives money for the recyclable items, she gives the money to IPS and its’ teachers. Mary believes that more important action is the recycling and raising money for schools is an additional bonus. Mary has been doing this program for ten years and has raised around $70,000 for IPS. Mary is trying to show people that recycling is a valuable economic component, and that there is good that can come from it. Mary wants to reduce the dangerous side-effects from pollution, and she views recycling as a powerful tool to do that. Mary was featured on the show, “Returning to Favor”, which highlights good deeds done by people in local communities. The show recycled her old truck and bought her a new one due to her good deeds. The new truck has helped her continue to accomplish her mission. Mary does more than just recycle. It is important for people to know that she has a primary line of work, and she takes care of her partner, Beth, who is at the end of her life. Her long-term goal is to change the way that people view recycling. For that reason, she works with children sense they are the future. They can see economic benefit of recycling for themselves and continue building good recycling habits. In Indiana Stumpp believes that recycling is a matter of convenience for people, but in states like Colorado it is more of a habit. She wants to bring the habit of recycling to Indiana. Stumpp is optimistic that one day she will drive down the streets of Indianapolis and not find 12 cans on the road.

Key Takeaways:

  • If given enough cans to help raise money for the Indianapolis Public Schools, the Can Lady will give you an iPad.
  • Recycling cans helps to clean up the environment as well as help raise money for schools.
  • The Can Lady Project’s biggest goal is to change the mindset when it comes to recycling and waste.

“[I’m] not necessarily trying to raise money, I’m just trying to show kids and people that there’s an economic component to recycling,” Stumpp said. “Recycling is really just valuable trash.”

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Articles written by SensoryEdge are a combined effort of the SensoryEdge publishing staff. At SensoryEdge our focus is to educate, inform, and inspire each person caring for children to be and do their very best. It is not always easy and sometimes we don't take action (or we take the wrong action) because of a lack of understanding the real issues. We hope that the conversations that occur here will help in some small way better the lives of children, their families, and the professionals who work with them.