Cans for cash: How one woman raises money for Indianapolis Public Schools

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — She’s known as the “can lady” around town. You might have seen her driving around the Circle City in her truck hauling hundreds of aluminum cans. But Indianapolis resident Mary Stump is using all those cans for good!

“It’s not just trash, it’s cash. Literally when you go the scrap yard you get paid in cash,” she explained.

That’s what the north side resident has been doing for 12 years. It started when she realized Indianapolis Public Schools and students needed basic supplies.

“I couldn’t understand if our property taxes were so high, why there wasn’t enough money in the schools for things like this,” Stump said.

Since then, The Can Lady Project has raised over $80,000 for IPS by recycling and cashing in aluminum cans.

Stump says it shows Hoosiers, both young and old, recycling makes cents, in every “sense” of the word.

“It’s our responsibility to take care of the planet if you want it to still be here—one can at a time,” Stump said.

Each week, Stump goes to different businesses and schools to collect the cans that she then brings to a local recycling center. She also has bins outside her home where you can drop cans off.

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