At Northampton recycling center, a can-do cancer drive

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton moves a bag of returnable cans Tuesday at his collection site at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton collects a donation of returnable cans Tuesday at his collection site at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton and Ruthy Woodring of Florence organize donations of returnable cans and bottles Tuesday at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton and Ruthy Woodring of Florence organize donations of returnable cans and bottles Tuesday at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton and Ruthy Woodring of Florence organize donations of returnable cans and bottles Tuesday at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton organizes recyclable bottles and cans inside a walk-in container Tuesday at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton organizes recyclable bottles and cans inside a walk-in container Tuesday at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton organizes recyclable bottles and cans Tuesday at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Duane Ranney of Northampton and Ruthy Woodring of Florence organize donations of returnable cans and bottles Tuesday at Valley Recycling in Northampton. He is raising money for his Cans 4 Cancer charity. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/30/2020 2:14:33 PM

NORTHAMPTON —  In recent days, Duane Ranney could be found underneath a tent at Valley Recycling collecting bags and bins of empty liters of soda, beer bottles, seltzer cans and other returnables. He stores them in a large green walk-in container at the recycling center.

“Cans are like gold,” he said. “They’re worth a nickel.”

He doesn’t just see money in the heap of recyclables, he also sees the chance to help people. Ranney has been collecting returnables since early March for a project he is starting, Cans 4 Cancer 2.0 — he said the “2.0” is to distinguish his project from others with similar names.

Ranney is currently going through his second bout with cancer. When he got a medical bill, he thought to himself, “I’m not alone — I’m not the first person to get cancer. I’m definitely not the last.”

He plans to cash in the returnables and use the proceeds to help low-income and elderly people with their cancer-related medical bills. The public is able to drop off bottles and cans for the project at the recycling center.

“I’m getting free money from people throwing things away every day,” he said. “I’m going to turn around and help other people who have cancer.”

He added, “I’m trying to do something really good from the ground up.”

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.




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