How to Make Money By Adopting a Highway

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This article is part of the MH4C Writers Challenge. Since I’m taking a little break over the next few weeks, I’ve chosen ten guest articles to feature on this blog. I’d like to see which articles you like the most. If you like an article, please take a moment to ‘Like’ it on Facebook, ‘Tweet’ it, or give it a ‘Plus One’ on Google +. (To the right of the title, you’ll see each of those buttons so it should make your job easier.) The winner of the MH4C Writers Challenge is the article that has the most social media shares.

The following entry is by Edward Antrobus. Edward has spent most of his married life as a house-husband which has provided him with a unique view on personal finance and domestic life. He writes at

There are a lot of ways to make extra money on the side. There are a lot of ways to help the environment and be a good steward to the planet. What there are not a lot of, however, is opportunities to do both. Adopting a highway is a great way to clean the planet and make extra money doing so.

Adopt-A-Highway is a program where individuals or organizations sign up to pick up litter from the side of the road. The idea came from a Texas Department of Transportation engineer who witnessed trash blowing out of a truck on the road and realized that the state didn’t have sufficient resources to clean up such incidents. Instead, he organized local groups to volunteer for the job in exchange for public recognition in the form of a sign.

I work in road construction. While I was aware that litter is a big problem, when I first started I was amazed by how much trash people throw out the window of their cars. Coffee cups, plastic bags, and soda cans have become a part of our national vista. Adopt-A-Highway is a great start, but more miles of road are not adopted than are.

How Adopting a Highway Can Make You Money

Those soda cans I talked about in the last paragraph? Recycling centers will pay as much as 80 cents per pound, depending on the area and the current going scrap prices. It takes 32 aluminum cans to make a pound. Depending on how bad the stretch of road is, nabbing 1000 cans in a couple hours is not inconceivable.

On larger roads, you will find a lot more than just cans. Broken equipment, car parts, pipes… I once even saw a kitchen sink. If it’s metal, a scrap buyer will take it. Even if it’s not metal, anything that is still in good shape can be sold on eBay.

Sometimes, you will even find cash. The majority of money you find on the side of the road will be coins. Don’t ever underestimate the cumulative value of saving spare change. But, on occasion, there will also be paper currency. One of the contractors I work with found a $100 bill in November. A $100! Sure that will be a very rare find, but if you’re not looking, you will never find it.

All told, I make about $100 in a month from a dozen or so hours of work. Maybe not as lucrative as my other income streams, but those other income streams aren’t actively working to help the environment. By adopting a highway, I’m earning extra money to pay down my debts while protecting the environment. WIN-WIN.

And for a closing thought, an idea I wish I had thought of sooner. If you have your own business, adopt the road in the company’s name. That way, instead of travelers seeing that Edward Antrobus cares enough to volunteer his time to pick up litter, they would see that SEAM Publishing cares enough to volunteer. Free advertising. WIN-WIN just became WIN-WIN-WIN!


  1. says

    Really interesting perspective, Edward! I’d never have thought about these things. When I saw the subject, I was pretty intrigued. ;)


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