The coronavirus pandemic has shaken America from her bootstraps and forced countrymen to come up with innovative methods heretofore not practiced. Some of the creativity comes in large sizes, some in medium sizes and some may be considered small.

American Legion Post 257 in Battle Creek, Mich., came up with what seemed like a small idea at the outset, but one that has turned out to be a jumbo-sized contribution to the post, city residents as a whole and the community environment.

When an executive order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suspended collection by retailers of the cans and bottles as an effort to stop the spread of the virus, residents started to post comments on Facebook about the “real mess” at the bottle returns when the suspension is lifted. So post members saw it from a different viewpoint. They saw it as an opportunity not only do a fundraiser but to help get the collection of cans and bottles out of their house.

Post Commander Brian Mohlman said the project started off slowly but soon caught on and has grown into a big success.

“They come by truck load and we don’t even have to promote it,” said Mohlman, adding that a dilemma for the Legion post now is to find out what to do with them. In the early stages, the collection project brought in more than 60,000 bottles and cans and eventually topped 100,000. He noted residents across Michigan are accumulating refundable cans once filled with soft drinks and beer.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the returns were suspended for fear that the virus could remain on the surface and spread to grocery store workers who handled them.

The Legion Post plans to use the refund money from their collection to help pay for the building they bought earlier this year.

The post estimates it has more than $10,000 in cans. Others estimate that $50 million in cans and bottles are being held by residents across Michigan, just sitting to be returned, according to the Free Press.

Michigan was the only state not redeeming. Nine other states have deposit programs.

“The state created this mess and they should have some type of program to get this mess cleaned up,” said Mohlman.

For now, though, American Legion Post 257 has a unique plan to help that state keep the environment from being overrun with refundable cans and bottles. And the veterans organization is making money in the process.

We salute post members fro creating an uncommon project that helps them make money for a post home, helps residents get rid of cans and bottles, and helps the state maintain its environmental goals.