The Ithaca “Can Man” no longer can make a living, as reported by The Cornell Sun:
Joel Harlan — whose assistant calls him the “Can Man” — has collected empty cans and bottles from Cornell’s fraternities, as well as other locations in Ithaca and around Central New York, for 25 years.
In his heyday, Harlan says, he made $500 a week by collecting and redeeming empty cans — a job that he calls “picking.”
“I’m more or less the king of the can pickers,” he said. “When I die, I’m going to be dying a legend.”
But times are getting tough. Police ticket his van when he picks cans in Collegetown. The University prohibits him from picking on its property. And now, this semester, fraternities are holding fewer large parties due to strict new University regulations — adding another pressure to Harlan’s declining livelihood.
Another victim of Wall Street greed. Oh, wait.