I call these green garbage grabbers. They are easily made from PVC pipe, recycled banding, duct tape and a rubber band.
I sit on the board of directors for a non-profit called ALPAR (Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling) and help out with various commmunity clean up programs. I came up with the design a few years ago and made several dozen green grabbers for people to use at these events. They make a good project for a Scout Troop or the like.
They work great and can be used to pick up trash and many other objects. The video in step 5 shows me picking up a piece of scrap banding, a helium cylinder and a can of olives.
Follow the instructable steps or open the Word file for more detailed instructions.
Step 1: Materials & Tools Needed
48" recycled banding strap (1/2" or 5/8")
PVC pipe 36" long (1/2" or 3/4")
PVC elbow (1/2" or 3/4")
small sheet metal screw
Visit the dumpster of a local lumber yard or pretty much any place that gets stuff on pallets for the banding. To make this instructable I bought a 10 foot piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe that had a kink for a dime at Home Depot and a bag of 10 PVC elbows for $1.90. You should be able to build at least 3 garbage grabbers from one piece of pipe. Everything else can be scrounged and recycled from around the garage or house.
Rotary tool with cutoff wheel
Aviation snips or tin snips
Duct tape (it is a tool you know!) I found the roll in the picture at a campground last summer, so it is recycled too.
Use the bigger banding and pipe for a heavy duty model. The one shown in step 5 is a 1/2 inch model.
Step 2: Straighten Banding, Cut PVC Pipe to Length
Cut a piece of recycled banding around 48", form a 12" loop on one end and secure it with duct tape.
Cut a 6" piece of PVC pipe for a handle and a 30" piece for the body (longer or shorter depending on user).
Cut out a rectangle near the top of the long pipe (outline shown in photo) using the Dremel tool large enough for the banding to fit through (~3/4 inch wide x 2.5 inches long).
Step 3: Assembly
Put pipe together with the elbow. Align the handle with the hole cut out in step 2. Glue isn't needed, your call.
Feed the banding up through the pipe, out the hole and bend the banding to make a handle as shown in the photos or the drawing in the word file. Snip off excess.
Attach banding handle to the PVC handle with duct tape.
Step 4: Bend Tongs and Cut Grabbing Fingers
Cut the middle of the banding loop and bend the angles as shown by hand. Cut off excess.
Make a 3/8" cut in the middle of each grabbing finger.
Bend each grabbing finger slightly (1 up, 1 down) --< >--
Do the opposite to the other side so they intermesh.
Put a piece of tape on the fingers before you cut them if you don't want them to be sharp. They don't grab as well, but they're safer.
Screw a short sheet metal screw 2-3 inches below the bottom of the rectangle to secure the rubber band onto. Install rubber band(s) over banding and back onto screw. They'll spring back pretty good just from tension of the banding, but the rubber band return spring really helps.
Tweak bends as needed to make everything work. Not enough return tension, add a rubber band. not springy enough, bend banding as needed. Not grabbing good, bend the fingers as needed.
Review the Word file in step 1 for more tips.