Americans have thrown away 161 million tons of materials in one year. Fortunately, young entrepreneurs like 10-year-old Vanis Buckholz are trying to change that.
Vanis Buckholz is from Corona del Mar, California, a state with impressive recycling statistics. According to the California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery, nearly 22 billion California Refund Value (CRV) eligible containers were sold in 2009 and more than 17 billion were recycled. Unfortunately, that still leaves four billion recyclable goods uselessly piled up in landfills.
When Vanis was seven-year-old he learned more about our country’s need for improving recycling habits when his elementary school celebrated Earth Day. It inspired Buckholz to start his own recycling business called My ReCycler. The inspiration for the company name came from Buckholz “cycling” around town, collecting trash in plastic bags that he hung from his scooter handlebars. He started collecting litter from beaches or parks and eventually, he introduced himself to business owners and pitched his plans.
Three years later, Buckholz’s business has expanded. Now 10-years-old, Buckholz has a bicycle with a trailer that he uses to collect recycled goods. He now collects recyclable materials from friends, family members, and businesses throughout the region like the local community centers and the local senior center. Some neighbors even drop off items at his house as well. With all the additional business Vanis has been busy. He spent two to three hours a day collecting and sorting items during the summer.
According to Corona Del Mar Today, Buckholz takes his recyclables to the OC Recycling in Santa Ana every few weeks, where he earns between $100- $200 per visit. He then uses 25 percent of the profits to cover business costs like “garbage bags, containers, hand sanitizers and bungee cords.” He spends some of the money on treats for himself and puts portions of the profits in savings.
Buckholz is not only a budding eco-activist; he’s also a philanthropist. He donates 25 percent of My ReCycler profits to Project Hope Alliance, a non-profit that “helps homeless and unstably housed children and their families reach self-sufficiency through education, support services and community advocacy.” He’s already donated $1,000 thus far.
If you would like to learn more about this eco-entrepreneur, consider visiting his website at myrecycler.org.
Main photo credit: My Recycler