Written by Stephen Messenger
At an age when most youngsters are just beginning to get acquainted with the world they’ve inherited, 10-year-old Vanis Buckholz was already thinking of ways he could help make it a better one for others — and grown-ups have taken notice.
After learning about the importance of recycling on Earth Day at his elementary school a few years back, Vanis began to to notice how much reusable stuff people were throwing away every day, and decided to try to make a difference. So, at the ripe young age of 7, he became one of the nation’s youngest eco-entrepreneurs, launching his very own recycling business to serve his hometown of Corona del Mar, California — thus, “My ReCycler” was born.
“The idea for my business name came from ‘cycling’ and riding my scooter around town picking up trash on our beach, streets and parks then hauling it home to recycle,” says Vanis. “My mom and dad taught me to never pollute so picking up trash was something we always did but now it’s a part of the business.”
After three years in business, My ReCycler has expanded with the help of his family, friends, and folks from throughout the region — and a trailer attached to his bike to collect his customer’s recyclables. In fact, that nowadays his trips to the recycling center are by the truckload.
But if all that wasn’t remarkable enough for such an ambitious youngster, Vanis then decided to donate a portion of the recycling profits Project Hope Alliance, an organization that provides outreach to homeless and underprivileged kids.
Itís so easy to do nothing. But itís really good to do something! I always tell my new customers that ďevery little bit mattersĒ. Even ONE bottle helps. I love my job. Iím a very lucky kid but thereís a lot of kids who donít have much luck.
“Project Hope Alliance is both amazed and humbled by the contributions and support given by Vanis to our organization,” says Executive Director Jennifer Friend. “With his support we are educating and empowering homeless children in Orange County to end the cycle of poverty. Thank you Vanis for being a shining example of hope in action”
Vanis recently spoke before city council meeting, where he was lauded by Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry: “Newport Beach is the home of some great entrepreneurs. The one tonight is particularly young, but I think is a very outstanding entrepreneur.”
This post was originally published by TreeHugger.