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Recycling on His Cycle: Ten Year Old Vanis Buckholz

Recycling on His Cycle: Ten Year Old Vanis Buckholz
Ten-year old Vanis Buckholz collects recyclables on his bike

Any time we find someone who sets an example for ecological awareness and sustainability, we like to acknowledge them. Typically these environmental super heroes are a little older, perhaps a politician, activist or members of the scientific community. It is not often that we find someone making waves and creating inspiration the way that Vanis Buckholz has. What makes him more exceptional is that he is only ten years old.

Vanis Buckholz lives near Corona Del Mar in California, and started a revolution and a profitable business on his bicycle. Sometimes his Dad pitches in and gives him a ride in the car, but the business idea, motivation and persistence all come from the ten year old who has started to build a good income from recycling. In the process he is making his local community think twice about the environment and sustainability.

Good but Not Enough

While California is one of the more environmentally forward States with an aggressive recycling program, more than four billion recyclable containers on average still find their way to landfills.    The majority of these containers are produced by the beverage industry, according to The California Department of Resources and Recovery  and is enough to fill a 770 mile stretch of Highway I5 (every lane) about a foot thick.

California spends more than $100 million dollars a year in budget allocated for CRV for plastic containers and other recyclable materials. You can receive five cents for every bottle and can of less than twenty ounces, and larger containers get a ten cent return. That’s quite a good incentive to save and recycle yet so few Californians’ take the time to do it.

The California Department of Resources and Recovery notes that each recycled container has a positive impact on the environment:

  • For every ten pounds of aluminum you recycle, thirty-seven (37) pounds of carbon emissions are removed from the air
  • Every ten pounds of clear plastic water or soda bottles recycled removes almost four (4) pounds of carbon emissions
  • Aluminum cans sent to a landfill take 80-100 years to break down
  • Plastic bottles can take up to 700 years to decompose in a landfill site. An alarming reality few people understand.
  • Glass bottles will virtually never decompose, taking an estimated one million years to break down naturally in a landfill site.

Environmentalist and Philanthropist

Vanis Buckholz was inspired at the age of seven during a presentation at an Earth Day celebration.  Since then he has been collecting recyclable materials to return and earning between $100-$200 per month while doing good for the environment.  Whether on his bicycle or getting a ride from his Dad, the intrepid trend setter makes his returns to the Santa Ana depot, and neighbors and friends even drop off their donations at his home.  A future socialpreneur, the ten year old donates 25% of his earnings to Project Hope Alliance for homeless and misplaced families in his community.

Inspire your children by making them aware of initiatives and examples like this. Encourage their activism in a way that will create more examples like Vanis and empower the next generation of ecologically conscious citizens. It can be enterprising, educational and ecologically meaningful for your kids.

Stefanie Gomez is associated with Essentia, manufacturers of the best memory foam mattresses. She understands the importance about green/Healthy living hence she generally blogs about eco-friendly lifestyle, health/wellness, healthy and sustainable living options. She is also passionate about reading, photography, cooking, gadgets and yoga.

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