Helping keep materials out of the landfills are Erek Hansen (center) with BGSU's Brooke Mason (left) and Nicholas Hennessy.
It was the proverbial match made in heaven: a young boy with an ambitious recycling project, and BGSU with pounds of leftover shoes and clothing from its annual "When You Move Out, Don't Throw It Out" collection.
On June 6, 10-year-old Erek Hansen of Curtice arrived at the Harshman Quad loading dock with his mother, Amy, and a large pickup truck to gather a truckload of bags of mate-less socks, shoes, torn blue jeans and worn bedding. They were met by Dr. Nicholas Hennessy, campus sustainability coordinator, and intern Brooke Mason, a senior from Piqua majoring in environmental policy.
"These are things left over from almost a month of collections that were not claimed by the charities we donate to but that we hate to throw away," Hennessy explained.
Now the denim and other fibers will be adapted into insulation for homes built by Habitat for Humanity and other organizations, and the shoes will be sorted and sent to people in third world countries or recycled into materials for recreational surfaces.
"I want to conserve resources and save the planet," Erek said. "By recycling we also conserve energy."
This is the third summer Erek and his family have held denim collections and the first that they have added shoes to their efforts. His first drive earned him a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. His efforts continue to attract attention. Erek was recently featured in the Huffington Post.
"I wish I had been as inspired as he is when I was 10," Mason said. "We need more kids like him."
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