Hawaii Teen Recycles Bottles And Cans To Fund Students’ College Tuition

When it comes to building a better world, we can definitely learn a thing or two from the young people around us.

Genshu Price has been practicing recycling for some time now, his dad suggested it as a good way to save money for his college tuition. But now he is recycling for others as he recycles thousands of bottles and cans to help other students in Hawaii reach their college dream.

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The 13-year-old from Oahu launched Bottles4College three years ago with a goal to collect and recycle 2 to 4 million cans and bottles annually to fund college tuition for up to two students. He said his project “gained traction” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“That way, it would be able to help a lot more local families, help a lot more people throughout the generations,” Price said. “People saw this as a way to give an opportunity back to local families, especially since the pandemic has hit everyone so hard, especially the kids,” he said. He has pledged to protect the environment and keep their island clean.

His mother, Maria Price, recalled how he began going around to beaches, Little League baseball games and parks, “just asking people if they’re done with their drinks,” to collect their bottles and cans, which he sorted with his parents’ help.

He has collected more than 100,000 bottles and cans and is being supported by businesses and schools, setting up drop-off depots at places like Mililani Uka Elementary School, the Kualoa Ranch nature reserve and S.W. King Intermediate School, which he attends.

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“Hawaii already has very high living costs. COVID made that even harder,” he said. “I want to give a way for students who may not … have been able to go to college by themselves.”

Bottles4College stands for four pillars: education, environment, community and lifestyle. “We’re helping the environment by recycling,” he said. “We’re helping education by providing scholarship funds for Hawaii kids and inspiring them to want to get a good education. And then you’re bringing communities together.”

It’s a lifestyle, he said, because the other pillars become a part of your life. Genshu Price is a soon-to-be eighth-grader and aspiring filmmaker; he has created a documentary highlighting his work. He shares videos and posts on YouTube to guide people on how to sort cans and bottles and encourages others to recycle.

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“We still have a little bit to go to get to the place where we want to be, but it’s definitely exciting. Every can counts, it’s one can or bottle at a time,” he said. Price said caring is even more important during challenging times. “In school, they teach you how to treat other people how you want to be treated,” he said. “And especially at a time like during the pandemic, that phrase really comes into play.”

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