Turning trash into cash
August 5, 2008
At age 11, Jacob Watson has evolved into an entrepreneur. Hes opened a bank account and made his first big purchase a freestyle kayak. And the best part is, the soon-to-be sixth graders economic success is inspired not by dollars, but by saving the environment. The Glenshire resident, dubbed Recycle Boy, spends one day a week on the job, circulating his neighborhood to collect recycled beverage containers and redeem the trash for cash, he said. After sharing his business plan with Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal, Watson said he got the green light to supply his neighbors with one blue recycle bag and one white trash bag every Thursday. The blue bag is for their other recyclings and the white bag is for the cans, Watson said. He then asks his neighbors to place the blue bags out for collection and leave the white bags close to the house for him to pick up and cash in on later, he said. What started out in the spring as a $9-per-week pay has now increased to an average $30, Watson said. One time, I had a really good week and got $50, said the young businessman. The lucrative endeavor has earned Watson a bank account, new clothes, a kayak and hopefully a Boy Scout trip to Catalina Island with his father at the end of the summer, he said.Watson also splurged on a new skateboard for his favorite uncle who recently returned from a mission trip in South America, he said. His long-term goals are to save enough money to follow in his uncles footsteps and do his own mission trip someday, and also to purchase a few snowboards, he said with a wide grin toward his mom. Aside from being a role model for his five siblings and learning about the value of a dollar, Watson is teaching his neighbors the importance of recycling, said his mother Elizabeth Watson.We hoped this would be more than just a way to go out and make money, but to help the community and keep people conscience about the environment, she said. Its also keeping the growing Watson family focused on the environment too, she said. Every time the kids see cans or garbage lying on the side of the road, we pull over and they all jump out and pick them up, said the mother of six, who just added a new baby boy to the clan. The business will also look good on Watsons resume, as he hopes to pursue an environmental career path someday, he said. I want to be a snowboarder and save the environment, he said.