14-Year-Old Helps Send Teens to College by Recycling

March 29, 2022

I am a 14-year-old Hawaii kid and am doing a project called Bottles4College. It is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit that collects recyclable cans and bottles to help fund college tuition for Hawaii kids!

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Bottles4College is an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that collects recyclable cans and bottles to fund college tuition for kids in Hawaii. We go by 4 Pillars of Education, Environment, Community, and Lifestyle. It is spearheaded by me, Genshu Price, a 14-year-old Hawaii kid. This organization is a scholarship program that helps clean the environment and raises awareness towards recycling while sending students to college.

This is a collective effort and without the help of all that have supported Bottles4College would not be doing what we are doing and we still have a lot of room to grow. This all ties into a lifestyle that advocates for strong educational systems, a healthy Earth, a  cohesive community, and a healthy mindset that is about helping others and the future of this planet and all that exists on it. 

Bottles4College originally started as my dad’s idea for me to collect 1  million cans and bottles to help with my college tuition. This was inspiring already as I wanted to do something worthwhile to help the environment and was always excited about learning and wanted to go to college. However, I realized that this could be so much more and innovated the idea to what Bottles4College  is now. A scholarship program solely for other students to inspire kids in Hawaii to pursue education while cleaning the environment. The purpose of what Bottles4College is doing and the growing community of this effort inspired and inspires me still to keep going.

After originally starting in 2018, in September of 2020, the organization was revamped and Bottles4College really started to make moves to grow. Our next step is to collect more cans and bottles and have recycled over 500,000 cans and bottles by March 29th, 2022  when the 1st anniversary of Bottles4College happens. We are also trying to get grants and monetary donations to cover operational costs and get a lightweight box truck to counter transportation issues.  

The COVID 19 Pandemic really affected Bottles4College, in more ways than one. When the pandemic first hit, it halted Bottles4College altogether. For nearly all of 2020 Bottles4College was stagnant. But COVID 19 was also fuel to get going and take bigger steps for the organization as it was obvious that now of all times, hope was needed. Bottles4College started Public Drop-Off Depots at King Intermediate School in Kaneohe in fall 2020 and on New Year’s Eve 2020,  Bottles4College started our 2nd Public Drop-Off Depot at the KualoaGrown Market and Kualoa Ranch who we now directly partner with. 

The main goal of Bottles4College is to create a system within the next two years to collect at least 2-4 million cans and bottles per year so annually, one to two students in Hawaii can get a full 4-year ride to college. Other goals past that include creating an on-island processing center for recyclable material so no recyclables have to be outsourced to other countries. Bottles4College also wants to expand past the state of Hawaii to other states and countries to help as many people as possible. These goals are tentative and is more of a dream-like goal of ideals. 

What really made me create Bottles4College was the fact that the now is vital because not only does it affect us in the present, but it will affect those in the future, whether it’s near or far in the future. Here in Hawaii, and also the rest of the world, we face social problems. This includes the degrading environment, decline in educational interest and value, and financial struggles. Bottles4College wants to be a source of hope to help. Bottles4College has shown me how much commitment anything can take. This has inspired me to keep working and gives me a sense of understanding that there is so much more to do and learn. 

My plan for the future is to solidify Bottles4College as a system to help kids get to college. Overall, I do not have a specific profession or career path chosen yet, but I do know that I want to do something that I enjoy and that will help others in some way.

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