Bevyn Cassidy takes the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to heart.
The 15-year-old Oak Ridge High School student started her own recycling business called “Changing This World.” She leaves recycling bins in front of businesses, at events and at meetings to collect people’s unwanted plastics, aluminum and glass. Each product is only worth a few cents but that quickly adds up and she donates the money earned to local and national causes.
“My mom had my sister do it to earn money. I thought it was really easy,” Bevyn explained. “I did it with two friends. They stopped because it was gross.”
Recycling people’s trash might not seem glamorous at times, but diligence pays off. Last year Bevyn raised $425, which she promptly donated to charity, explaining, “It’s free money, basically. Other people need it more than I do.
“Donating it is a good thing,” she added. “People throw away so much. I’d feel bad if I kept it.”
Bevyn donates to the El Dorado Women’s Center in Placerville, Project Linus (a group that makes blankets for kids) and the Sacramento Ballet, where she danced in “The Nutcracker” for eight years. Last Christmas she adopted a family to sponsor for the holiday.
“I haven’t decided what I’m going to do this year. It depends on how much money I get,” she said.
Bevyn is the leader of the “Green Team” at Oak Ridge, a group with a similar mission —to encourage students to recycle. Outside of school Bevyn has 10 bins out in the community. She said she wants people to think before they throw away. “I want people’s first instinct to be to look for the recycle can, not just go to the garbage can.”
In the future, she said she would like other people to get involved in her mission and also recycle on their own.
A year of leaving out bins in public places has taught Bevyn many tips and tricks for collecting trash. On windy days, she and her mother place stones on the bins’ lids to keep them from flying away. “One of the bins went missing,” Bevyn said. Sometimes people recycle their bottles or cans when they’re still half-full, which she said is gross if they leak out. But despite minor setbacks, Bevyn continues to faithfully place the bins beside the traditional trash cans whenever she’s able.
To her peers, Bevyn said, “You shouldn’t look down on recycling because it’s gross. It’s worth seeing people’s faces when they get their stuff (from the recycling money) because you know it will make them so happy.”
For more information about Bevyn’s cause visit her website changingthisworld.net.