If you want to know anything about recycling, Johanna Perrin 6th grader Noah Moretter is the guy to ask.
“If you recycle, you are doing something good for the Earth and good for your community,” the 12-year-old said. “Anyone can do it and if you are passionate about it, you can do a lot to help out.”
It would be tough to find anyone in the Town of Perinton more excited about recycling than Noah. When COVID-19 shut down the schools in March, Noah decided to spend his time collecting cans. He made some fliers and passed them out to neighbors and relatives.
“I have always been passionate about the environment and I had the time, so I thought I would help the community,” he said. “A win-win for everyone.”
Little did he know.
He started out with about 20 customers in March. Then he launched a website (https://noahsrecycling.weebly.com/) in April, and opened an Instagram account in July.
He currently has 250 customers and gets an average of 10 more each week. He collects recyclables from about 50 customers a week, and rakes in between 5,000 and 6,000 cans a week. Noah makes a monthly donation (about $50) to the Perinton Food Shelf, uses some for business expenses, including gas and more bins, and puts the rest in his college fund.
He knows what he is doing. He contacted Busch Systems in Toronto in June when he realized he would need lots of bins. Noah offered to promote the company on his Instagram and website in exchange for bins and stickers with his logo — yes, he has a logo — to put on the bins.
Noah has made educational videos for America Recycles, which is part of the Environmental Protection Agency, and he has secured a grant from General Motors to start a recycling program at JP.
Even with all his planning and hard work, Noah is shocked his business took off like it did.
“I never would have guessed, I’m super surprised,” he said. “When I first started, a customer gave me a $10 gift card. I was shocked. I never expected to get anything for myself. People are treating me like I’m a Superstar. I’m just recycling here.”
Noah has an account at Can King and after a couple of weeks of dropping cans off, he was handed a $1,000 check. Noah thought it was a mistake. It also made him realize he had a pretty good thing going.
“Now my goal is to give my customers the best service possible,” he said. “I treat my customers the way I want to be treated – you know, The Golden Rule.”
Noah lives with his parents Chris and Erin, and younger brother Aidan – who has not caught the recycling fever. Noah has been a little obsessed with garbage and recycling trucks since he was 3, when he was given some toy trucks.
“He couldn’t wait for garbage day,” Chris said. “He would go out and talk to the collectors and they all knew him by name.
“His mother and I could not be prouder of him for coming up with this idea and seeing it through. It is cool that a 12-year-old has enough passion to really stick with it. It was all his idea to make donations to the Food Shelf and he is not afraid to do anything to get his name out there, and make connections to major companies.”
Noah wanted to start a program at school, so he contacted General Motors to see if they would sponsor him. No problem. GM gave him a grant and the final steps are being taken to get the school program, which will include a compost pit, going.
“He is a fantastic kid,” JP Principal Patrick Grow said. “He is full of confidence and really wants to make this place better. He is exactly the kind of kid we want here, so mature and with a great head on his shoulders.
“And he has a plan. He doesn’t want to just drop a bucket and tell everyone to fill it. His goal here is less business and more educational.”
Noah plans to educate as many of his fellow students as possible on the importance of recycling.
“I know the students will be my hardest audience, many kids just don’t listen,” he said. “I just want to let them know how important it is to step up. I hope everyone learns the importance of recycling.”