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13-year old from Peru wins award for recycling bank

Sometimes, children set a great example for recycling entrepreneurs. This is certainly true for the 13-year-old José Adolfo from Peru, who recently won the Children’s Climate Prize 2018. 

José Adolfo started an ‘eco-bank’ in his local community when he was seven years old. This unique venture encourages children and young adults to bring solid waste to dedicated collection points in exchange for money. The reward, paid by official recyclers, is then deposited in a bank account.

New clients of the eco bank must bring it at least 5kg of waste to set up an account. They are then expected to ‘deposit’ a minimum of 1kg of recyclables each month. Clients may choose to withdraw or save up their credits.

‘My project is a bank for children and young people that provides financial education,’ Adolfo says. ‘We teach entrepreneurship in a practical way through financial transactions and solid waste.’

Amazing impact 

At the moment, the eco-bank has 10 educational centres with more than 3 000 children as members learning to invest and manage circular economic systems. Ultimately, the teenager hopes his venture will help fight poverty while contributing to climate change goals.

His efforts have not gone unnoticed by global sustainability experts. ‘José’s eco-bank is a brilliant way of linking economy and climate impact, both in thought and practice,’ says the jury of the annual Children’s Climate Prize. ‘He allows children to take micro loans, and pay, with items that are recyclable. A system that gives children both economic independence and power to influence the climate,’ the jury adds. ‘The potential impact is amazing.’

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