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Hawaii teen recycles cans, bottles to raise college tuition money, but not just for himself

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 3:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2021 at 3:55 PM CDT
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HONOLULU (KHNL/Gray News) - Thirteen-year-old Genshu Price is a wizard at recycling. The Punaluu teenager started doing it three years ago, at his father’s urging.

“It was my dad’s idea to collect cans and bottles to fund my college tuition,” he told KHNL.

But that idea morphed into something much bigger ― a campaign Genshu named Bottles4College.

“After a while, we figured that we could branch it off and make it for other students. That way it can be bigger,” he said. “It could help so many people.”

Genshu wants to use money from his recycling work to put other kids through school.

His efforts are really starting to take off.

With his parents’ help, most days of the week are devoted to collecting bottles and cans and turning them in to Reynolds Recycling centers.

“Just at the beginning of this year, I think we were excited having a pickup truck filled,” said mom Maria Price. “Now we are filling box trucks.”

Genshu gets recyclables from donors all over Oahu.

The biggest hauls come from cleanups by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, an organization dedicated to keeping the state’s beaches clean.

“Within those six months we’ve recycled at least 5,000 pounds,” Genshu said.

The money goes into his Bottles4College account.

Genshu’s also a budding filmmaker. He shot a short documentary about his recycling efforts that aired on Olelo, a non-profit community access provider. It presented his master plan.

“It takes 1 to 2 million cans and bottles to send one to two kids on a fully-funded ride to college,” he said.

The Price family is turning Bottles4College into a non-profit. And they’re starting to plan the process for awarding a Bottles4College scholarship to a lucky student.

“He wants it to be a fair process,” Maria Price said. “He wants it to be for students who want to strive, regardless of background and who want this opportunity.”

At the rate Genshu’s receiving recyclables he may be able to award his first scholarship next year.

“I am super excited for that. I really want that to happen,” he said.

Genshu’s also trying to raise money for a box truck that will be stationed at a local mall so people can bring their cans and bottles to him.

To learn more about Genshu’s Bottles4College recycling drive, click here.

You can also find him on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

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