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Recycled Bottles Creates Fund Raising In India

On weekends, you’ll find Mateo Lange sorting through bottles and cans. Mateo, 15, leads a community recycling program in Indian River, Michigan, his hometown.



Mateo launched the program in 2020. He was 11 and in sixth grade. He was playing baseball with the Northern Michigan Cyclones. The team needed money to travel to tournaments. Mateo pitched a plan.



“There were cans and bottles always thrown around the road,” he tells TIME for Kids. In Michigan, these can be collected. Then they can be redeemed for cash. Mateo started a bottle and can drive. His dad helped. They raised $7,500. “We built up so much money,” Mateo says. “So I said, ‘Why don’t we keep this going?’”

Since then, Mateo’s recycling effort has raised $350,000. And it has helped at least 50 youth groups. It has collected more than 2 million bottles and cans. It has kept them from littering Michigan’s roadsides. It has kept them out of lakes and rivers.



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