Old Electronics, Styrofoam, light bulbs, batteries… they’re all things that can be recycled but they can’t go in the can that goes to your curb. A Seattle dad and his son have made it their mission to keep that stuff and other things out of landfills.
It started a few months ago when the Metzger family realized they had a lot of dead batteries to get rid of but didn’t feel right about dumping them in the trash. “We thought they shouldn't go in the trash so we found a place that accepted them,” Ryan Metzger explained.
He put a post on a neighborhood page to see if other people were looking to get rid of theirs. Five neighbors asked him to take their old batteries, as well.
6-year-old Owen had all sorts of questions and loved seeing how things could be recycled. “That got us down this path of doing research on things we had around the house that we thought could be saved from a landfill,” Ryan said.
That’s how Owen's List was a born, a chance to help neighbors save those things that can't go in your recycle bin but could be saved if you can get it to the right processor. “We're always on the lookout for new ideas,” Ryan said.
They recently added Christmas lights to their list and regularly schedule pick-ups around Seattle. Ashley Mandel has had them pick-up her things a few times and believes it gives everyone the chance to do the right thing.
And, it doesn’t hurt that Owen is pretty cute. “That was a huge thing that attracted me to it, here's this little kid that wants to make a big difference in the world and I wanted to support that" Mandel said.
Ryan says he cherishes the time he and Owen spend together. “I think just teaching him and others of his age that there others out there that can benefit from stuff you don't need and it's not hard to get it to them.”
Most recyclers will take the stuff for free and Metzger says he tries to work with companies that do the processing on-site and don’t send the products overseas. Members who sign up for Owen’s List get an email when they plan to do a pick-up around Seattle.