13-year-old’s eco-bank turns waste into currency

13-year-old’s eco-bank turns waste into currency

José Adolfo’s eco-bank is the 2018 Children’s Climate Prize winner.

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December 10, 2018

A 13-year-old from Arequipa, Peru, has run an "eco-bank" for children since the age of seven.

The ambitious venture allows children and young adults to deposit solid waste and withdraw money, according to a news release.

At José Adolfo’s eco-bank, members can start their own bank accounts by depositing their collected waste. The waste is converted into currency, which they can choose to save or withdraw.

“My project is a bank for children and young people that provides financial education,” Adolfo says in a video.

Bank members must bring in at least 11 pounds of solid waste—paper or plastic—and establish a savings goal to open an account, according to a news report. Once accepted, "bank partners" are required to deposit at least 2.2 pounds of recyclables per month.

The waste is then sold to recycling companies and money is deposited into the individual's account. The teenager says he started the eco-bank to fight poverty and climate change.

“We teach entrepreneurship in a practical way through financial transactions and solid waste,” he says.

Adolfo was recently named the winner of this year’s Children’s Climate Prize.

The jury states, “José's eco-bank is a brilliant way of linking economy and climate impact, both in thought and practice. Children can 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 potential impact is amazing."

Adolfo’s eco-bank has 10 educational centers with more than 3,000 children members who learn to invest and manage circular economic systems. The bank allows kids to maintain financial independence by caring about the environment.

“Children can generate the change our climate needs,” Adolfo states.

To follow Adolfo's story, visit Banco del Estudiante on Facebook.