by Lauren Ferrucci
At age 23, Matthew Jose is helping to start a recycling revolution in India. He began the organization Paperman, which helps promote recycling awareness and use recycling campaigns to support social causes. Before he began Paperman, Matthew discovered that only 20% of the waste generated in India was recycled each year. It was from a desire to change this statistic and make a real difference that Paperman was born.
Paperman began as a very small organization spreading awareness about recycling to communities and schools. However, Matthew soon came to realize that recycling itself had fund-raising potential to help other causes. How has Matthew managed to make recycling a fundraising opportunity for other causes? A large carton is placed outside the doors of certain schools in India. The students fill the carton with their old newspapers and plastics as they file out for the day. These recycled goods are then sold to the “rag-pickers” who generally go door-to-door paying to collect waste from households. The “rag-pickers” then sell the waste to others, and it eventually ends up at recycling centers.
What is wonderful about Paperman is that adding collecting waste and selling it to the “rag-pickers” generates money that can be put towards other causes. Paperman supports various charities, old-age homes, and was even able to send a girl to school for a year. Thus, with this one organization Matthew has been able to tackle many social issues at once. One man has taken recycling into his own hands and is truly making a difference.
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