From Bottle Caps to Buddy Benches: Lessons from a 9-Year-Old

5 mins read

It isn’t unusual to hear about the younger generation taking their eco-friendly ambitions to the next level, but for one particular 9-year-old, she had a unique reason. To date, Sammie Vance has helped keep hundreds of pounds of plastic out of landfills and oceans, while also creating a safe space for her fellow classmates – buddy benches.

Sammie Vance’s Goal to Recreate and Reconnect

Sammie Vance is no ordinary 9-year-old. While other kids are worrying about whether they’ll get an A on their next spelling test, Sammie was worried about her classmates who were feeling left out. This inspired her to create a safe space – a “buddy bench” where anyone feeling lonely can sit to let others know that they’re looking for a friendly face. But building buddy benches would cost upwards of $900 each – a major price tag for a 9-year-old earning only a couple bucks each week for allowance. So, she decided to go an alternative route, one that would keep thousands of pounds of plastic out of landfills and oceans.

Company Recycles Bottle Caps Into Buddy Benches

With a $900 price tag being unrealistic for this 9-year-old’s budget, her mother sought out to find a cheaper way to build a buddy bench. This is when she stumbled across a company that turned plastic bottle caps into benches at the mere cost of $250 – a drastic decrease from the original expected cost. And with a new price point in mind, the decision was clear. Not only would Sammie build a buddy bench for her school, but she would do so in a way that also helped the planet.

2 Months, 1200 Pounds of Plastic, 3 Buddy Benches

It’s a big task for a little 9-year-old to take on. So, her mother planned that it would take one year to collect 400 pounds of plastic to create one bench. However, to their surprise (and due to the massive amount of litter out there), Sammie was able to collect enough plastic bottle caps to create three buddy benches in just two months.  Today, Sammie is inspiring other schools to follow in her path, to create their own buddy benches out of recycled bottle caps to help the planet and kids across the globe.

How You Can Get Involved

There are many ways you can join on the Buddy Bench initiate or to help out with Sammie’s project specifically. If you’d like to create your own, the first step is to find a company that offers these services near you (or that deliver to your area). Then, it’s time to start picking up some bottle caps. Since 400 pounds of plastic for one buddy bench is a lot of work, you can do what Sammie did and recruit help from local establishments, such as the library, zoo or community centres.

And if you’re feeling inspired to help Sammie out on her mission, you can do so by donating to the cause or by visiting the Facebook group for Sammie’s Buddy Bench Project.

Another unique way to follow in suit is if you’re a company looking to purchase benches for your establishment. Instead of purchasing brand new benches, consider buying benches made from recycled materials. It’s a budget-friendly option and one that does much more than provide a place for people to sit.

You can never go wrong with a mission that helps both children and the planet. At the young age of 9-years-old, there’s no denying that we are going to see great things from Sammie in the future – and we can’t wait!

Chantal McCulligh is an award-nominated, published and top-rated content marketer who has perfected the talent of growing companies through content and social media. She was a blogger before “blogging” was even a thing and she was one of the Top Canadian Youtubers before Youtubing was even a thing. Chantal likes to jump on the trends early on so she can grow with the industry as it expands, and that’s the quality and experience she offers to her clients today through her online programs for aspiring bloggers and entrepreneurs. Chantal is also an active member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors and the owner of Anxiety-Gone (the first company to offer subscription box services for anxiety warriors!).

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