Saving the Planet
With this initiative, our goal is to promote environmental causes and through Zach's Planet we have rescued 120,000 pounds of unwanted items from potentially being thrown into landfills and found new homes for them! Donating 120,000 used books and 4000 upcycled pet toys, we are making a difference.
Zach was 7 years old when his parents asked him to start taking out the trash. “I realized we only got one trash day for recycling items and actually two pickups a week for regular trash. I wondered where all of our trash would go,” says Zach. In 2017, he launched a service project called Zach’s Planet to fulfill his mission to help the planet and his community.
Researching areas where he could best help, Zach was alarmed to learn that 300 million books are discarded into landfills each year, and that a lot of parents throw away stuffed animals that their kids have outgrown, because many resale shops don’t accept them. He began organizing collection drives, and so far he’s succeeded in keeping 120,000 pounds of used items out of local landfills, and saving 5000 trees by promoting reuse of books.
Zach has collected 170,000 used books, distributing them to Little Free Libraries in all 50 states, as well as to 35,000 students through a partnership with the Hillsborough County Public Schools. He has also collected and upcycled 4000 gently used stuffed animals, making them into pet toys, and donating them to local animal shelters and shelters and rescues in 42 states. Through grants and fundraising, he has raised more than $90,000 to purchase dual language books and books with diversity as well to help with environmental projects.
Zach recruited members of his Cub Scout Pack 38, Boy Scout Troop 46, martial arts studio, local schools, and Pinellas County Humane Society Kids Club to help collect and distribute the stuffed animals and books. He has set up a website and social media as a way of sharing his ideas with other kids. He’s also sold bracelets for ocean conservation and donated proceeds to Ocean Conservancy and 4Ocean.
Zach’s efforts of kindness were featured in Woman's Day Magazine and recognized by the Greater Tampa Bay Area Boy Scout office. He also won the EPA's 2019 President's Environmental Youth Award representing Region 4 and was one of the Top 3 elementary school environmental projects in the nation. In 2020, he won the Action for Nature Eco Hero Award and appeared on The Drew Barrymore Show and the nationally syndicated show, The Doctors, promoting his community service efforts. Dr, Ian recognized him as the 2020 Environmental Crusader of the Year.
Zach and his brother, Chase, created a nonprofit, Eco Brothers, to get more people involved in their mission. As a way of giving back, Zach recently set up two $500 scholarships to award kids for their community service projects and to encourage other youth to get involved.
“I hope others will try doing Random Acts of Kindness especially when it comes to saving the environment,” says Zach.
“Every small act of kindness can make a big impact on the environment. We all have to pitch in to be kind to our planet.”