Meet a 10-year-old recycling entrepreneur

Brenden Stahle

When most 5-year-olds are learning to ride a bike, Brenden Stahle dreamed of running a business.

He initially started gathering recyclables in his neighborhood and had a goal of collecting 10 pounds of plastic, paper and aluminum.

“He hit that goal within about a week,” says his mother, Lacey.

At school he noticed people putting trash in the recycling bins, and he became frustrated. Hoping to implement the same program he started in his Broken Arrow neighborhood, Stahle marched into the principal’s office to express his concerns.

“That afternoon I received my first principal phone call,” Lacey says. “Luckily it was a good phone call.”

Now in fourth grade at Oakcrest Elementary, Stahle estimates he and his family have collected over 21 tons of recyclables. Last year, he needed funds to secure classroom recycling bins, so his mom encouraged him to seek out a corporate sponsorship. Bama Pie donated $500 to expand his program. “We were so excited, we wanted to do cartwheels in the parking lot,” Stahle says.

They used the donation to supply all the classroom bins and a large, on-site collection bin for weekly pick-up.

This year, they are developing a green team at the school so Stahle’s vision can carry on long after he graduates. “I’m passionate about how recycling helps the earth,” he says.


Julie Richert Jones is a wife, mother, freelance writer, culinary enthusiast and gypsy soul in the heart of suburbia.

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