Codie Koopman, the seven-year-old boy who started a recycling project to support his family, has been hailed a hero by a giant retail store.
Pick n Pay School Club visited the Grade 2 learner at his school, Eindhoven Primary in Delft, where he was awarded with an Environmental Hero Award for his enterprising recycling business, which supports his family and “employs” 10 other local youngsters.
Head of sustainability at Pick n Pay Andre Nel says: “The company was heartened by the sheer determination and entrepreneurial spirit that Codie shows at such a young age.
“Not only is he trying to support his family and friends, but is also contributing to a better environment for his community.
“It’s a phenomenal gesture from such a young boy and we wanted to celebrate him as an exemplary member of the community.”
The Club presented Codie with the Environmental Hero Award certificate and badge, as well as a R1000 Pick n Pay gift voucher for him to spend on toys, and a food hamper for his family worth R5000.
Pick n Pay also donated four recycling bins to Codie to assist with his business.
Codie’s proud mom Brenda says: “We are grateful for the awards, and all the other gifts that have been given to our son. We have encouraged him to keep all the money he makes for himself, so he can use it for himself.”
Codie says he was inspired by his little sister who is about a year-old: “When I found out that collecting these bottles would make me money, I thought about my family.
“I give the money to my parents so they can buy baby milk and kimbies and then I buy coffee and bread.”
He got the business idea from people who collect recyclables to trade in for money.
“I would see people pick up the bottles for recycling and then I asked my daddy to help me.
“But when he couldn’t, I would ask my friends to help me. There are 10 of us and we push a waentjie to areas which are safe for us.”
He then approached Charles and Dee George of the Home of Compassion organisation in Delft, and told them he wanted an office for his business and they helped him expand, even gathering donations of recycling bins.