With the internet at the ready of their fingertips, today's teenagers are more knowledgeable than we ever were, but they also have more concerns. One of them is the impact that we as humans are making on the environment and how we can reverse or minimize any negative changes.
Lauryn Bloodworth and a group of her friends at Mallard Creek Stem Academy in Charlotte, NC are taking charge and literally making this green activism their business with Code Green.
Initially, the budding entrepreneur and founder started Code Green as an environmental school club that she ran with her friends. In their research, they discovered that by 2050 12 billion tons of plastic will end up in landfills—meaning there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish.
Partnering with her father’s company, ERM Solutions, which makes apparel out of plastic bottles, Bloodworth and Code Green designed spirit shirts and created school supply bundles for their school. The teens ended up selling 334 T-shirts and 195 school supply bundles.
“By recycling the plastic bottles into T-shirts, we prevented 1,400 plastic bottles from ending up in landfills," shares Bloodworth. "That was a huge accomplishment.” By the end of the year, the teens were able to donate 40% of their business' profits, approximately $2,288, to their school.
The teens also use their green business to address how environmental issues are taught in the classroom with their Empowered initiative, which taps successful local entrepreneurs and scholars in creating a hands-on approach that educates students about the planet's ecosystem while teaching them valuable business skills. “I want to bring the program to different schools so kids can learn how to run a business while learning about the environment,” explains Bloodworth.
Recently, Code Green partnered with Charlotte Motor Speedway to lead their city's clean-up efforts. Plastic bottles collected from the program will be used to produce merchandise, staff uniforms, and other products.
Also, this past summer, Bloodworth participated in Envision Lead Grow, an entrepreneurship program for girls that teaches them marketing skills and other lessons that they will need to properly run a business venture. The national girl boss program was so impressed with Bloodworth's pitch and her eco setup that they plan on partnering with Code Green.
“We’re the future. There will be no future if the environment is gone. We have to make a change now and also be a part of that change,” says Bloodworth.