Erek “EcoErek” Hansen, of Curtice, has been named a 2013 Finalist by the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.
Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates inspiring, public-spirited, highly diverse young people from all across America ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.
Finalists are applicants who made it to the final round of judging, but were not selected to receive the cash award to support his or her charity. As a finalist, the 13-year-old eighth-grader at Fassett Junior High received a plaque, certificate, a nonfiction book by the prize founder and author T.A. Barron called “The Hero’s Trail,” and a copy of the documentary film, “Dream Big.”
The ongoing recycling efforts of
Erek has nearly completed his 2013 recycling collection year. This year, to date, he has collected more than 3,700 pairs of jeans and more than 2,200 pairs of shoes to recycle. Those who still have items to donate this year may reach out via email at www.ecoerek.org.
This year’s collection brings Erek’s five-year total to more than 18,000 pairs of jeans and more than 9,500 pairs of shoes that have been recycled, redirected out of local landfills and used for something productive, such as housing insulation, carpet fibers and playground mulch.
The youth is currently trying to raise funds to pay for this year’s shipping costs. The denim materials are shipped to Arizona, which costs approximately $2,000; and the shoes are sent to Chicago at a cost of about $800. The shipments are scheduled to ship between November and January.
Erek and his ongoing efforts to find new ways to keep useful items out of the landfill have been highlighted in chickaDee magazine (April 2013 – “Heroes of the Planet”), at www.People.com, April 2013(“Earth Day 2013: Meet Three Kid Crusaders”) and in Pockets magazine (July 2012 – “Eco-Erek’s Blue-Green World”). He was also honored with Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce Judge’s Award in March 2012 and Ohio Environmental Council’s Environmental Achievement Award in October 2011.