10-Year-Old ‘Recycling Guy’ Cleans Up the Streets of Yellowknife

Connector Fall 2017

Every Saturday morning, 10-year-old James Peggs goes to work.

First, he puts on his gear: a bright orange construction vest, tailored by grandma; on it, a silver name tag engraved with his name; lastly, a white baseball cap embossed with a green recycling triangle. Peggs then goes into the garage, grabs his wooden crate with winter wheels, and he begins to haul it up and down curbs, winding down streets, visiting his clients.

Peggs is Yellowknife’s ‘Recycling Guy’ – a business he created after moving from Saskatchewan in 2015.

Peggs starts his work day by rolling his wooden crate through his neighbourhood, collecting his clients’ recyclables.

“When we moved here, my brother had his own job as a babysitter, so I asked my parents, what am I gonna do for money?” said Peggs who was only eight at the time. Peggs said he began to notice something about Yellowknife. “I would be going on my bike… and there were just cans, like you could see them in the forest,” said Peggs. “I wanted to do something about it.”

In a city where there is no curbside recycling, residents have to drive to the nearest recycling depot to sort and recycle their own goods.

With the help of his parents, Peggs came up with a business plan and the Recycling Guy was born. “Most people think that recycling is a waste of time, but our Earth is very polluted, it’s very sick, and it needs help.”

“I bring you a big tub, and on Saturday mornings, you throw all your recycling in it, and you don’t have to sort it,” Peggs said. He’ll dump all the recyclables in his wagon – or his dad’s truck for clients further away – and brings it back to his garage to sort, before taking it to the community recycling bins.

His customers say he’s “like a real businessman.”

This is Peggs’ second year running, and he recently got a business licence from the city. Peggs now serves 27 regular clients, after starting from just five, among which is the Super 8 hotel in town. He charges $10 a month for his services.

“He’s very reliable, very punctual – just a remarkable young man,” says Judy Murdock, one of his first clients and a Yellowknifer of 30 years. “This is sort of one of the coolest things I’ve seen happen on Matonabee Street. He really has made a difference in the neighbourhood.”

Murdock says James made her more aware of her own recycling habits. “What it’s done is it reinforces the message that one person can make a real difference.”

Peggs is a lover of the environment and wildlife; he says he won’t even kill a spider.

He puts 10 per cent of his income into his “giving jar,” to donate to a wildlife organization called Earth Rangers. “And then I put 10 per cent into my retirement account,” said Peggs. The rest goes into his “car account.”

“I want to show kids that you can do it. Like you can beat your goals,” said Peggs.

Source: CBC News