Nightly News | June 03, 2012
LESTER HOLT, anchor: Finally tonight, we want to introduce you to a young entrepreneur with an unusual passion for garbage. He's been turning trash into treasure since he was in kindergarten, and he's making a difference for a lot of folks in need as NBC 's Kevin Tibbles reports.
KEVIN TIBBLES reporting: So, is this your bedroom or your office?
Mr. SAM KLEIN: This is both.
TIBBLES: At the ripe old age of 12, Sam Klein 's the president and CEO of his own recycling business. If you weren't recycling this stuff, where would it all end up?
Mr. KLEIN: It would all end up in a landfill, and that's terrible for our environment.
TIBBLES: This middle-schooler impresario's been fascinated by the things the rest of us throw out since the days he was knee-high to a trash can.
This was not my favorite job. By four, he was waiting for the garbage truck , helping load the garbage truck , even riding in the garbage truck . And then his mom says the lightbulb went off. A lot of kids want to start their own business, and it's a lemonade stand.
Ms. KLEIN: That's right .
TIBBLES: Your kid...
Ms. KLEIN: He decided that he was going to develop a business that recycled inkjet cartridges, laser toner, cellphones, things that end up in landfills that should not.
TIBBLES: So out he goes to local businesses in St. Louis collecting empty printer cartridges for recycling. Back at head office, he meticulously organizes each shipment... I'm useful. With the help of a little toilet paper. Does your mom mind that you've got ink stains all over the carpet?
Mr. KLEIN: She is OK with it, but my dad sometimes has a seizure.
TIBBLES: And for his efforts, the cartridge manufacturers pay. How much money do you think you'll get for that box?
Mr. KLEIN: Anywhere from 100 to 200.
TIBBLES: But Sam Klein 's work doesn't end there because he takes his profits and reinvests them in people, donating some $1,000 so far to those who are less fortunate.
Ms. KLEIN: I think it hurts him beyond to see somebody who's been tossed aside, whether it's a person or whether it's garbage.
Mr. KLEIN: I feel I'm making a small difference. But I hope to make a larger and larger difference.
TIBBLES: Mining other people's garbage, discovering life's real value. Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, St. Louis.