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Local students practice entrepreneurship through recycling

Local students practice entrepreneurship through recycling

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Aspiring entrepreneurs at 7 Rivers High School got a chance to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges Friday morning.   

In an effort to promote mattress recycling, 7 Rivers Recycling and a company called Up-Cycle, collaborated and gave the students materials from recycled mattresses.

Students were then challenged to use the materials to create a product they would sell. They're now on a mission to prove something important.

"You know you hear about all these bad stories about whatever is happening to society, I think from seeing this, what I saw here, we're in good hands in a lot of ways," said Brain Tippetts, co-owner of 7 Rivers Recycling.

They're showing local businesses you're never too young to think creatively.

"Came up with the idea because when I was little, I never really had toys myself or like stuffed animals so donating these to little kids would be pretty awesome I think just seeing their smiles on their faces," said Angeli Engel, a student at 7 Rivers High School.

Using material strictly from recycled mattresses, students created everything from bird feeders, to Christmas ornaments. And in a Shark Tank-like experience, they presented to the judges.  

"They had to stand up, they had to explain themselves, we had some interactions, we asked questions, we learned some things, they learned some things," said Tippetts.

It was a day to learn entrepreneur skills while also thinking about the environment.

"Number one, this is bettering the world because we're not sending anything to landfills that can't even decompose, that is the main mission behind the whole thing is to try to recycle and up-cycle mattresses but it's a bigger picture than that I mean in general we all have to think about what we're using everyday and how we're disposing it and where it's going after that, not just tossing things away mindlessly," said Joe Etten, co-owner of Up-Cycle.

With each idea presented, you couldn't help but think: one man's old mattress, is another man's treasure.

"You can have so many uses out of them you just have to have an imagination," said Engel.

7 Rivers Recycling has been recycling mattresses since 2014. They've collected 9,000 mattresses for re-purposing.
Up-Cycle is also holding a "Make Mattress Money Contest" that will be open for everyone until February 2nd.

The top three ideas will be chosen for a $100 reward.

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