Fed-up with seeing plastic from cleaning products in his household's recycling, 12 year-old Daniel Stephens-Kingi decided to do something about it. After seeking advice from his para-kore (zero waste) teacher he came up with an alternative : homemade soap.
The Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whakarewa i te reo Ki Tūwharetoa pupil uses a room at his school to make his soap.
Stephens-Kingi says, “When I began the program of reducing waste because of the amount of plastic bottles I really wanted to take care of the environment.”
During a class with his teacher Stephens-Kingi was shocked to hear that it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to biodegrade.
Para-kore teacher Raewyn Rameka says, “When home, his job is to do the recycling for his family. He saw that they used a lot of plastic shampoo bottles and that didn't sit well with him.”
In September, Stephens-Kingi made his first batch of homemade soap and last month he won big at the Taupō District Youth Awards, taking away innovation and leadership awards.
His mother, Miria Stephens, is proud of his achievements.
“It started out like, nan wanted some soap, aunty wanted soap- so we started shipping it to Huntly. Aunties found out about it and we started shipping it out some more and before we knew it, I guess the word got out.”
“Dan has achieved much, from developing his business plan, marketing his soap, he is a good example for his friends and looking after the environment” says Rameka.
Stephens-Kingi is currently selling his homemade soap on his Facebook page and at the office of his school.