Drew Barrymore donates $5k to Tampa boy’s recycling initiative

Something Good

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The efforts of an 11-year-old from Tampa Bay to recycle books and repurpose stuffed animals impressed 8 On Your Side viewers when we featured Zach Hartman in a ‘Something Good’ story in September. And now, Zach’s caught the eye of Hollywood!

Actress and new TV show host Drew Barrymore was impressed with the “Zach’s Planet” initiative and invited him to be a special guest on her show. Zach and his mom, Kim, explained to Barrymore that it was an ordinary chore assigned to Zach several years ago – taking out the trash – that turned him into a mini environmentalist.

Zach, who noticed books and stuffed animals in his family’s garbage bins, started sorting the trash in his driveway. He piled up the perfectly useful items, then sat his mom down for a lecture about recycling.

“It’s amazing how parents and kids can teach each other, because we’re all growing,” Barrymore said.

Since then, Zach’s Planet has diverted 65,000 books away from landfills and into schools and little libraries, and upcycled 3,000 stuffed animals into sanitized, and safe, toys for Humane Societies in 20 states. Zach relies on donations to help him ship the books and toys across the country, and is getting a little help from Barrymore, who is contributing $5,000 to his cause.

That’s not the only shout-out Zach’s Planet is receiving from a national audience. Zach has been named a 2020 Environmental Crusader from the talk show “The Doctors” and is scheduled to make an appearance on the show on October 26.

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