x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Young entrepreneur with a lesson for big business

Abu Dhabi high school student gets Etihad and Emirates Palace to participate in ink cartridge recycling programme.

Stefanie Kinnear sits amid some of the many ink cartridges that she plans to recycle and then donate the proceeds to a school in the UK that trains guide dogs for the blind.
Stefanie Kinnear sits amid some of the many ink cartridges that she plans to recycle and then donate the proceeds to a school in the UK that trains guide dogs for the blind.

A dogged young entrepreneur, Stefanie Kinnear persuaded some of the top executives in the UAE to sign up to her project in advance of Earth Day on Friday.

Not bad for a high-school student.

Earth Day, founded in 1970 in the US and now incorporating events in 175 countries, is intended to inspire international awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment.

Stefanie, who attends Raha International School in Abu Dhabi, has convinced Emirates Palace, Etihad Airways and Al-Futtaim Carillion to join her initiative and save their old printer cartridges.

After collecting the used cartridges, she sends them to a recycling company in the UK that donates money for each cartridge received to an organisation that trains guide dogs for the blind.

Stefanie has benefited from an entrepreneurial education drive in local schools that is targeting young pupils, often with support from the business community.

"More businesses have e-mailed me recently wanting to help out," said Stefanie, who has amassed a roomful of boxes with hundreds of cartridges. "I'm getting loads of support."

To get Etihad on board, she gave a 10-page presentation outlining her cause and the environmental benefits of recycling. The airline has since asked all of its staff to bring ink cartridges from their home printers for Stefanie to pick up.

"We are committed to supporting environmental initiatives within the communities in which we operate," said Lindin Coppell, the head of environmental affairs at Etihad. "This allowed us to lend further support to our waste management strategy."

Other local businesses have been similarly enthusiastic.

"The cartridges are reused, thus reducing costs to the business community, reducing the amount of [potentially dangerous] material and providing much-needed funding for charities," said Michael Ward, a senior project director at Al-Futtaim Carillion.

nparmar@thenational.ae