5-year-old Ethan Charles’ fascination with garbage, garbage trucks and recycling started when he was just 2 years old. “We would drive, and he would see road construction on the highway,” Charles said. “He just really wanted to learn. ‘What is that truck? What is this truck?’ That all led to garbage trucks, and we thought it would be just a little phase, like something all kids go through, but he really got passionate.”
To say Ethan became a sponge is an understatement. “He just soaks up everything,” said Eduardo Charles, Ethan’s dad. “He was watching YouTube videos where there were two guys working their neighborhood, and then as he got older, he started asking about it all. ‘What does the green cart mean? What does the brown cart mean? What is the difference between those carts? What is recycling?’”
“Now we were getting in trouble with our 2-year-old if we put a shampoo container in the trash,” Ciara Charles said. “Then his vocabulary started getting bigger. Here we have my 3-year-old son saying hazardous waste and disposable chemicals.”
They said Ethan’s passion for his new love had an impression on his toys, his family life and others he met in the community. “It went from a small collection of trash bins and garbage trucks to a large collection,” Ciara Charles said. “Any time we would go to the store for groceries, he would ride on the cart and lift cereal boxes up and in the basket as if he was a garbage man. We also always had to go to the trash can isle. We couldn’t even leave the house until the garbage truck came. Mondays and Thursdays, we have to stay at home pretty much until they leave. I have also had to follow the garbage truck around our neighborhood.”
“Any time we are on the road and he sees a garbage truck, like on the way to his grandma’s or something, he screams: ‘Garbage truck! Garbage truck!’ He just loves it all,” Eduardo Charles said.