Kids Do The Smartest Things! - WTNZ FOX 43 Knoxville, TN

Kids Do The Smartest Things!

Today, October 01, 2013, 3 hours ago | Editorial StaffGo to full article

Healthy HollywoodSome kids are just born to do extraordinary things!

Healthy Hollywood met up with one of those pint-sized pioneers — meet Milo Cress. At 12 years old, this Colorado native is leading an international campaign to get restaurants and others to stop using straws.

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At the ripe "young" age of 9, Milo noticed restaurants were carelessly handing out straws with every drink – regardless if customers asked for one. According to statistics, about 500 million plastic straws are used each day in the United States and since they're often not recycled they clog landfills and end up polluting our environment.

"I don't want to be the straw police, but I just noticed that if I didn't ask for a drink without a straw it would come with one automatically and I thought this is a huge waste," Milo said.

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So, Milo started getting restaurants and customers on board to make straw usage optional. "Participating restaurants report back to me that 50 to 80-percent of their customers chose not to take a straw and this is great because that means without a mandate or legislation we can cut straw usage by half."

Healthy Hollywood met this do-good crusader at the Green Spa Network conference outside Denver, Colorado. This confident young guy got up and spoke in front of a roomful of adults. His "be free of straws" pitch was eloquent, passionate and super-composed – for someone any age but especially for someone just out of grade school.

But, public speaking is nothing new for Milo. His "Be Straw Free" campaign is now in a number of states and over 30 countries.

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Plus, he's a frequent speaker at green conventions and even went to DC to speak to folks at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Healthy Hollywood would call this pretty impressive! But, then again, this is the same kid who at 7-years-old invented a solar-powered popcorn machine.

Yet, Milo says he's not intimidated, after all, "adults are people too." And, he hopes to inspire other young entrepreneurs, noting, "I'm on an international speaking tour to talk to kids about how they can find and get involved in projects that interest them. And, one of things I tell kids is that adults do listen to kids. They think it's important that kids care about their environment."

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So, when Milo isn't out mingling and persuading adults to treat planet Earth better, he contends his school life is pretty ordinary. "I try to keep my business life separate from my social life."

For more on Milo's campaign, check out

-- Terri MacLeod

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