At Seven years Old, He Runs His Own Company And Is Helping To Save The Planet.
In 2012 at the age of 3, Ryan Hickman visited the recycling centre in California with his dad to cash in on a few small bags of cans and bottles.
The day after going to the recycling centre, Ryan told his mom and dad that he wanted to give bags to all the neighbours so they would save their recyclables for him. Not only did the local neighbours save their cans and bottles for Ryan but so did their friends, families and co-workers.
Now he has Ryan has recycled over 50,000 pounds of trash and collected more than 200,000 bottles from customers throughout Orange County. He is the CEO, manager and employee of Ryan's Recycling
I asked Ryan why is it important to recycle?
"It's super important too, so bottles and cans don't get into the ocean or landfill where animals can get sick or die from eating the plastic. It takes one million years for glass to break down and 600 years for plastic to break down, so that is why it is so important to recycle. Everybody should recycle."
At such a young age what made you concerned about the environment?
"I saw videos and pictures online of animals that died from eating plastic, and I really wanted to help. The more I recycle, the better it is for the environment. I like picking up trash at the beach too."
" Some states don't pay for plastic bottles and glass. I recycle a lot of things like detergent containers, wine bottles and milk jugs, etc. that I don't make money on. It's important to recycle it anyway to keep it from going in the landfills or ocean."
What have been some of your exciting experiences since you started recycling?
"I have a bunch! I got to go on the Ellen show, and I am a CNN Young Wonder, and I got to go to NYC for that. I get a lot of emails from all over the world, so that's cool. I like that people recycle because they heard my story. I've got to take tours of big recycling facilities like RePlanet and Carbonlite and see what happens to my cans and bottles. I also get to go to visit different cities and tell people how to recycle with a company called Valet Living".
One of Ryan's favourite places to visit is the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), to which he donates all his brand's T-shirt proceedings. To date, he has given $5967.
"Since we live near Laguna Beach, we go to the PMMC a lot. My parents and I thought it would be a great place to donate to since animals like seals and sea lions are affected by ocean pollution. I have a lot of friends at PMMC, and it makes me happy to help them. We just got to help release Heartbreaker back into the ocean."
Ryans Dad, Damion Hickman talks about how proud he is of his son.
"We're so proud of Ryan. He's received so many inspirational emails and messages from just about every country in the world. We're excited that he's able to share his passion and it's making a difference around the planet. He’s been named one of the top 100 influential people in Southern California, and he was named the Citizen of the Year in San Juan Capistrano for what he’s doing."
"Ryan has a new challenge to the world with his Ryan's Recycle Challenge. He's trying to get everyone to record how much they are recycling each week at www.beadoer.io/ryan. His goal is to get to 300,000 recycled items together by May 1. It's super easy to go to the site and simply record how much you're recycling. Companies like Ripple Foods and others are donating funds to help his mission to make a difference as well. Any donated money through the website goes to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center at the end of the recycling challenge."
He's also going to be a youth speaker at we.org's Los Angeles event in April, and he's going to be travelling around the country this year raising awareness about recycling. He'll be in Tampa Bay helping with KEEP TAMPA BAY BEAUTIFUL's clean up event on April 28th and also being a group leader in June at the Lonely Whale Foundation's International Youth Summit."