A 9-Year-Old Boy Runs a Recycling Campaign to Save for College and Fight for a Cleaner Planet
The earth is literally drowning in trash! It even has thousand-mile-wide zones of decomposing plastic that are constantly spotted in the world’s oceans — proving this to be true even more than scientific reports can. While some of us silently stand aside, others use all their creativity and devotion to find a way in which they personally can help the environment. This is the case for 9-year-old Ryan Hickman from California. When the boy visited a local recycling center, he knew his mission was to keep cans and bottles from reaching the ocean.
Here at Bright Side, we’ve had a closer look at Ryan’s way of recycling, and we hope his story inspires more people to find their own way to help the planet.
When Ryan visited a local recycling center, he realized that collecting cans and bottles can do good for nature and even bring some profit.
It all started when 3-year-old Ryan went to a recycling center with his dad and cashed in some cans and bottles. The boy got so inspired by the idea of exchanging trash for some money and saving nature at the same time that he told his parents he wanted to take recycling more seriously.
Ryan gave empty plastic bags to his neighbors and asked them to save empty cans and bottles for him. The boy’s idea got a lot of support not only by his neighbors, but also by their friends, relatives, and colleagues who kept their recyclables for Ryan.
What started as a private initiative, soon turned into a big campaign for saving the environment.
Now Ryan has a lot of customers from all over Orange County, California. The young entrepreneur is very passionate about his project and spends part of his week sorting bottles and cans he gets from his supporters and sends them to recycling. When asked about why he is doing this, the boy says, “It’s because bottles get to the ocean and then animals get sick and die.”
Thanks to his supporters, Ryan has collected and recycled more than 500,000 bottles and cans so far and even managed to save a considerable amount of money that goes into his college savings account. The boy is saving for his future education, but he also says that he wants to buy a full-size truck to become a garbage man and be able to collect and recycle even more trash.
Ryan also donates the money he gets selling his brand’s T-shirts to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center on a regular basis. "I like to go there and look at sea lions, and the money that we donate to them gives them medicine and food," says the boy.
Ryan’s parents support the boy’s initiative and his father helps him to sort the trash and drive the bags of bottles to the recycling center every 3 weeks. "My wife and I support him doing it and we told him that whenever he wants to stop he can," the boy’s father says.
Ryan’s devotion is also recognized by the community, and the boy has already earned all sorts of awards including the Recycling Champion Award, Citizen of the Year Award, Action For Nature ECO-HERO Award and many others.
When Ryan’s story went viral, it inspired more people to join his world-saving initiative.
Through the years of Ryan’s campaign, people from his neighborhood got used to saving their cans and bottles for the boy. More and more new supporters call him to take away their bags, or even drop them at the boy’s house. And Ryan doesn't have plans to stop any time soon.
He gives interviews and takes part in TV and radio shows to raise awareness about saving the earth through wise waste handling. With his actions Ryan proves that anyone can contribute to making the planet a better place to live, you just need to start with your neighborhood.
What do you think of Ryan’s project? Do you think more kids and adults should get involved with recycling projects like this?
Preview photo credit Ryan Hickman / Facebook