Ryan Hickman is a kid with a unique perspective about how he likes to spend his free time. "We all have our passions," he explains. "My only sport is recycling…which is probably not a sport to other kids, but it is to me…so it's a sport!"
In 2012 at the age of 3, Ryan went along with his dad, Damion, to the local recycling center and cashed in a few small bags of cans and bottles and quickly decided that recycling was in his future. The very next day, Ryan notified his parents that he wanted to give empty plastic bags to all their neighbors and maybe they would save their recyclables for him. Not only did the local neighbors rally to support Ryan' efforts, but so did their friends, families and co-workers. Today, Ryan has customers all over Orange County, CA.
Ryan has a passion to recycle and his goal is to keep cans and bottles from reaching the ocean where it's harmful to the environment. He now has his own web site and Instagram account and the T-Shirts that he sells are used to raise money for one of his favorite places, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. "Ryan recycles because he wants to make a difference," his Dad noted. "I'm super proud as a parent…it's amazing."
Ryan spends a part of every week sorting thru cans and bottles from his customers and then he and his Dad take them in by the truckload to the local redemption center where they are unloaded, sorted and weighed. So far, Ryan estimates that he has recycled over 426,000 bottles and cans!
In 2016, Ryan's recycling story went viral and he has since been featured on web sites, television and radio stations around the planet including the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ryan has been recognized internationally for his recycling efforts and was awarded the "2017 Citizen of the Year" by his hometown of San Juan Capistrano. The Orange County Register honored him as one of the 100 most influential people of 2017 and Ryan was selected in 2018 by MSN in their top 15 kids changing the world. He has also been featured in TIME Magazine for Kids and National Geographic as well as being designated a WHIZ KID in OC Family Magazine.
With all these accomplishments before his 10th birthday, imagine what Ryan will do in the next decade!
Learn more or follow Ryan on the following platforms:
Support the Pacific Marine Mammal Center at: https://www.pacificmmc.org/
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