Ryan Hickman is only seven years old, but he’s already saving for his college fund with profits he’s making off his recycling business.
When Ryan was three-and-a-half, he went with his dad to the local recycling center and cashed in a few bags of cans and bottles. When he learned money can be made off of that, Ryan decided recycling was his future.
“We had gone to the center with a couple of bags, and he really loved the actual act of putting all the cans and bottles into the machine and getting the money for it, and that kind of got him hooked,” described Damion Hickman, Ryan’s father.
Ryan notified his parents that he wanted to give empty plastic bags to all the neighbors and hope they would save their recyclables for him. Not only did the neighbors save their cans and bottles for Ryan but to did their co-workers, families, and friends.
Ryan started his own business, Ryan’s recycling, and has since recycled over 200,000 cans and bottles. Every week, he and his family sort through bags of recyclables and they take them to the local redemption center where they are sorted and weighed.
“If it’s me, my dad and my mom and my grandma doing it at the same time, one bag will be gone like in, let’s say, two minutes,” Ryan said.
So far, Ryan has saved more than $10,000 for college from his profits and he also sells t-shirts on his website and donates the proceeds to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. “For the sea lions to get food and medicine,” he said.
Ryan’s parents hope that he continues saving for college, but Ryan’s primary responsibility is protecting the environment.
“That’s a big deal to Ryan, that it doesn’t, the cans and bottles don’t end up in the ocean,” his father said. Ryan would also like to invest his savings in a business purchase. “The recycling money I’m saving for a garbage truck,” Ryan said.
Ryan has an important message for everyone: “If you already recycle, just keep on recycling. “If you don’t recycle, start recycling,” Ryan said. Always a great businessman, Ryan added, “If you want to buy one of these T-shirts, it’s $13 on ryansrecycling.com.”
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[Featured Image Credit: Ryan’s Recycling]