Todays trip to The Pacific Marine Mammal Center

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Today we donated the funds from the t-shirt orders that came in this week. Every $1 buys a pound of fish for the rescued seals and sea lions. Ryan learned about a dead baby gray whale that washed ashore this morning locally. In case you are wondering how big a baby gray whale is, let’s just say they loaded it in a truck with a front end loader. 2000 lbs and 15 feet long. Wow!

If you are in Laguna Beach, stop by and see the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

All proceeds from Ryan’s shirts are donated to the PMMC. Buy a shirt and save a seal!

Ryan’s Recycling featured on SUMMITWATCH.ORG

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What San Jose Can Learn About Recycling From a 7-Year Old

It is often said that a little child shall lead them. This is certainly the case where 7-year old Ryan of Orange County, California, and owner of Ryan’s Recycling. It is undeniable that the world (and in particular many of the world’s major cities and industrial towns) is in trouble where its waste is concerned. This is particularly true where plastics are concerned.

This Problem Of Plastic

As it stands, approximately 300 million tons of plastic is produced and circulated each year. What’s worse is that over 80 percent of plastics are never recycled. Up to 90 percent of marine trash (80 percent of which comes from land) is made from plastic. This reality has a devastating effect on the environment when these non-biodegradable materials get into the oceans or rivers, in drains, or other parts of the city after being carelessly discarded or sent to landfills. This is because, plastic, at best, will break into small tiny pieces but never really break down – not anytime soon anyway. The solution given this reality is raised individual and collective consciousness regarding how our actions affect the environment, coupled with decisive action – namely, recycling.

The Story Of Ryan Recycling: How One Child Leads The Way

While the reality of what plastic is doing to the environment can be overwhelming, something can be done about it as one enterprising 7-year old shows us. Ryan developed a passion for recycling which started at three years old and took it to the next level by starting a business. Yes, you read that correctly – Ryan started at three. After visiting a recycling center, he had the idea of collection empty plastics from his neighbors which he could turn in for recycling at the end of the week. Ryan’s customers became his neighbors and community members. The money he would make from recycling was prudently saved for his college. Ryan took his efforts even further, becoming a youth ambassador for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach. He currently sells Ryan Recycling t-shirts and donates the proceeds to the organization. …more

INHABITAT.COM story on Ryan’s Recycling

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7-year-old California boy saves 10K for college with his own recycling company

A 7-year-old boy from California has demonstrated it’s never too early to start recycling. When he was three, Ryan Hickman ventured to a local recycling center in Orange County with his father. The experience moved him to such an extent he declared his intentions to start collecting recyclables from his neighbors the following day. Thus started Ryan’s Recycling Company, through which Ryan has recycled around 200,000 bottles and cans, saving thousands of dollars in the process.

Ryan asked his parents if he could give their neighbors empty plastic bags to fill with cans and bottles. The neighbors were happy to cooperate with him – as were friends, his parents’ co-workers, and family members. Roughly four years later, Ryan has recycled 49,000 pounds of trash from customers throughout Orange County. His website reports he spends “part of every week” sorting through and cleaning the plastic or glass bottles and aluminum cans he then totes to the recycling center with the help of his family. Ryan has saved around $10,000 for college (although his website warns he might actually tell you he’s saving up for his own garbage truck), and $1,624 for charity….more

Ryan featured on!

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Incredible 7-Year-Old Boy Is Saving Our Planet AND 10K For College By Recycling

By Rebecca Landman

What had you already accomplished before the ripe age of seven?

For Ryan Hickman of San Juan Capistrano, he’s built a business that’s saved him $10,000 for college and counting.

How? With trash… When Ryan was three years old, his father took him on a trip to their local recycling plant.

Ryan on

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Meet the 7-Year-Old Boy Who Runs His Own Recycling Business

A 7-year-old boy in Orange County, California has quite literally turned trash into treasure: Ryan Hickman launched his own recycling business, and is saving his earnings for college, Distractify reports.

The young entrepreneur’s inspiration for “Ryan’s Recycling” was fueled by a visit he and his father paid to a local recycling center when Ryan was 3 years old.

“He likes to sort pretty much anything, and he liked putting the bottles in the machine,” his father, Damion Hickman, told local newspaper The Capistrano Dispatch. “He probably got two or three bucks, and he was so excited about it. And of course then he got to sort his change, so that meant more sorting.”

When the toddler returned home, he and his mother distributed plastic bags among his neighbors so Ryan could collect and dispose of their cans and bottles, his website states. Friends, family members, and their co-workers soon joined in and, lo and behold, an entrepreneur was born.

Ryan devotes a portion of his week to sorting and cleaning the bottles and cans he collects, and every few weeks, he takes them to the recycling plant. (Ryan’s family lends a helping hand—and even more importantly, a car.) Over the years, his family thinks he’s recycled around 200,000 cans and bottles. He’s also saved approximately $10,000 for college—although if Ryan had it his way, he says he would use the money to purchase his own garbage truck. …more

THE CHIVE featured story on Ryan

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As every graduate knows, the scariest part of college isn’t the studying or having to grow up, it’s the obscene amount of money that gets ripped away from our bank accounts… a lot of times for many (MANY) years after you graduate. This kid decided he’s going to get a leg up long before he enters his first dorm room.

Meet 7-year-old California native Ryan Hickman. He’s making us halfway-responsible recyclers look really bad because he’s been doing it since was three. And not only is the world a better place because of him, he’s also got $10,000 in his college savings to show for it. …more featured story on Ryan

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Ryan featured on One Green Planet’s web site today for his recycling efforts!

Attention, people of earth: we have a serious plastic problem. In just 30 years, global plastic production has jumped over 320 percent, which equates to about 300 million tons of plastic pieces coming into circulation every year. If imagining what 300 million tons of plastic looks like isn’t enough to boggle your mind, here’s another scary fact: over 85 percent of that plastic is never recycled. It makes its way from the factories to the stores to our homes, and then, way more often than not, it ends up in landfills instead of the recycling bin. To make matters worse, it doesn’t stay in landfills. Studies have shown that 80 percent of marine trash is land-based and 90 percent of that trash is plastic. Once plastic ends up in the ocean, the world’s marine animals are stuck with it. It can take thousands of years for plastic to break down, and when it does, it only breaks into small pieces known as microplastics.

These facts are some heavy realities to process but in spite of that, we can all do something to help. In fact, one little boy took his passion for recycling and turned it into a business that benefits the planet. more




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Today was a big day for us. This morning’s truckload to the recycling center pushed us over the $10K saved mark for Ryan’s Recycling! It’s been a lot of hard work and we estimate approximately 200,000 cans and bottles sorted and processed over the last 4 years. Thank you to El Niguel Country Club and all of Ryan’s Recycling customers. Ryan couldn’t do it without you!


Revolution Bike Fest

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When Matt Wenger and Adam Olson over at Revolution Bike Fest asked us to be the official recycler at their event this year, we jumped at the chance. We purchased fold up recycle boxes and lined them with plastic bags, stickered them up with Ryan’s stickers and hoped for the best. After two days we came back and checked on our cans and voila! We hit the jackpot. One truckload and sorting thru about 10 bags of cans and water and beer bottles, we brought in about $125. We’re excited for next year’s event and now that we have a bunch of cardboard recycle cans left, we’re looking for locations for them. Thank you to everyone at the Revolution Bike Fest who helped save the earth and helped Ryan get $125 closer to his college expenses.