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Ryan Hickman is 14 years old and already has a non-profit recycling business under his belt. He has also appeared on talk shows, met celebrities and travelled in a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea. But, as Ryan explains, nothing compares to the impact he has made from recycling, and helping others to recycle, millions of cans and bottles.
What ignited your passion for recycling?
When I was three years old, my dad and I took a few small bags to the local recycling centre. I just loved seeing all the cans and bottles being sorted and crushed up. As I got a bit older, I had an idea to ask all our neighbours to start recycling with me, too.
How does Ryan’s Recycling work?
Ryan’s Recycling started with people calling or emailing my dad and leaving their cans and bottles for me to collect, rather than throwing them away. We pick up the items on weekends, and then I sort them and take them to be recycled. Most people I recycle with have been my customers for a long time, so they’ve seen me grow up over the past 11 years. I collect every week and have hundreds of customers. The money I make from the recycling redemption fees goes towards my college fund.
Two years ago, we started a residential programme called Recycle From which is a non-profit business and has thousands of customers. We have a fleet of vans and a team of drivers who collect cans and bottles from customers in select cities. We pay our customers for their cans and bottles.
Check out Ryan’s latest interview with Waste Advantage magazine here:
In January 2019, Waste Advantage Magazine profiled 9-year-old Ryan Hickman, a young recycling entrepreneur who not only had already started his own recycling business, Ryan’s Recycling, but also made it his mission to educate people about the benefits of recycling and the most efficient way to do it. Now 14, Ryan truly represents the next generation of waste and recycling by continuing to give keynotes around the world while developing new companies and continuing to build partnerships.
I had a fun time speaking at the Legacy Youth Leadership Summit and I met some amazing students and presenters. It was a nice event for me to speak at because it was close to home and I didn’t have to travel anywhere. I had just got home from a Canada trip the day before so it was nice to be home.
Legacy Youth Leadership is a nonprofit organization that works to build a socially conscious & active generation of young people. LYL provides free educational & activism programs as well as leadership coaching & mentoring to young people to supplement students’ existing school & youth development. LYL equips students with the tools they need to reach their academic & philanthropic goals and to make a REAL impact in the world around them by social & charitable initiatives.
To date, Legacy Youth Leadership has engaged over 2,600,000 young leaders across the world! For more info, visit https://legacyyouthleadership.org/
Although I did recycle on his road trip, this trip was more about digging up fossils than saving the planet. My dad and I found a place in Wyoming called American Fossil where you get to dig for fossils and you keep what you find. After meeting up with my friend Gary and a long trip through Utah and into Wyoming, we found our motel and were excited to get digging the next morning. The dig site is 8 miles out of Kemmerer, Wyoming down a dusty dirt road with a whole bunch of cows. The road ends at a limestone quarry where the dig site is. The area used to be a giant lake 52 million years ago and they have found all sorts of fossils there.
We found fish and fish poop fossils mostly. They even had table saw on site to cut down the rock to the size you wanted it at. Our best find was a rock with 4 fish in it. We found a total of 62 fossils so we were pretty excited about that. In a few weeks, we’ll coat the fossils so they are protected and a few of the fossils need some detail scraping away of the rock from the fossils so we’re learning how to do that.
The staff at the dig site were so friendly and I would recommend a road trip to see them if you are looking to dig for fossils. I guarantee you’ll find fossils there. It’s pretty exciting to ship away at the rocks and to find the fossil fish inside. I’m going to be making a video soon of this trip so keep an eye on my YouTube channel.
Thank you Cox for awarding Project3R a 2023 $5K Cox Charities Community Grant! This grant is funded by COX employee donations, and are awarded to nonprofits in California so I’m super proud to receive this on behalf of Project3R. These funds help us with ongoing education programs and supporting community clean up events. We really appreciate the support!
This post is about a trip I took with OceanX last Fall. I couldn’t post about it until OceanX officially posted it up but it was so amazing. My last time on the Ellen Degeneres show, the show gave me a trip with OceanX. We flew from LAX to Mallorca, Spain and then after a few days, off to Nice, France and Monaco. Once we were in Monaco, we took a small boat out to OceanX’s big OceanXplorer ship and I got a tour of the ship and met the entire crew. We jumped in a mini-sub and went underwater for 2 hours checking out a sunken ship and I actually recycled a glass bottle I found at the bottom of the ocean. The mini-sub has a controller arm on the front that I was able to use to pick up the bottle. There was only three people in each sub so my dad and I went in one with our sub captain and my mom went in the other sub with the film crew.
I saw so many fish and jellyfish and learned all about OceanX’s mission. After the mini-sub adventure, we stayed in Monaco for another night and then back to Mallorca for a few days and then back home. I met so many amazing people on this trip, Ocean X gave me a new GoPro to use on my adventures and OceanX’s founder, Ray Dalio wrote me a nice note in his book that he signed for me. Thanks Ray!
If you’re not already following OceanX on YouTube, do yourself a favor and check out their Youtube Channel!
Thank you OceanX!
My friends at KTLA had me in to promote Earth Day, talk about what I do and my upcoming speaking event at OutSchool this month. Aside from the 2 hours of traffic from Orange County to Los Angeles, I had a great time. If you didn’t catch the segment, you can see it here. Happy Earth Day everyone!