What did you accomplished by age 7? You could probably spell your name correctly. Maybe do some basic math (2+2=4)? Ryan Hickman puts us all to shame. This boy started a recycling company and has already saved $11,000!
Started Business Before Preschool
It all started when Hickman was 3 and visited a recycling center not far from his Orange County, California home. The next day, he told his father Damion he wanted to start his own recycling company.
“My new business! I’m going to pick up all the cans and bottles from everyone in the neighborhood,” Hickman told his dad.
Today, Ryan is the CEO, manager and employee of Ryan’s Recycling Company. He has 50 customers and has collected more than 200,000 bottles and cans. He remains as passionate about recycling since the day he started nearly four years ago.
“It’s because bottles get to the ocean and then animals get sick and die,” Hickman told CNN.
“Why do you love recycling so much?” Ellen asks him.
“Because it saves the planet and it keeps bottles and cans out of the ocean,” Ryan tells her, to thunderous applause.
College Vs. Truck
Ryan is adamant about saving for a full-size garbage truck. He says a truck costs about $70,000 for a used one and more than $100,000 for a brand-new truck. Right now, though, Ryan puts his money into a college savings account. His dad told CNN by the time his son turns 18, Ryan can make the decision for himself whether or not to use it for his studies.
“Yeah, but I want to buy a truck,” Ryan said.
In addition to his recycling business, Ryan also sells T-shirts emblazoned with his company’s logo. The proceeds from the shirts goes directly to one of Ryan’s favorite places: the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. So far, he’s donated more than $3,700 to the center from T-shirt sales.
“I like to go there and look at sea lions, and the money that we donate to them gives them medicine and food,” he told CNN.
Ryan’s neighborhood is happy to help out, too. After more than four years since Ryan’s Recycling Company born, many of them are used to seeing Ryan on their doorsteps asking for recyclables. Some of the neighbors even call the Hickmans to ask for a pickup or to drop off bags of bottles and cans at their door.
And if you think Ryan’s business stops while he’s at school, then think again. His favorite activity is helping the janitor, Mr. Jose, separate trash. And it’s not just Ryan who helps out—he’s recruited five other friends to give Mr. Jose a hand.
So the next time you think about throwing out a water bottle, remember Ryan… and recycle!