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Recycling is Not Child's Play—or is it? Insights from Ryan's Recycling

Ryans recycling ryan hickman
Episode 10: A conversation with 9-year-old Ryan Hickman, CEO of Ryan’s Recycling.
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In our latest episode of Waste360’s NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with 9-year-old Ryan Hickman, CEO of Ryan’s Recycling. We spoke about how $5 from his first trip to a recycling facility turned into a huge passion, how his family helps with his business, his successful beach cleanups and how this work helps him master math and geography. 

Here’s a sneak peek into our chat with this inspiring young entrepreneur.

Waste360: Can you share how many cans and bottles you’ve recycled so far?

Ryan Hickman: I’ve recycled more than half a million cans and bottles.

Waste360: How does your family help you with your business?

Ryan Hickman: My dad will usually drive me to pick up the cans and do the heavy lifting. And my grandma and mom help sort, too.

Waste360: You donate to a marine mammal center, is that right?

Ryan Hickman: Yes, I donate all the money from my t-shirts to Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach—so far almost $9,000. With the money, they buy new equipment, food and medicine, lights, that type of thing. And when they use it to buy fish, $1 equals 1 pound of fish to feed the seals and sea lions.

Waste360: What do you want to be when you grow up—do you want to stay in this industry?

Ryan Hickman: Yes, probably just recycling and recycling and recycling! Maybe 100 million cans and bottles.

We have no doubt he will do just that.

Listen to the full episode with Ryan. Read transcript here. Be sure to listen to his precocious insights on keeping the world's oceans clean, entrepreneurship and more!

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