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Oct 26, 2019 09:21 PM EDT

A Boy who started His Own Recycling Business at 3


A Boy who started His Own Recycling Business at 3
A Boy who started His Own Recycling Business at 3
(Photo :

Age is just a number and it is never too early to start a business!

At 3 ½ years old, Ryan Hickman was able to visit the rePlanet recycling center in California. During this very moment, the child found his mission in life.  

The next day, as he welcomed his dad, Damion, at their San Juan Capistrano driveway, he pointed down the street and made a declaration: "My new business! I'm going to pick up all the cans and bottles from everyone in the neighborhood."

Now, at the mature age of 7, he is the CEO, manager and employee of his own recycling business. He has an estimated 50 customers and over 200,000 bottles and cans in his recycling credit.

Eve though Ryan says he doesn't remember when or what made it all start (It was over half his life ago!) he remains passionate about the reason that bottles get to the ocean and then animals get ill and die.

According to his father, Damion Hickman, Ryan has saved over $11,000, which was matched by the statement in "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" last January. The money is going straight to Ryan's college account, though Ryan says he wants to purchase a full-size trash truck and finally become a garbage man. In a joint interview with CNN, his father says they've saved it for college for the time being and by 18 Ryan can make the decision himself. But Ryan insists because he really wants to buy a truck.

Earning money by having a recycling business is like hitting two birds with one stone. Ryan gets to help lessen the plastic pollution and help animal centers thru its income.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center is one of Ryan's favorite places. He donates all his brand's T-shirt proceedings to this organization - over $3700. The kid really loves to go there and see the sea lions. He donated the money so that the animals can get "medicine and food."

See also: Recycling Began A Million Years Ago By Cavemen

Four years into this venture, neighbors have grown used to the little boy who comes knocking for their recyclables, and the more excited ones call to ask for a pickup or even drop off garbage bags at the Hickmans' door.

Ryan's favorite activity at school is to help the janitor, Mr. Jose, separate the trash. He also recruited his five friends to help him recycle. Ryan's parents support him all the way and he was told to stop whenever he wants.

Ryan and his father also go to the recycling center every three weeks to sort the garbage into glass, aluminum, and plastic when it's already a big pile.

Despite the being supportive and grateful, Hickman is still a little bit wary. He tries to discourage direct donations so people won't think that they are just trying to make money off the kid. The kid's idea about recycling is a total lit. Hickman family really appreciates everyone's support internationally. But for the kid's sake they learn how to be cautious because there are people who will always see the worst part in you.

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