Ryan Hickman, the seven-year-old mastermind behind Ryan’s Recycling, has one simple tip for this upcoming Earth Day. In his new short video, he holds up a plastic six-pack ring and explains one very easy thing we should always remember to do before throwing it away – cut it up, so that it does not pose danger to sea animals. “These things might be floating in the ocean and a sea creature could come up inside and get stuck in them and die,”says Ryan.
This young boy is an anti-plastic hero. When Ryan decided that he would get serious about recycling, he was only three years old and had just visited a local recycling center in Orange County in California. His own recycling business quickly grew to include many neighbors and community members, all of whom saved their recyclables for Ryan to collect, sort, and transport to the recycling center. This smart young entrepreneur is putting all the profits he makes towards his college fund – which sounds like a pretty great plan to us!
His great endeavors in recycling has led Ryan to become a Youth Ambassador for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. He also sells T-Shirts and donates all the profits to that rescue center.
It’s wonderful to see a young person so ahead of their time, especially considering our plastic waste is quickly becoming one of the greatest environmental problems the planet has to face. Every year, we produce 300 million tons of plastic and 78 percent of it never gets recycled! About 8.8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean where it threatens marine animals, as Ryan so simply explains. Unfortunately, around 700 marine species are now in danger of extinction due to plastic, and if we do nothing to stop this, many more will soon join that roster.
At just seven years old, Ryan perfectly grasps the gravity of these facts – why can’t we all follow his example?
To learn more about how to eradicate plastic from your daily life, join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!