I’m always impressed by kids that take charge and make a difference.  As adults, we often create mental road blocks coming up with reasons why not to do something;  why it won’t work; the problems we’ll face.  Sometimes, we need to be more like kids and just do it.

Ryan Hickman is one such kid.  As the story goes, at the age of 3, Ryan notified his parents after a trip with his dad to the local recycling center that he wanted to give the neighbors empty bags so they would, perhaps, save their recyclable cans and bottles for him.  Not only did they, but so did their friends, families and co-workers, and he hasn’t given up.  According to him, he wants to keep cans and bottles from reaching the ocean where they are harmful to the environment.  He’s ten now, and his company, Ryan’s Recycling, has recycled over 501,000 bottles and cans.  His goal is to save enough for college…and a full sized recycling truck.

It’s not all for money though.  During his recycling journey, he’s become somewhat of an ambassador as well.  Proceeds from sales of t-shirts and hats are donated to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

Now, I fully understand that kids like Ryan are not doing this alone.  He clearly gets help, support and guidance from his parents, and that is terrific.  This effort is a great bonding opportunity.  Sadly, we occasionally hear the cynical criticism of kids like Ryan somehow being pawns of his parents, but I think this is very misguided.  We are all products of our parents.  He’s done a great job of listening and turning their lessons to action.  Parents should all be so lucky.

I happen to live in an area with a terrific municipal recycling program.  If you don’t, perhaps you know a ‘Ryan’ in your area that wants to make an impact and boost recycling in your neighborhood.  What are the opportunities near you?  Perhaps organize a recycling drive at a school?  Team up with a scout troop?  Or maybe make it a family affair and organize recycling on your street.  Every little bit helps.

If you need help and have any questions, just ask Ryan: http://ryansrecycling.com/

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