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Ryan's Recycling

Ryan Hickman takes recycling seriously. How seriously? The eight-year-old has collected over 320,000 cans and bottles in his home state of Califorina. Nat Geo Kids recently asked the pollution preventer a few questions about his passion for helping the environment.

Nat Geo Kids:

If you could magically remove one type of trash from the world, what would it be, and why?


Ryan:

That’s an easy one. Plastic. It takes so many years to biodegrade. Plus, it’s harmful to animals because they accidentally eat it and they think it’s food.

RyanRecycle-plastic

Photograph by Damion Hickman

Nat Geo Kids:

What's your favorite Save the Earth tip
from our magazine, and why?


Ryan:

I like the tip about participating in a community clean up. My dad and I clean up on the beach on Saturdays near our house. This keeps trash from getting in the ocean. We find all sorts of things from tiny pieces of plastic to balloons to paper trash, toys, and more. If everyone picked up a little bit it would make a big difference!

RyanRecycle-truck

Photograph by Damion Hickman

Nat Geo Kids:

What do you wish kids knew about recycling?


Ryan:

It’s very easy to do and it’s also very important. Did you know that an aluminum soda can takes 90 years to biodegrade? And it takes plastic 600 years and glass 1 million years to break down. That's why we need to recycle. Recycling keeps items from going into landfills and the ocean, rivers, and lakes, where they just pollute the environment and are bad for the animals that live there. Ask your parents or teachers to help you start recycling and let’s all save the planet!

RyanRecycle-headshot

Photograph by Damion Hickman

Ryan's got a challenge for you. Pick up as much recyclable plastic, glass, and metal in your neighborhood as you can by May 1, 2018. Ryan hopes by working together kids can recycle 300,000 cans and bottles—that's as much as he's recycled in five years.

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