Someone Cares: Can-Do Spirit

How her son's love of marine animals helped him kickstart a recycling program.

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- Posted on Mar 26, 2020

An illustration of a dolphin helping out in recycling cans.

My family lives by the Pacific Ocean, and my son, Ryan, has always loved marine animals. In 2012, when he was three, Ryan came to the recycling center with me. He had fun feeding cans and bottles into the machine, especially once he realized that the more we recycled, the less would end up as litter on the beach. When I let him keep the three bucks we got back for the returns, he was even more excited.

The next day, Ryan announced he was starting a recycling business: Ryan’s Recycling. He and my wife delivered trash bags to each of the houses on our street and asked our neighbors to save their cans and bottles for him. The neighbors asked their friends to save theirs too.

Ryan, now 10, has 300 customers. An average weekend includes a dozen pickups and three trips to the recycling center. So far, Ryan has kept 770,000 cans and bottles off the beach and out of the ocean.

Ryan is saving the refund money to buy a truck and hopes to expand his business when he grows up. Recycling allows us to spend time together and do some good for the ocean’s animals.

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