Damion Hickman/Neil Tolbert


Saving the Sea

At 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning, most kids are still in their pajamas. But 9-year-old Ryan Hickman is already hard at work. He runs Ryan’s Recycling, a company that collects plastic and other trash for recycling. His goal is to keep trash out of the ocean, where it can hurt marine life.

At 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning, most kids are still in their pajamas. But 9-year-old Ryan Hickman is already hard at work. He runs Ryan’s Recycling. It’s a company that collects plastic and other trash for recycling. Ryan wants to keep trash out of the ocean, where it can hurt marine life.

Garbage at Sea

Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

Ryan lives in San Juan Capistrano, California, near the Pacific Ocean. He loves the ocean and the creatures that call it home. But he knows that these animals face a growing problem: trash.

Every year, billions of pounds of trash get into Earth’s oceans. This trash comes from many different places, such as city streets and off trucks heading to landfills. Wind, rainwater, and rivers carry the trash into the ocean.

The trash Ryan worries about most is plastic, like bottles and bags. Some ocean animals get tangled in plastic. Others, like whales and turtles, eat it by mistake.

Ryan lives in San Juan Capistrano, California. It’s a town near the Pacific Ocean. Ryan loves the ocean and the creatures that call it home. But he knows that these animals face a growing problem: trash.

Billions of pounds of trash get into Earth’s oceans every year. This trash comes from many different places. A lot of it comes from city streets and off trucks heading to landfills. Wind, rainwater, and rivers carry the trash into the ocean.

The trash Ryan worries about most is plastic, like bottles and bags. Some ocean animals get tangled in plastic. Others, like whales and turtles, eat it by mistake. 

Take That, Trash!

A few years ago, Ryan started a recycling company to help fight ocean trash. Every week, he collects plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other recyclable items from neighbors and local businesses. He takes the items to a recycling center, where he trades them for cash. So far, he has collected 90,000 pounds of recyclables.

“I think it’s making a difference,” Ryan told Scholastic News. “It means less trash is going into the ocean.”

Ryan started a recycling company to help fight ocean trash. He collects plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other recyclable items from neighbors and local businesses. He takes the items to a recycling center. He trades themin for cash. So far, he has collected 90,000 pounds of recyclables.

“I think it is making a difference,” Ryan told Scholastic News. “It means less trash is going into the ocean.”

Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com (paper towel); urbanbuzz/Shutterstock.com (apple core); FabrikaSimf/Shutterstock.com (can); Good Shop Background/Shutterstock.com (plastic bottle)

1. How do billions of pounds of trash get into the ocean?

2. What does Ryan Hickman mean when he says “I think it’s making a difference”? 

3. What does the sidebar, “How Long Trash Lasts,” tell you about plastic? 

1. How do billions of pounds of trash get into the ocean?

2. What does Ryan Hickman mean when he says “I think it’s making a difference”? 

3. What does the sidebar, “How Long Trash Lasts,” tell you about plastic? 

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