CLOSE
Damion Hickman
Damion Hickman

Meet the 7-Year-Old Boy Who Runs His Own Recycling Business

Damion Hickman
Damion Hickman

A 7-year-old boy in Orange County, California has quite literally turned trash into treasure: Ryan Hickman launched his own recycling business, and is saving his earnings for college, Distractify reports.

The young entrepreneur’s inspiration for “Ryan’s Recycling” was fueled by a visit he and his father paid to a local recycling center when Ryan was 3 years old.

“He likes to sort pretty much anything, and he liked putting the bottles in the machine,” his father, Damion Hickman, told local newspaper The Capistrano Dispatch. “He probably got two or three bucks, and he was so excited about it. And of course then he got to sort his change, so that meant more sorting.”

When the toddler returned home, he and his mother distributed plastic bags among his neighbors so Ryan could collect and dispose of their cans and bottles, his website states. Friends, family members, and their co-workers soon joined in and, lo and behold, an entrepreneur was born.

Ryan devotes a portion of his week to sorting and cleaning the bottles and cans he collects, and every few weeks, he takes them to the recycling plant. (Ryan's family lends a helping hand—and even more importantly, a car.) Over the years, his family thinks he’s recycled around 200,000 cans and bottles. He's also saved approximately $10,000 for college—although if Ryan had it his way, he says he would use the money to purchase his own garbage truck.

All photos courtesy ofDamion Hickman

For Ryan, recycling is a win-win situation: It helps the environment, plus you can earn some extra cash, he says. It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.

Ryan is “very passionate” about recycling, “and he likes to get everybody else passionate about it as well,” Ryan's mother, Andrea, told the Dispatch. “I think he’s rubbed off on all of us now. You find yourself walking past a can on the ground and needing to pick it up instead of walking away and leaving it there."

Want to support Ryan’s Recycling? If you live in Orange County, you can schedule a pick-up online. If you don’t, Ryan’s Recycling T-shirts are available for purchase. They cost $13, and all proceeds are donated to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California, where Ryan serves as a youth ambassador.

Get to know Ryan by watching the video below, filmed by his father.

[h/t: Distractify]

arrow
Food
Former NECCO CEO Has a Plan to Save the Company

It’s been a month of ups and downs for fans of candy company NECCO and its iconic sugary Wafers. In March, The Boston Globe reported the company is in desperate need of a buyer and that CEO Michael McGee notified the state of Massachusetts that most of their employees—around 395 of them—would likely face layoffs if a suitor isn't found by May.

That news caused a bit of a panic among candy lovers, who stormed CandyStore.com to hoard packs and packs of NECCO Wafers, should the company go under. In the weeks since the news about NECCO’s uncertain fate hit, sales of the company's products went up by 82 percent, with the Wafers alone increasing by 150 percent.

Seeing the reaction and knowing there is still plenty of space in the market for the venerable NECCO Wafers, the company’s former CEO, Al Gulachenski, reached out to CandyStore.com to lay out his plan to save the brand—most notably the Wafers and Sweethearts products.

The most important part of the plan is the money he’ll need to raise. Gulachenski is set to raise $5 to $10 million privately, and he’s creating a GoFundMe campaign for $20 million more to get his plan into motion. Once the funding is secure, the company will move to a new factory in Massachusetts that allows them to retain key executives and as many other employees as they can.

“I can promise you that if you donate you will own a piece of NECCO as I will issue shares to everyone that contributes money,” Gulachenski wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This company has been in our back yard for 170 years and it's time we own it.”

Gulachenski also elaborated that, as of now, there is another buyer interested in NECCO, but that buyer “is planning to liquidate the company, fire all the employees and close the doors of NECCO forever!”

So far, Gulachenski has raised only $565 of the $20 million needed. “I know it seems like a long way to go but I do expect some institutions to jump on board and get us most of the way there,” Gulachenski wrote in a GoFundMe update. “It is also likely we can get most of the company if we get to half of our goal.”

There is still a bit of a sour taste for candy fans to swallow, even if NECCO does get saved. According to Gulachenski, the Wafers and the Sweethearts may be the only products that the reorganized NECCO continues with. This could leave lovers of the company's other candies, like Clark Bars and Sky Bars, out in the cold.

“The sugar component Necco Wafer and Sweetheart is certainly the most nostalgic and recognizable brand, more than the chocolate,” Gulachenski told The Boston Globe. “It’s all going to depend how they decide to sell the company and liquidate.”

While you can still order the Wafers in bulk from Candystore.com, the site itself even says it has no idea when or if shipments will stop coming, especially as NECCO's future remains uncertain.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Food
Are Restaurants Undercooking Your Steak on Purpose?
iStock
iStock

Many steak lovers have had the dissatisfying experience of sitting down at a steakhouse, ordering their cut prepared their favorite way, and slicing into their meat only to find it's a shade redder than it's supposed to be. Some undercooked cuts can be chalked up to a mistake on the kitchen's part, but according to the New York Post, some cooks know exactly what they're doing when they take your steak off the grill too early.

Based on anecdotal observations from the Post, high-end steakhouses around New York City are serving steaks that were ordered medium-rare (130°F to 135°F) at a rare temperature (120°F to 125°F) so often that it's become a trend. At first this seems like an issue restaurants would want to avoid: A meal that's not prepared to the customer's liking has a higher chance of being sent back, costing chefs precious time. But the extra minute or two they spend firing a rare steak to medium-rare may pay off in the long run. An undercooked steak can be salvaged, unlike an overcooked steak, which needs to be thrown out and replaced with a whole new cut of beef if the diner is unhappy with it.

At a pricey steakhouse where steaks range from $50 to $150, tossing out premium, dry-aged cuts every night can do some real damage to a restaurant's bottom line. Undercooking steaks on purpose may be inconvenient for both the diners and the cooks, but it can act as a kind of insurance against picky guests.

So what does that mean for carnivores who want to enjoy their steak the way they want it as soon as it hits the table? Do as meat industry insiders do when they're eating out and try gaming the system. If you want your steak cooked medium-rare, the temperature most experts agree maximizes flavor and moisture, ask for medium-rare-plus instead. That way the cook will know to cook it a little longer than they normally would, which will hopefully produce a steak that's pink and juicy rather than blue and bloody.

[h/t New York Post]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios