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Remember 6-year-old recycling entrepreneur Ryan Hickman from our Green Issue last April? With the help of his family, Ryan founded his own startup, Ryan’s Recycling Company, at the ripe age of 3 in San Juan Capistrano.

When we interviewed Ryan for our April 8 cover story, he had earned more than $8,000 from recycling bottles, and he hoped to eventually buy his own garbage truck.

Today, Ryan, who’s now 7, has earned over $10,000 from recycling more than 200,000 bottles. Ryan’s story caught the attention of multiple news outlets, and he was recently invited onto “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to talk about his company and the importance of recycling. His segment aired Monday, Jan. 30.

After sharing with Ellen why he recycles—to protect animals and the environment—she surprised him with a personalized battery-powered kid-sized recycling truck and a $10,000 check from Shutterfly to help fund his business.

For more information on Ryan’s Recycling Company, visit

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