The soaring pollution levels, careless use of natural resources, and adverse impact of climate change have led to the gradual collapse of the environment—and one of the main reasons for these are unsustainable business and industrial methods. From following extremely pollutive manufacturing processes to dumping harmful pollutants into rivers, people have let these slip by for way longer than it should have.
Fortunately, if there are numerous ways aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners can go green—and that’s using recycled or upcycled materials. Plus, modern consumers and users are willing to pay more for items and services, providing a positive environmental impact.
Here are the best businesses you can start from recycled or upcycled materials, helping you earn more than just profit.
Making Clothes from Plastic
More than trillions of tons of plastic waste are generated in different countries globally, roughly translating to 160,000 plastic waste per second. The worst part is, plastic is virtually indestructible, with plastic bottles being able to last up to 10,000 years. Fortunately, plastic is a flexible and recyclable material. Whether you have pet bottles, plastic bags, straws, and other single-use plastic items, you can recycle them to make clothes and other fabrics. Besides clothes, you can also create scarves, pants, and rags in bulk, making it a sustainable and profitable business to consider.
Sell Sustainable Drinking Straws
One of the most lucrative businesses you can explore is straw manufacturing or selling recycled straws. In fact, experts suggest that the global paper straw market size will be worth more than $3.7 billion by 2027, making it a profitable sector to consider. Companies like Loliware address the straw issue cleverly, replacing the standard plastic material and using seaweed-based materials instead—creating sturdy single-use straws that are compostable and even edible.
Straws are one of the most pollutive items ever. Although these small items break down reasonably fast, they often release chemicals into the environment, ranging from the air, water, and soil, ultimately harming animals, plants, people, and the overall surroundings. Billions of straws get thrown away worldwide every day, lasting forever, and people only use them for roughly around half an hour. Plus, they’re one of the most common plastic pollutants you can find in waterways.
If you’re relatively creative and love making children happy, what better way than manufacturing all-natural and eco-friendly children’s toys? Kids’ toys are notorious for using tons of plastic, which can be detrimental to the environment. However, thanks to technological advancements, companies can now use recycled plastics such as milk jugs to create the same high-quality children’s toy but more responsibly.
When deciding on these toys’ packaging, consider using cardboard boxes printed with soy ink, allowing it to biodegrade or decay faster than standard petroleum-based inks that most manufacturers use.
One of the most lucrative businesses you can start using recycled materials is producing sustainable and recycled footwear. Startup companies such as Allbirds have experienced great success by producing footwear using 100% recycled materials, ranging from sustainably harvested sheep’s wool, recycled cardboard, plastic, and castor bean oil. They get sheep’s wool from sustainable farming and animal welfare organizations, ensuring their livestock are happy and healthy. Starting a business from this concept can help you earn big, save the environment, and help your clients feel good about wearing out another pair of shoes.
Resell Used Appliances
Just like how you’d recycle old computers and laptops, reselling used household appliances involves purchasing them from regular individuals that don’t need them anymore, refurbishing them, and selling them for profits. If you come across wholly broken parts of home appliances, you can likely salvage them and sell to environmentally concerned consumers.
For example, glass trays in a microwave are usually expensive and can either be sold or recycled. If you have any old home appliances lying around or know friends that may have some, consider reselling them as a business.
Selling Used Books
Around 3.5 to 7 billion trees every year get cut down worldwide to produce paper, agricultural expansion, and general harvesting of timber. A great business idea you can try to avoid adding to those staggering figures is by selling used books. Although plenty of energy and green cover is lost while manufacturing the paper used for the books, it’s only right and sustainable to use old books than buy new ones. Launching a retail store selling used books is a profitable and thriving business you can try.
Sustainability doesn’t need to be a challenge. If you’re planning on establishing a brand-new company, any of the business ideas mentioned are 100% eco-friendly and only need recycled or upcycled materials to start. So, explore any of them to begin your lucrative venture smoothly—helping you earn and grow more responsibly today.