Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Itís hip to be green, finally. And, it can be profitable, too. More and more people are getting the message that we should all do a better job of managing the earthís resources and that means larger and expanding markets for a multitude of earth-friendly businesses.
Below are some ideas for environmentally-conscious small and home-based business. Most of these businesses are pretty easy to start, too.
Local Farming: The push for eating locally and sustainable agriculture is a big boon to small farmers. Find farmerís markets in your area with this USDA list. The list includes contact information so you can call and get the info on how to rent a booth. One small way to enter this arena is to grow and sell fresh herbs. Any organic produce or even just locally-grown produce also works well.
If you donít have a green thumb or lack your own planting areas, you can buy produce from other local farmers and re-sell it at the farmerís market.
Green Landscaping Services: There are several ways to approach making landscaping more earth-friendly. One is to educate landscaping company owners about better products and methods they can then implement and market to their customers. Another is to form a competitive company and provide the same or similar services in an environmentally-friendly manner. Still another is to make and sell landscaping products that are nontoxic, organic and support environmental concerns.
Recycling Businesses: Many recyclable items are not recycled. Part is due to public awareness issues. Part is due to lack of recycling facilities. Can you think of a way to recycle items in your area and make money at it? There are farmers who collect restaurant refuse (leftover and scrap foodstuffs) and then process it (removing non-food items) and feed it to their livestock. Some also collect the same refuse and turn it into compost that they then package and sell.
You could support recycling education for schools and make money, too. By working with schools to have students collect recyclables (for which you would pay them a below-market price for the items, perhaps along with a prize program) which you would then sell to recyclers, keeping the profit. The beauty of this is that your collection efforts are minimized, you are educating the next generation about recycling and you are of course, helping the environment. This is a good idea for parent groups to use as fundraisers, too.
Retail businesses: Either online or offline, you can sell earth-friendly products to the public. Almost all products have earth-friendly counterparts. Cleaning products, beauty products, clothing, baby items, solar power products, gardening supplies, home dťcor items, even furniture can be made from recycled, organic or sustainable materials.
To further educate yourself about environmental issues and generate some additional business ideas, here is a great, simple book:
And, the Academy-award winning Al Gore documentary is a must-have for your collection.
These resources will help you be more earth-friendly in your personal life and in your business life. They will also help you "know your stuff", which is a big plus in establishing credibility for any business.