Saving the Planet, One Business at a Time :
Top Eco-Friendly Ideas for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Green is the New Black: Consumers Demand Eco-Friendly Companies! Discover How 3 in 5 are Willing to Pay More for Sustainable Products and Services.
Consumers are increasingly seeking to reduce their environmental footprint in a variety of ways, including selecting eco-friendly companies to do business with. In fact, three out of five consumers say they are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products.
If you’re eco-minded and an aspiring entrepreneur, you can combine your passions and start a green business. Here you’ll find 12 green business ideas that can help you to contribute to the planet and make money at the same time.
The secondhand clothing market is booming, particularly with millennials and GenZ who are looking for sustainable fashion options. In fact, the global apparel resale market is worth nearly $120 billion and growing. You can easily find used clothing at garage sales, estate sales, or thrift stores and sell it online or from a brick-and-mortar store at a markup. You could also follow the thredUP model and take used clothing donations to resell for a profit.
If you have some refurbishing skills, upcycled furniture is a great way to go. You can find old furniture or even items that can be made into furniture at flea markets or garage sales, give them new life, and sell them for a profit. A brick-and-mortar upcycled furniture store is unlikely to have direct competition in most places, so you might be able to capture a large share of your local market.
Eco-Friendly Courier Service
Couriers serve a necessary purpose, delivering documents or other items locally, but they mean more cars on the road. If you have an electric car or are an avid cyclist, you could learn the basics of starting a courier business and market your company as an eco-friendly option. Courier services are a growing industry, worth $150 billion, so you could make a healthy living with a share of that market.
If you’re creative, you could make your own natural soaps to sell online. You just need some soap making equipment, some natural oils, and other natural ingredients. It’s a business that you could grow and eventually have your soap recipes manufactured on a larger scale. Imagine having your own natural soap brand! You could even expand to other products like bath bombs or lotions.
If you’re looking for a more blue-collar business, solar panel installation could be the way to go. It’s a growing industry, worth nearly $15 billion, so you’d be getting in on a market that has unlimited potential. You might want to start by working for another solar panel installation company to learn the trade and then launch your own company. It will, however, take some capital to get started since you’ll need the right equipment and an inventory of solar panels.
People are looking for eco-friendly travel options, particularly in urban areas, so a bike rental business could bring in a nice profit. If you live in a touristy area, your business would have even more potential. You could go the traditional way with a bike rental shop, or you could develop a bike-sharing app. Whether you go with e-bikes, or good old fashioned pedal bikes, you’ll be keeping cars off the road.
Organic Cosmetic Line
Another make at home option is an organic cosmetic line. Over the counter makeups often contain chemicals that are not good for the skin, and we’ve all heard the horror stories about animal testing. If you can come up with some organic formulas to make at home, you could capture the growing trend of organic skin products. You could also find a white label manufacturer to produce your cosmetics using your formulas and grow your business to a large scale.
If you’re a chef, you could start a sustainable catering business, which would be a great way to differentiate your company from competitors. To make it green, you can reduce food and water waste, source your ingredients locally from sustainable suppliers, and use eco-friendly tableware. Catering is a huge industry that’s expected to grow over the next few years, so you could be quite successful as the eco-friendly option in your area.
If you’re a writer, you could start a green blog, educating people about environmental issues and how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. You’d be able to have a large impact, by increasing awareness of green practices around the world. Once your blog has a large following, you’d start earning income from advertisements or from affiliate marketing, meaning that you partner with companies to earn a commission when a purchase is made from a link on your blog page.
If you’re a tinkerer, refurbished electronics are a big part of the push for bringing old things back to life and present a big opportunity. You could easily find non-working items at garage sales or even in people’s trash! You’ll need some skills and you might need to invest in parts, but refurbished electronics have a huge market, coming in at well over $85 billion. You could sell online, or just sell locally on sites like Facebook Marketplace.
It’s hard to believe, but many people still read good old fashioned paper books. Used books are popular, with consumers spending more than $87 million on used books each year. You can find used books easily at garage sales – in fact it’s unusual to find a garage sale that doesn’t have a box of old books in the corner! You could start an online used book store, or a brick-and-mortar store, and markup the books you find for a nice profit.
People are becoming more conscious of the harmful chemical used in cleaning products, and are turning to green products instead. You could start a green cleaning business to follow that trend, and build up a nice business using only natural cleaning products. You could clean homes or businesses and make an excellent hourly rate, while creating safer environments at the same time.
Hopefully one day the whole world will have gone green, but you can do your part now by starting a green business. Entrepreneurship can be a very rewarding pursuit in many ways, and doing so with the environment in mind is an added bonus. Whatever route you choose to go, marketing yourself as a green option should give you a competitive advantage and put you on your way to success!
Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor. She has founded companies in technology and media, both of which had successful exits within 5 years. She is the co-founder of Step By Step Business and an accomplished author and speaker.