Consumers today care as much about corporate social responsibility (CSR) as about their products and services. This is especially good news for environmentally conscious entrepreneurs.
We’ve compiled eco-friendly, green industry business ideas that save the planet while making money.
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What is Green Industry?
The green industry business is the business of making products using sustainable materials. Green industrial companies aim to use as little water, energy, and raw materials as possible while reducing their carbon footprint or find ways to utilize these materials in a renewable and environmentally friendly way. This business approach minimizes the company’s burden on natural resources and its contribution to climate change. In some cases, when waste is generated, it is reused as energy or raw material.
What is a green business model?
With a traditional business model, a company outlines a raw material budget, design process, service delivery, or product distribution method. A green business model prioritizes minimizing a company’s environmental impact rather than maximizing profits while ensuring sufficient returns. This could include other approaches to limiting the use of fossil fuels while also highlighting the power supplied by solar panels and significantly reducing energy consumption.
How do I start an eco-friendly business?
As consumers become more interested in CSR, more green companies have emerged, but the challenges posed by climate change require many solutions. So, to start a green business, first identify green services that no one currently offers on the market. You can then think of similar eco-friendly people you know and ask them to join your team.
As you start a green business, change your lifestyle to reflect the values and services of your business.
Green companies could include outdoor apparel brands, companies that make reusable plastic bottles, green cleaning companies, companies that install solar panels, local recycling companies, and many other potential ventures. If you are looking to start your own eco-friendly green industry business, consider one of the 23 ideas below.
1. Ink replenishment business
Starting an ink refill business is not only a lucrative decision, it can also be an environmentally conscious decision. Considering the amount of paper wasted each year, you might wonder if refilling ink cartridges is really good for the environment. However, reusing old ink cartridges reduces the amount of non-biodegradable waste that accumulates in landfills. In the business world, you still need paper, but you don’t need empty ink containers.
2. Environmental publications
If you like writing, start publishing that cares about the environment. Your actions can drastically change the world. By debunking popular myths and sharing the truth about the world we live in, we can help consumers rethink the impact their actions have on the planet.
3. Green Finance
Green Finance focuses on supporting community-level projects with a focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. Green finance generally relates to providing educational opportunities, providing funding for artistic endeavors and projects that support local ecology.
Green finance places great importance on social profitability. While monetary benefits are important, the goal of green finance is to support beneficial projects that provide value to local communities and ecosystems.
4. Eco-friendly retail
Consumer rewards programs are popular with retailers, and e-commerce site EcoPlum is no exception. Customers earn Eco Chipz with every purchase, which can be exchanged for rewards or donations for various environmental contributions. Each product sold also carries a third-party green certification or equivalent eco-label.
In addition to selling sustainably sourced products, EcoPlum creates educational content, including monthly columns from industry experts, local green business listings, recycling information, eco tips, and book and video recommendations. If you are considering opening a retail store, consider partnering with a company that has similar motives and values to you and your customers.
5. Sustainable Building Materials
Axion, for example, hopes to change the way businesses think about rebuilding America’s infrastructure with green products. The company’s rail ties and stakes are made from consumer and industrial recycled plastics rather than unsustainable materials like steel and concrete. Axion is currently working with key partners like Long Island Rail Road to safely and sustainably improve America’s infrastructure. You may not think construction is sustainable, but some companies now offer recycled materials for use in projects such as infrastructure repairs.
6. Organic Catering
A great way for green foodies to share their passion for food and the environment is to start an organic catering company. Offering local events and business luncheons with food that includes organic and locally grown ingredients, free range meat, vegan, gluten-free and Paleo dining options, it will appeal to nature lovers and health and wellness enthusiasts alike.
However, avoid plastic and paper products as much as possible and compost your food waste to minimize your environmental impact.
7. Eco-friendly beauty salon
If beauty is your passion, then start a beauty business approved by Mother Nature. Organic and vegan hair and beauty products are popping up everywhere. One way to make this trend effective is to open up an eco-friendly hair salon. You can open a hair salon that uses natural shampoos and conditioners, or a nail salon that uses eco-friendly vegan polishes and spa treatments.
8. Eco-friendly landscaping
Professional landscaping can make your lawn and garden look great, but not all maintenance is necessarily good for the environment. With our environmentally friendly advice and know-how, you can help homeowners create greener yards, both literally and figuratively. SheKnows recommends artificial turf, drought-tolerant plants and strategically placed trees for lawns that save water, energy and money.
9. Sustainable Event Planning
Meetings and events, large or small, can generate a lot of waste and consume valuable resources. Green event planners use their expertise and event planning skills to find green venues, materials and accommodations.
Sustainable event management offers benefits beyond the planet. According to the Sustainable Events Guide, there are financial benefits as well as creating a positive image for event organizers, suppliers and stakeholders while raising awareness and inspiring change in the community.
10. Bicycle Repair and Repair
Cycling short distances is better for the environment and health than driving. Like most modes of transportation, bicycles need adjustments from time to time.
You can become a professional cyclist when you need to repair or maintain your bike. If you have the extra space, you can make a profit by buying a cheap old bike, repairing it, and selling it.
11. Natural/Organic Handmade Products
Soaps, cosmetics and cleaning products are just some of the household items that can be made using common organic ingredients.
Of course, anyone can find a recipe for a sugar scrub or vinegar wash solution and do it themselves, but packaging and selling as a set puts natural products at the convenience of customers’ fingertips. Local markets and events are great places to sell or start an online store.
12. Eco Consulting
Are you an expert in green living? Start eco-consulting service. Our consultants evaluate your home and office and provide solutions that make them more environmentally friendly.
You can advise your customers to convert their appliances to more energy-efficient machines or implement a recycling program. To further increase your credibility, become a certified eco consultant.
13. Agricultural products direct market
Thanks to the organic movement, green thumbs have a golden opportunity to make money selling non-GMO, pesticide-free produce at local farmers’ markets.
Selling naturally grown fruits and vegetables provides distinct advantages over competing growers using conventional farming methods, including pesticides. You may need to get approval and/or certification from your local health board first before you can start selling.
14. Green Housekeeping Service
For working parents, house cleaning may be at the bottom of your to-do list. Market yourself as an eco-friendly solution to your household problems, using only approved natural and environmentally friendly cleaning products to provide services ranging from light dust removal to arduous chores like kitchen and bathroom cleaning.
Charge by the hour or create your own service package for a flat rate. Remember, your customer is giving you access to your home. Build a credible reputation with people you know first before advertising to strangers.
15. ‘Upcycling’ Furniture
Do not throw away old and broken furniture. With access to basic templates and power tools, you can disassemble and reassemble chairs, tables and wardrobes to paint and sell. Shelves and cabinets can be easily made out of pieces of wood, and depending on the item you can even completely restore a unique and valuable piece of furniture.
Or you can give old chairs and sofas a new life by upholstering them. Buying second-hand not only saves you money, it’s also good for the environment.
16. Green Franchise
Do you want to run your business with an already established brand and customer base? Investing in a franchise may be the answer. When you think of franchising, you think of fast food restaurants and hotel chains, but there are many eco-friendly franchise businesses. Visit this Green Franchise Directory for a list of opportunities.
17. Thrift store
New ones are usually expensive and soon the costs add up. For example, a new book can cost between $15 and $30, while a used book usually costs only a few dollars.
Opening a second-hand store not only saves your customers money, it’s also good for the environment. Instead of throwing perfectly good things in the trash, encourage consumers to donate used items so others can get value from them. You can sell used clothes, coats, books, kitchenware, furniture, and more.
18. Green Consulting
Barbara Englehart, business sustainability consultant, said there are many benefits to being green, including reduced costs, risk and debt, and improved employee retention and productivity.Whether reducing energy costs or reducing carbon footprint, the pressure for businesses to adopt green practices is high and will continue to grow.
“This is completely new in the business world, and businesses need help,” Englehart told Business News Daily. “We didn’t teach sustainability in business schools five or ten years ago.”
19. Solar Panel Installation
20. Green Cleaning
Common cleaning products contain chemicals that contribute to contamination and harm people and pets they come in contact with. Starting a green cleaning business can solve this problem. Green cleaning businesses can use only non-toxic products or brands that minimize the use of single-use plastics. Reusing greywater where possible can further reduce your company’s environmental impact.
21. Reusable Plastic Bottles
Single-use plastics are undoubtedly a major cause of concern among environmentalists. Start a green industrial business that designs, produces and sells reusable plastic bottles, giving people a way to drink water on the go without contributing to plastic pollution. Explore using alternative materials such as bottles made from metal or glass, recycled plastic, or renewable plastics made from materials like cornstarch or sawdust.
22. Environmental Impact and Carbon Emissions Class
Many people are unaware of the carbon footprint of daily activities and the impact these activities have on the environment. It offers classes to educate the public on how driving, using air conditioning in the summer, turning on unnecessary lights, flying, and other activities contribute to carbon emissions. You can also teach people how to reduce the environmental impact of these activities.
23. Local eco-friendly recycling business
The town’s public works department will likely oversee public recycling programs, but many experts say what goes into the recycling bin doesn’t always get recycled. Some municipalities do not allow all types of recyclable containers, while others may not thoroughly sort the recyclables they collect. Start a green local recycling business to ensure product recycling in your community.