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23 Sustainable Business Ideas for Green Entrepreneurs

These days, environmental sustainability is more important to consumers than ever. According to a recent study, Canadians are increasingly trending towards sustainable shopping habits, like supporting local businesses, purchasing green products, and reducing plastic packaging consumption. In order to appeal to a target market that cares about sustainable business strategies, an eco-friendly business needs to prioritize practices like reducing their carbon footprint in order to make a positive environmental impact.

If you’re interested in starting your own sustainable business but you’re not sure where to begin, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with these 23 green business ideas.

What is a green business?

A business is considered green or eco-friendly when it proactively works to reduce its carbon footprint by introducing sustainable practices into the traditional business model. Green business opportunities can come in all shapes and forms, but the uniting factor is that they all have an emphasis on being sustainable in some way, whether that’s through creating new products using recyclable materials or introducing eco-friendly natural products into their daily operations. 

Many consumers are reporting a preference for purchasing environmentally sustainable products, which puts pressure on business owners to meet that expectation by shifting to incorporate more eco-friendly practices. If you’ve been thinking about starting your own business but you aren’t sure what you want to sell, why not create a profitable business that will also help the planet as well?

23 eco-friendly and sustainable business ideas

Now that you know a little bit more about what it means to be a green business, let’s take a look at some of the many types of eco-friendly businesses that you can start.

1. Start an ink refill business

Many businesses and individuals use printers on a regular basis, and every time they have to replace their printer and toner cartridges, they are contributing to plastic pollution. Luckily, you can help them save money and the environment by starting your own ink refill business. 

2. Get involved in green finance

The term green finance refers to financial activity related to projects like preventing pollution from carbon emissions, investigating renewable energy sources, and conserving the environment. 

3. Open an eco-friendly retail business

An eco-friendly retail business can be any company that sells sustainable items like eco-friendly cleaning products. In addition to offering sustainable products, a green business might emphasize using raw materials, biodegradable packaging, or reducing energy consumption.

4. Sell sustainable construction materials

The green living mindset has extended to the way we build, and that means that there’s a market for sustainable materials for construction. A material can be considered sustainable for a number of reasons, including whether it’s locally sourced, made of recyclable and/or recycled materials, or is sourced from environmentally friendly manufacturers.

5. Offer sustainable landscaping services

Many homeowners take great pride in looking after their outdoor space, which means that landscaping is a large and profitable business for an aspiring entrepreneur. However, what you may not have realized is that harmful materials are typically used that have consequences beyond keeping your backyard aesthetically pleasing.

Sustainable landscaping focuses on introducing plants that work with the natural habitat. They require minimal care, less watering, and the use of fewer pesticides. Sustainable landscaping businesses can provide information, source and install organic materials, as well as landscape maintenance as needed.

6. Run an organic catering business

There will always be a need for prepared food, and using organic produce is better for the earth in so many ways. For example, organic produce does not use harmful chemicals that damage the soil. Locally-sourced ingredients also help to reduce your business’s carbon footprint. While vegan and vegetarian foods create less pollution and a reduced environmental impact as compared to cooking with meat products.

7. Provide bicycle repair and refurbishing

Biking is an eco-friendly means of transportation and exercise, and most bike owners rely on bike shops when they need something repaired or replaced. To start a bike repair business, you’ll need to invest in basic and specialized repair tools, replacement parts, as well as a workspace. However, you don’t need any specific training or education to become a bicycle mechanic.

8. Sell handmade all-natural organic products

If you have a passion for natural beauty products, then setting up an all-natural beauty business could be for you. There are conscious businesses that sell everything from makeup to soy candles to essential oils. Just be careful to follow your local guidelines and regulations before you claim that your product is organic.

9. Become a vendor at a farmers’ market

Farmers’ markets can be a great place to interact with new potential customers and turn your hobby into a side hustle or even a full-time career. Most markets will have a website where you can find information on the application process, or you can speak to current vendors to find out more.

Consider applying to markets where no one else is providing the exact same product as you are. For example, if you’re a polymer clay earring maker, other jewellery vendors may not be direct competition, but another polymer clay jeweller may take potential business away from you, especially if they are more established.

10. Start upcycling furniture for resale

Upcycling is a creative way to transform old, unwanted furniture or discarded materials into a sellable product. It also helps to reduce the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills each year. Start by finding a piece of furniture and making it over to suit your personal style. Over time, you’ll improve your skills and develop an eye for spotting abandoned furniture that has the potential to make a profit once it’s been flipped.

11. Open a second-hand store

People love to purchase one-of-a-kind, unique clothing items, so if you’re a fashionable entrepreneur who’s great at thrifting, a second-hand store could be the perfect business. You may even already have some cool vintage finds that you can try selling online before you make a bigger investment into sourcing new items.

12. Learn solar panel installation

Solar panels convert the clean, renewable solar energy that comes from the sun into usable electricity. While solar panels are especially useful for remote locations where they can generate power without being connected to the main electric grid, solar energy is also increasingly popular with new builds in urban locations. The process of installing solar panels includes planning, building a platform, mounting the panels, and setting up the wiring that makes it all work. While it’s not necessary to get certified in order to become a solar panel installer, you will probably need to find some sort of training opportunity to learn the ins and outs, whether that’s through a specialized program or training on the job.

13. Sell eco-friendly fashion and clothing items

Do you want to start your own eco-friendly clothing business where you can produce high-quality, unique items that look amazing and benefit the planet at the same time? Before you get started, it’s a good idea to define what is important for your business when it comes to sustainable practices. For example, you could focus on sourcing recycled materials or using manufacturing practices that reduce your carbon footprint.

14. Provide ecological dry cleaning and laundry services

The traditional business model for dry cleaning uses harmful chemical solvents that contribute to pollution. Instead, try offering wet cleaning, a process that allows for clothes to be cleaned just as efficiently as traditional dry cleaning, without harming the environment. Another way to improve your ecological impact is to switch out your harsh chemical detergents for eco-friendly, non-toxic alternatives like liquid carbon dioxide.

15. Sell water filters and purifiers

Water purifiers can create drinkable water out of previously contaminated water. If you’re interested in working in the water filtration business, you could develop your own household products, become a product dealer for an established water filtration company, or perform the actual purification process before selling the clean water to a distributor.

16. Offer biodegradable eco-friendly products for pets

People spend a ton of money on their furry friends, but unfortunately, a lot of the products on the market are contributing to our carbon footprint. If you want to offer green alternatives to regular pet supplies, you could look into organic pet shampoos, compostable poop bags and cat litter, or upcycled toys, to name a few.

17. Become an environmental consultant

If you’re really passionate about improving the environment and helping companies to reduce their environmental impact, performing energy audits and environmental impact assessments could be the career for you. This can include dealing with topics like the implementation of renewable energy sources, reducing contamination, and non-biodegradable waste management.

18. Develop green apps

Being a green app developer means creating an app that fulfills an environmentally friendly purpose. Some eco-friendly apps that currently exist include ones for ride shares, a vegetarian recipe app, and a water bottle refill app.

19. Start a car-sharing service

A car-sharing service provides people who don’t own a vehicle with an alternative to renting or borrowing a car when you can’t get somewhere on public transit or by foot. Approved users can book trips and pick up a car from a nearby location, where they’ll return the vehicle once they’ve completed their trip.

20. Get into green pest control

Running a green pest control business means that while you’ll still be using chemicals and pesticides, the products you use will target the problem area while reducing any negative impact nearby. Another method of green pest control involves an emphasis on prevention through techniques including fences, traps, and bait.

21. Open a green hair salon

Like most businesses, a hair or nail salon creates a huge amount of waste, and many of the products and practices used have a negative impact on the environment. Some ways to make your hair salon the most eco-friendly it can be are by using recyclable products, ammonia-free hair colour, and energy-saving practices.

22. Learn technology refurbishment

Technology refurbishment involves taking an old or used piece of technology and restoring it to like-new condition in terms of both function and appearance. This business type might also include tech repair like fixing broken phone screens, a common issue among smartphone users. 

23. Start a composting service

Food waste is a huge problem, but you can help by creating a business that provides compost bins to individuals and businesses. You’ll need to pick up and replace the bins at regular intervals and take care of composting the waste. You can even set up a relationship with local farmers and provide compost to them in order to help contribute to supporting your local economy.

Now that you have a list of awesome ideas for green businesses, use them as inspiration to create your very own sustainable, successful business!

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