Waste management is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity today. What does an entrepreneur think when she sees a problem? That’s right, a chance to solve the problem, and profit!
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that’s never more true than when it comes to waste management. In this article we’ll look at how you can take the organic waste produced by your community, and turn it into a profitable business venture.
Step 1: Research the Science
You’ll need to understand how to take organic materials such as leaves, grass cuttings, food waste and other forms of organic material, and turn them into rich, natural compost.
The science behind it is not too difficult. Basically, everything will decompose in its own time, but there are some things you can do to speed things up and strengthen your end product. Getting a grip on the basics is a good start and will only help you down the line.
You’ll also need to know which organic materials are nutrient rich, and can be used as fertilizer, and which aren’t suitable for this, but can still be used as soil conditioners, for example.
Step 2: Check the Legality & Get it Right
Depending on where you live in the world you may need some sort of license if you’re going to produce products which are to be used in agriculture.
While this business is nowhere near as complex as raising animals or growing crops, some countries and states may still want to inspect your premises and check your processes to make sure everything is safe and operating within health, safety and environmental laws.
Dig around on the internet, and if you’re planning to do this on any serious scale, consult with an attorney. The money spent at this stage will be worth it down the line.
Step 3: Find Sources of Organic Waste
To create a potent compost your customers will love and which you can sell at market, you’ll need a steady supply of organic waste materials.
Cafes, restaurants and other businesses in the area may be happy to allow you to haul their organic waste away for free, since this reduces their waste management costs. Talk to people, network, and tell them what you’re doing. Some may even pay you to haul their waste, which puts you firmly in the waste management business.
If you want to expand further, no-one is likely to turn down the offer of a free lawn cutting service, where you keep the grass you’ve cut. Note that this will take time and it’s much more cost and time effective to offer to collect already existing organic refuse.
One you have your sources, you need…..
Step 4: Set up the Compost Farm
You’ll need to check out the relevant health, safety and environmental laws in your area, as some may exist regarding the proximity of a compost farm to industrial premises and residential areas.
Once you know that, you’ll need:
A) Either pits or skips to dump the waste in and let it decompose.
B) Tools like shovels, gloves, masks and bags.
C) A production area where you can bag the compost, seal the bags, and label your product.
D) A truck or delivery vehicle. This can be used to pick up the waste at source, too, to save on costs.
Once you’ve created the organic compost, bagged it, and labeled it, you’re good to sell it and make a profit.
Step 5: Distribution/Delivery
You really have three options here:
First, you could talk to farmers and gardeners in your local area and offer to deliver fresh, organic compost to them. They can use this for soil maintenance and depending on what materials it’s made from, in some cases, as a fertilizer.
Second, you could have a stall at a farmers market or gardening fair. Many gardening enthusiasts use compost to give their plants the extra nutrients they need and to recondition soil. This is your target market, and you want to put your product out in front of them.
Lastly, you could set up a small e-commerce store and sell via the internet. This gives you a much wider reach, but will involve shipping and other costs. If you feel you have the capital, and you have the desire to scale up, this can be a great next step after you succeed at the local level.
Summary: How to Start an Organic Waste Management Business
So there you have it. A simple, easy to implement business idea which you can do on a small or a large scale, and which you can start almost anywhere, using the space you’ve already got. The great thing about this is, it’s not only profitable, but is also good for your community!
As demand for organic, natural agricultural products grows, and as effective waste management becomes a critical issue for humans, there’s never been a greater time to take waste products and create something useful from them.
With a bag of high-quality, natural compost fetching as high as $7.99, this could be quite a profitable venture if you do it right!