December 1, 2023

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Looking to make a positive difference in the world while also earning a little extra cash on the side? A long-lasting side hustle can put you in the green.

The Green economy is booming, and so are the opportunities. For example, in the last five years, the number of jobs in Renewables and Environment has increased by 237%, according to LinkedIn’s Green Economy Report 2022. With more companies and consumers looking for green solutions, the demand for of sustainable services increased.

And here’s the good news. You don’t have to change careers to jump into the sustainable market. There are many side hustles to consider. Here are some.

1. Farmer’s market purveyor

Farmers markets aren’t just for farmers. Whether you have a large acre in the country or a small apartment in the city, selling your own products at a farmer’s market is a wonderful way to earn extra money.

If you are a gardener, consider selling your many seasonal fruits and vegetables. Set yourself apart by offering unique items like herbs, dried fruit, and heirloom tomatoes.

You can also sell potted houseplants, outdoor plants, or seeds for people to grow their own plants.

If you like to cook, how about hacking up some delicious sweet and savory pies?

Related: 7 Easy Habits That Will Make Your Business More Sustainable

2. Curbside recycler

Make money off other people’s trash.

One of the reasons people don’t recycle more is because, in many places, it’s not convenient enough. You can solve this problem by starting a curbside recycling business.

Companies like TerraCycle and BoxCycle will provide the boxes and even take out the trash for you. All you have to do is collect recyclables and manage the business. Some recyclables that can make you money:

  • Bottles and cans
  • Old Books
  • Wine Corks
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Ink Cartridges
  • Unused Gift Card
  • Ancient Electronics
  • Scrap Metals
  • Batteries
  • Clothing, Accessories, and Household Items

Even if you don’t retire on this money, you can get some extra cash for doing a little something and cleaning up the planet. For example, your used cans can earn you about $5 a pound.

3. Composter on the side of the road

Similar to curbside recycling, curbside composting is also a growing market. Many cities do not offer composting programs, leaving residents with piles of food scraps that go in the trash.

But wasting one person’s time is another’s.

By some estimates, an individual or family can eliminate 25% of their waste through composting. Create a curbside recycling unit that collects any plant or animal-based waste and takes it to a privately operated facility for convenience.

Companies like CompostNow offer partnerships to start your compost business.

4. Tailor

Are you handy with a sewing machine? Consider running a business that helps customers repair their clothes. Clothing recycling helps lighten the load on landfills and contributes to a service that is available to all. Keeping clothes usable for longer not only saves people money, but it also creates a net-positive impact on the environment.

It’s a win-win.

So how do you sew for dough? Start by changing some clothes for friends and colleagues. Once you feel confident, expand outside of your inner circle using Facebook and local advertising to market yourself. Also, consider getting a part-time job with a local tailor or dry cleaner who offers tailoring.

Related: 5 Strategies to Build a Lasting Brand for Today’s Market

5. Create sustainable products

The market for sustainable good is huge, because customers are willing to pay more for green goods.

So how can you tap into this desire to shop green? The scope of this path is wide, but you want to think about something that can be requested and maintained.

For example, a soap made from sustainable materials or a net-zero pet good company.

6. Recycled product maker

Someone’s trash can be your treasure. As a side hustle, start a business that creates products from recycled materials.

For example, an entrepreneur can build bike racks from recycled plastic, make furniture from recycled tires, or even use recycled stainless steel to make water bottles.

Connect with recycling centers and manufacturers in your area and start thinking about ways to make a business viable.

7. Green company investor

Many people like to dabble in investing as a side hustle. What if you concentrated this investment only on the green market?

Wall Street is increasingly betting on companies with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, and major stock brokers offer sustainable funds that target these companies.

Investing in green companies not only helps these companies financially, but it helps them achieve excellence.

But you don’t just have to invest in big companies trading on Wall Street. You can also put your money in startups. Look at VC funds focused on small sustainable companies.

8. Rideshare driver

Driving a car for Uber, Lyft, or other ride-sharing services may seem counterintuitive to going green. But consider this: What if you clocked in to work as a ride share operator on your way to and from your primary job? On the road, you pick people up as part of your ride-share side hustle and drop them off on your way to work? However, you will take that route in your car.

And using rideshares instead of cars can be better for the environment. A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology measured the environmental impact of ride-sharing services and found that they are better than private car ownership in terms of lower emissions of air pollutants.

Bonus if you drive an EV.

Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Business More Sustainable

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