Opportunities for small business in a waste “less” world20 Dec 2018
2018 is almost done and what was most exciting this year has been the growth and expansion of knowledge and caring about how we treat the planet. within. More and more people are becoming aware and looking at how they can be more conscious. Social media is playing a huge role in getting information out there without a total reliance on traditional media.
What is concerning is how certain companies are using lip service and clever marketing to appear like they get it. I note the growth in “bio plastics” and separately, calls by brands in the top 10 largest plastic polluters stating that they will make their products more recyclable.
1. As consumers, how do we navigate the bio-plastics world and if a bio-plastic item requires 70 degrees and several months in an industrial compost to break down then how “bio” is that? These conditions are not replicated in the ocean or even the local park.
2. Technically the plastic packaging that most products come in is already recyclable. However, if the facilities aren’t there to collect it or recycle it then has there been a change?
In 2019 it would be wonderful to learn of small businesses sprouting around the world, taking advantage of a reusable culture. Local business and enterprise taking on the big polluters by slipping in underneath and getting a slice of the market that is currently only a single-use market, almost completely owned by a few huge companies and thier subsiduaries.
What I am referring to is the crazy business as usual supply of single-use shampoo, conditioner, detergent, soap, food products and more in tiny one use plastic satchels. Companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Danone have people hooked on expensive (per volume) packets that are flooding rivers and the ocean completely unnecessarily. See below a common site in many countries around the world.
Top: The standard scene in a village store and Bottom: Collected from a river in under 5min during the Peloton Against Plastic
I believe the writing is on the wall and if the massive corporates don’t jump on and offer bulk options, others will. Wonderful businesses such as Zero Waste Bali and The Organik House - Go Eco Vietnam will start popping up everywhere. If someone can produce drums and buckets of sanitary or food products (preferably natural) in bulk, offering refills to shoppers, people will see this as a viable option and turn away from having to dispose of daily plastic. This will happen as knowledge about plastic pollution spreads and it is.
Not really having a need for shampoo myself I did a quick google search and found 3 simple recipes for homemade shampoo as an example that could be made at a village level. Keeping the cash within the local economy rather than spending on foreign multi-nationals and wasteful ways. It makes sense to support you neighbour.
The 3 recipes include
- Honey and Lemon Juice
- Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar
- Castile Soap and Coconut Milk
With additional ingredients like essential oils for smell and dry hair.
Then of course there are shampoo bars that don’t require plastic packaging and could also be sold in small sizes and last A LOT longer than these satchels.
This is just one example of a multitude of business ideas for local people around the world, improving their local economy and their local environment. We can put our heads together and if the status quo doesn't believe in change then we can change it, and we will.
Paul Hellier - Founder
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