Business

Tips to sustainable living and small business ideas

As the green movement gains momentum, many potential small business owners are realizing that the sustainable lifestyle trend is creating new business opportunities. Some of these businesses have a substantial learning curve involved, but some simply involve coming up with a new way to implement an old idea. People who are interested in starting a business for customers who want to live a sustainable lifestyle may want to consider one of these ideas:

Hoop House Building Business

As more and more people try to grow a portion of their own food, quite a few people who have never picked up a PVC pipe are researching four seasons gardening and discovering that a small hoop house is an important part of the equation. Someone who glances at hoop house plans and thinks that they sure are a breeze to assemble, but a smarter design would include a ridge pole to handle the load of winter snow may want to take a look at the steps involved in putting sturdy hoop house kits together and even assembling the kits for customers in the surrounding area.

Start a CSA Farm Business

Farming all week and then heading to farmer’s markets all weekend, only to throw away produce that didn’t sell, can be a scary proposition for an organic grower who is trying to make a living off the land. Some farmers realized that they could be green growers and avoid hauling goods to and from the market by selling shares of each season’s produce ahead of time to local consumers, who pick up their boxes on a weekly basis during the growing season.

This model, known as CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture can be very rewarding for both green growers and people who are trying to live a sustainable lifestyle. Growers know that their expenses are covered for the season once their shares are sold and customers know that they can rely on getting fresh, local produce from an organic grower every week.

Create an Off-Grid Related Business

Some people interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle just want to eat more local food. Others want to get rid of their dependence on petroleum-based products and services and don’t want to use electricity that puts stress on the environment. These people rarely toss everything aside and go back to a 17th-century pioneer lifestyle, though. Instead, they look for sustainable options, such as using solar panels and a bank of batteries to run a few key electronic devices.

Potential small business owners who have some experience with solar panels or using old fashioned human-powered tools may want to consider starting a business that caters to people who want to live an off-grid lifestyle. For those who have no interest in selling products, a business that teaches self-sustainable skills, such as canning fresh produce or foraging for edible weeds may be the perfect option.

Whether entrepreneurs interested in promoting a greener life opt for one of these business ideas or choose one of the many other sustainable business options, such as making functional but beautiful rain barrels, knowing that the business might literally help save the environment and will help people be more self-sufficient will give the new business owner a sense of satisfaction that may just be more important than turning a big profit. It is something better than operating trusted casinos.

Buy the Best Green Products with Truly Eco Friendly Lifecycles

Environmentally aware people do things like recycle or bring their own grocery bags to the market. They may buy organic food. These activities are great. But for those who are ready to learn more about how to minimize their carbon footprint, start by questioning the impact of everything they buy and use.

Every product that is available to consumers is manufactured, shipped, used by the consumer, and disposed of. This is referred to as the lifecycle of a product. During any given stage in the lifecycle of a product, there are interactions with the environment, humans, and society. Many people think a truly eco-friendly product should have a limited negative impact (or none at all) during all phases of its lifecycle. More specifically, during the lifecycle of the product the environment, humans or any living species should not be harmed. In the Book Ecological Intelligence, Psychologist Daniel Goleman suggests people should think of the ways products impact the environment in three interlocking realms:

Geosphere-soil, water, air and climate

  • Biosphere- the human body and those of other species
  • Sociosphere-human concerns, such as the condition of workers
  • Evaluating products interaction with these 3 spheres helps consumers choose products that have a green lifecycle.

How Natural Carbon Cycles in the Environment are affected by Products

Consumers want to know how a product impacts the Geosphere. One way to examine this is by measuring our carbon footprint. That is, how much greenhouse gas emissions does an individual contribute through daily use and disposable of products. The process of carbon emissions is just one of many adversely affecting the soil, water, air and climate. Others measurements taken by scientists are embedded carbon. They measure carbons released during manufacturing, transportation, use and disposal of products. Also considered, eutrophication – measuring the impact on the water when nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous enter water, for example from chemical fertilizers. This creates an explosion of algae growth which in turns depletes oxygen in the water, choking other species. People who live near the coast may have witnessed this first hand. These are but a few examples of processes that have an environmental impact.

Social Responsibility and the Production of Goods

The Sociosphere relates to the human condition. Questions arise concerning employees working conditions. For example, is there forced labor or child labor? Are the workers receiving fair wages and health benefits? Are employees being exposed to dangerous toxins during the manufacturing stage of the product? All companies should practice ethical standards and be socially responsible.

Making the connection between human activity to its impact on nature, consumers’ future choices will change for the better. By thinking in terms of the lifecycle of products, people can make purchases that benefit their environment. Choosing only products that are eco-friendly sends a powerful message as well. Companies and manufacturers will be compelled to create safe products that maintain or improve people’s well-being.

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