Finding your career purpose can be as simple as identifying your values and pairing them with an unmet need in society.

Companies often have to choose between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the bottom line. But some businesses are green by nature because environmental stewardship is baked into their business plans. Being a green business can mean looking at an old idea in a new way or embracing a brand-new concept. Here are six green business ideas to consider.

Secondhand clothing store

Americans send over 10 million tons of textiles to the landfill every year. That’s a lot of used clothing. Fortunately, more and more of those discarded items are being offered for resale. Used clothing sells online — whether it’s eBay or trendier sites like thredUP and Poshmark — and it’s selling on Main Street, too.

Clothing resale is big business and it’s getting bigger. There is great upside potential for brick-and-mortar locations. Check your area for competition, but don’t assume the presence of other resellers is a bad thing. Consumers will visit more than one location to find the perfect, gently worn piece.

Green junk removal

No one wants to see their unwanted belongings end up in the landfill, but people relocating or decluttering are often too busy to find good homes for their cast-offs. Distributing books, dishes and used sofas to folks who can use or sell them requires time, muscle and the right vehicle. That’s where the green junk hauler comes in.

To do the job right, a business will need warehouse space with room to sort and store items. Having connections to local charities is a must, to avoid rethinking disposal options with each new load. A truly green junk business will consider its environmental impact in all aspects, from the trucks it purchases and how they are routed, to paperless billing and the refillable water bottles its employees use.

Vertical gardening

The rise in popularity of vertical gardens has given new meaning to the term “grow up.” Green walls are appearing inside and outside of homes, offices and public buildings. While many people strive to be one with nature, growing plants on a wall requires a special combination of construction and agriculture skills.

Opening a vertical gardening business is an opportunity to get in on the early stages of the trend. Take classes at a local college or public garden. Online information is plentiful, as are vertical gardening supplies.

A successful green business will identify a need and fill it responsibly.

Green building

The desire for eco-friendly buildings continues to create business opportunities. Zero energy building, LEED-certified project, and mass timber framing are building trends most often heard in connection with large projects, but are applicable to construction on a smaller scale, too. Whether they are building a new home or making simple repairs to an existing one, today’s environmentally conscious consumers want to do the green thing.

Launching a successful green construction company does not require specialized training or certification, although both are available. What it does require is a commitment to rethinking old practices and materials and seeking out customers willing to pay for that thoughtful approach.

Natural landscaper

A beautiful yard no longer means a carpet of grass. Increasingly, homeowners are looking for natural landscaping options, featuring native plants and requiring less maintenance. Tearing up that demanding lawn and replacing it with pollinator-attracting flowers or native grasses takes courage — and professional guidance.

Natural landscapers work with the environment they’ve got, forgoing chemicals and wasteful irrigation practices. By starting a green landscaping business, you will be helping clients create outdoor spaces that are both welcoming and low maintenance — and redefining what it means to have a “green” lawn.

Green products manufacturer

People are downsizing and decluttering like crazy, but they haven’t stopped shopping. Products are still exchanged for money, and increasingly, those products are handmade and natural. From small-batch soaps and shampoos to reusable sandwich bags, the assortment of green products continues to grow.

A successful green business will identify a need and fill it responsibly. Sourcing sustainable ingredients, avoiding waste and pollution in production and minimizing packaging all add up to a green product offering.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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