To most of us recycling means nothing more than splitting the plastics from the paper and the cardboard from the glass jars. To some though, recycling can be a huge business opportunity that is not only great for UK landfills, but is also a recipe for the self-made millionaire.
It is it any surprise though? With recycling estimated to be worth over £23 billion in the UK and the industry showing no signs of slowing its growth, recycling is the perfect, fertile grounds for business success. If you are inspired by the opportunities in recycling, find four of the UK’s most talented entrepreneurial stories below.
Jeremy Knight – A Brewtiful Idea
Can a ‘cup of jo’ really make you a millionaire? Well, that’s the hope of serial entrepreneur Jeremy Knight. After finding that the leftover coffee beans from his morning brew made an ideal, nutrient rich compost, Jeremy decided to invest heavily into his discovery – even going as far to open his own coffee shop to collect leftover bean waste.
Under the name Green Cup, Jeremy has seen huge success over the last five years. His compost is now widely available in a range of stores across the UK and his sister coffee shop brand, Red Cup, is a roaring success. The hope is that Knight will be able to take the Green Cup business plan worldwide and encourage larger competitors to stop sending bean waste to the landfill.
Paddy Green – Cutting out the Waste
Never underestimate the power of trying to save money. Or at least that’s the lesson we can take from the master joiner Paddy Green. Fed up with wasting quality timber in ‘cut offs’, Paddy decided to invest in a special wood heater that could be used to heat his factory.
While his self-sufficiency is to be admired, it was his next discovery that was truly impressive. Again, fed up with wasting five tonnes of sawdust each month, Green found he could make additional revenue if bought a machine to turn the sawdust waste into hardwood briquettes.
Today, Green is running several self-sufficient factories and has brought his briquettes to market under the successful Premier Eco-Fuels.
Sally Quinn – Changing the Tone of the Recycling Industry
When social worker Sally Quinn found out that the printer cartridges in her office were ‘too much effort’ for her local recycling company to process, it would be fair to say she had a brainwave. Working daily with the homeless and those in need, she decided to set up a non-profit named Green Connect. The mission was simple, give jobs to those in need and clean up the environment.
After a little research she found that the cartridges could be recycled into a plethora of useful, office items. Today, Quinn’s non-profit is manufacturing portfolios, ring binders and notepads, with all the profits going back to her employees and the wider community.
Erika Brown – Cropping to the Top
The clothing industry isn’t known for being environmentally friendly. In fact, in 2016, over 11 million tonnes of waste was attributed to clothing and textiles. With this number continuing to grow year on year, one talented entrepreneur has a plan to tackle the problem.
With a background in fashion, designer Erika Brown is no stranger to turning scraps of fabric into something beautiful. As part of her mission to ‘green the earth’, Brown has created a hugely popular handbag brand that only uses scraps of discarded clothing in the design. Intercepting a total 12 tonnes of scrap clothing so far, Brown hopes to successfully take her brand around the world in the coming years ahead.