From recyclable shoes to smart devices that reduce food waste, we hope that the business ideas we compile will inspire businesses to take bold and sustainable steps for 2020 and beyond.
Many of us know that green represents positive things and goodness in many areas. However, companies that are not aware of this situation and who do not take sustainability seriously should realize that they will not find a place in the business environment in the near future.
Especially, consumers prefer brands with a sustainable clear vision, which makes this situation imperative. More importantly, we are now on the verge of causing irreversible damage to our planet. Companies that will benefit the planet for many years and whose beneficial actions are knocked on may not have the option to participate in the fight against climate change after this point.
As New Business Ideas, we aim to discover and highlight products and innovations that can make a difference without mainstream.
With this in mind, we share with you sustainable innovations that emerged last year and we liked the most.
Sustainability Ideas for Businesses
Eco-friendly leather made from Pharaoh cactus
Desserto leather, which is strong and flexible and produced on a plant basis, offers sustainable alternatives to many products where animal skins are used. Designed to meet the technical requirements needed in the automotive, fashion and furniture industries, Desserto leather can stretch and stretch just like animal skin. Even better, the skin, which is partially soluble in nature and does not use dangerous substances such as PVC and flata during its production, is completely free from chemical hazards.
While the amount of water required to produce vegan skin from Pharaoh fig cactus is very low, water is not required for the cactus, which is the main raw material used in the production of the product, to grow. Considering its durability, it shows that the items made from this leather will be used for at least 10 years.
The company, located in Guadalajara, Mexico and guiding them to sustainability, has the same name (Desserto) as the product. While the Pharaoh fig cactus is a plant that can grow all over Mexico, the company is looking for additional land with the expectation of increased production.
New and sustainable alternative materials are emerging in almost all sectors. An important difficulty that arises during this process is the chemical processes performed during the production, which reduces the ability of the piece of a fabric to blend into the fertilizer and disintegrate. With the development of materials science, the focus should be on finding sustainable alternatives to chemical materials and making these alternatives biodegradable.
You can own a sheep by buying a sweater
Sheep Inc. is trying to reduce the carbon footprint that occurs during production while highlighting the origin and production adventures of its products.
When customers buy a sweater from Sheep Inc., they can regularly get updates and news about the sheep, which is made from the wool of merino sheep grazing in the New Zealand countryside, but also used in the construction of the sweater it bought.
The company, which qualifies them as the “first carbon negative fashion brand in the world”, offers its customers a service that they can reach when they scan the yellow label at the bottom of the sweater they bought, and see the production process of the sweater and the carbon footprint of the product. In addition, the company is informed about the following issues regarding sheep, which is used in the construction of the sweater that the customers have purchased: “Where? How does one day pass? Did something happen to you? When is it time to have your hair clipped. Whether they have lambs. ”
Both labeling systems and sheep with quality wool are unique selling elements to ensure that consumers take into account the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
According to Van Der Wyck, one of the founding partners of the company, it is no longer sufficient to focus only on carbon neutrality and sustainability. Sheep Inc. is a very transparent company with respect to the environmental friendliness of the farms they work with and investing 5% of its income by investing in biodiversity studies worldwide, thereby reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible.
However, it is an undeniable fact that the price of these sweaters is high. The average price of the sweaters is 225 Euros (1700 TL). The company fills this herpes price by saying that their sweaters are not cheap, poor quality, they are not a sweater you wouldn’t want to wear as fashion changes, they are designed and manufactured to last “for life”. However, the main purpose here is that customers understand where their clothes they buy and use come from. The company sees this step as the first leg of change, because the company’s estimate is that over time, fashion brands will have to go into transparent management and pursue a more environmentally friendly policy.
Fashion is known as the sector with the lowest possibility of being sustainable among all sectors. Overseas productions, such as the transportation of manufactured goods, the resources from which they are produced, and the cheap goods used due to the high quality of the goods, result in huge costs for the environment. Sheep Inc.’s products are transparent about the journey of sheep starting from the wool of its sheep and end to its customers, forcing other companies to be transparent first and then to increase the sustainability of their production processes. One of the biggest obstacles to these and similar initiatives is the high cost of sustainable fashion.
Reusable containers make takeaway more sustainable
An Australian initiative has developed a system where people can use reusable bowls and glasses, and then return these containers they use to their outlets nearby.
The Returnr initiative has developed a sustainable plan to replace disposable takeaway containers, reusable dishes. The initiative distributes renewable, stainless steel containers to the restaurants and cafes where it cooperates, and restaurants and cafes that receive takeaway after distribution use these containers. Users pay a return deposit of $ 6 Australian to Returnr, and if they wish, they return and receive their deposit after using the container, if they wish, they continue to give up their deposit and continue to use the containers.
Jamie Forsyth, founder of Returnr, founded KeepCup, an initiative that previously developed stylish and reusable cups designed for use in cafes. Forysth wanted to further expand its business model, which works quite well for coffee cups.
One of the biggest reasons why the Returnr system is efficient is that the containers used by customers can be returned to any participating restaurant or cafe included in the program. Participating businesses involved in this program are responsible for cleaning and storing containers, while also paying Returnr a small affiliate fee to become part of this program. This fee, paid by the participating companies to Returnr, is determined to be equal to or lower than the disposable container purchase.
In an interview with Forsyth, he says that the Returnr program has already saved tens of thousands of disposable containers from going to landfill. ” Forsyth also predicts a system where customers can replace the glass they obtain with morning coffee with a reusable bowl for lunch later.
The idea of allowing people to take their reusable bowls and glasses to a variety of outlets and return or change them will be profitable for both buyers and sellers, as the costs will be cheaper if replaced with systems currently used in restaurants and cafes. This strengthens the possibility of the system to spread rapidly. For example, forgetting your reusable container somewhere no longer means buying a new one. Returnr’s business model is a good example of a new trend – sustainable service systems – where we can see more instances as customers replace their disposable products with reusable alternatives.
Online fashion retailer working with tailors to ensure the right fit
Myntra.com started sending tailors to the delivery point to deliver the cargoes in order to reduce the number of purchases returned.
India-based Myntra.com has hired new tailors to deliver customer orders. This new service introduced appears to be part of the company’s efforts to increase customer satisfaction and reduce the number of returned purchases.
According to the company, most returns are caused by small size mismatches, such as pants that need to be shortened. The developed service uses tailors to deliver purchases from the warehouse to customers. Myntra hopes that optional alternative options will simplify the lives of customers and reduce returns.
This innovation is based on Myntra’s effort to provide a flawless shopping experience that they have been putting into a long time. Previously, in 2016, they had launched a tailoring service, which offered the option to try and buy.
Myntra has recently launched this service in Delhi and aims to deliver it to other Indian cities as quickly as possible.
Retailers selling online report that approximately 15-20% of the sales are returned. According to a 2018 study, 3 out of every 5 people who shop in the United States and the UK prefer online shopping. Some retailers use augmented reality (VR) and a number of apps so customers can try it before buying. However, the system developed by Myntra can give results even if it is an old-fashioned solution.
Swedish-based initiative that develops a smart refrigerator to reduce food waste
Launching products that are not sold in restaurants, markets and greengrocers to consumers at cheap prices, Sweden-based Karma is currently developing a smart refrigerator to help further reduce food waste.
Businesses such as markets and restaurants that will take part in the project will be able to store their excess unsold food in refrigerators that will be located in places such as subway stations, so that users can easily buy them when returning home. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately one-third of all foods produced worldwide, especially about 40% to 50% of root crops, fruits and vegetables, are wasted. The cost of this waste is almost 1 trillion dollars of waste with a total waste of 1.3 billion tons of food.
Mixed and similar apps try to make an impact on consumer behavior by helping them calculate food spending. Perhaps more importantly, they enable people to take the issue of reducing food waste and waste seriously. However, the only good thing that Karma and similar applications do is not prevent food waste, but they also help both customers and businesses save money.
Supermarket eliminating intermediaries, bringing customers together with manufacturers
Move is trying to turn the supermarket sector worth 11.7 trillion upside down with a platform that promises better products with cheaper prices.
The US-based initiative Move aims to reduce customers’ exorbitant prices and waste by linking customers directly to manufacturers. The platform developed by the initiative offers higher quality products at lower prices for consumers, while providing a more competitive environment for manufacturers.
The platform developed by Move is the most current innovation among online markets. Unlike established brands such as Whole Foods, bought by Amazon a few years ago, Move is committed to overshadowing modern delivery systems, while also promising to be transparent about the costs of manufacturers and products.
The developed platform works with selected farmers and producers to provide consumers with high quality goods at lower prices. By eliminating intermediaries and brands, Move can sell almost anything just to cover the cost of production and make additional payments to manufacturers.
Move was funded by a community and is planned to start working actively in 2020.
Move tries to make it easier to deliver quality food to people, no matter where people live. According to some industry experts, the existing supermarket system creates “food deserts”. This means that access to quality food is not even in the same city or even in the same community. Virtual market platforms like Move make it easy for people to access high-quality and affordable food products regardless of where they live.
The initiative that allows you to swap small clothes for your growing babies with new clothes
Upchoose offers a sustainable shopping option for parents who return old clothes for baby clothes in other sizes for a discount.
Upchoose, an e-commerce venture, sells clothing sets for babies made from organic cotton. If the child has grown too large to fit in the body now, the parents return the small outfit for a discount on the next size. This system not only helps new parents save time and money, but also provides more sustainability if they choose to buy pre-used clothes.
While the company offers different pricing options, customers can decide how many items they want to buy in each set. Accessories, aprons made of organic cotton, vomit cloths, bed toys… Any product in the system can be purchased as zero or second hand.
Traditional baby clothes are also often used in industrial chemicals, even if they are made of 100% cotton. Babies have very thin and sensitive skin that can absorb such toxins more easily. Upchoose also helps reduce this risk by selling 100% organic cotton clothing and accessories.
Upchoose offers a way to control excessive consumption before it starts, making used items more desirable. Likewise, it offers incentives to support the economy with discounts. Such incentives can be adapted to many other sectors.
Australia’s first bulk filling center
Flora & Fauna offers its customers an environment to purchase zero waste goods, recycle and learn new things about environmentally friendly lifestyles.
Australia-based Flora & Fauna creates an interactive marketplace for zero waste products and services. Customers will be able to learn about and recycle their environmentally friendly lifestyles by participating in workshops and quick work. The store will also include the first batch filling center in the country and will allow customers who go with their own containers to fill their containers with shampoo, conditioner and laundry detergent.
Julie Mathers, the founder of Flora & Fauna, founded the store 5 years ago to encourage people to try zero waste products that have not been tested on animals. At the time, it was an online shop that offered all kinds of products, from bamboo brushes, toothbrushes to makeup products that have not been tested on animals.
But by moving their online shop to the next level, they opened a physical store, and this store offers more than zero waste products. The purpose of the store is to provide a space to share advice and help customers make better choices.
Disposable packages and packaging make up 23% of the waste going to landfills. Nevertheless, with increasing demands to reduce consumption, the zero waste movement gradually appears in retail sales.
New recycling method that liquefies clothes
A new recycling technology is used for the limited edition Adidas sweatshirt designed by Stella McCartney.
This sweatshirt is the first garment to be produced and sold with this new method called NuCycl.
Although there are many methods that can be used to turn cotton into new products, it is extremely difficult to obtain a thread that is strong enough to be transformed into new clothes, such as insulation. Because most recycling techniques involve weakening processes such as breaking the fabric into small pieces.
Instead of using the shredding technique for this process, Evrnu uses a chemical process to cut cotton materials into polymer forms and then rework them to create new yarn. Waste garments are first turned into a paste and liquefied before removing water to create a new yarn. The yarn that emerges after this process is mixed with new fibers and combined with a fabric.
Evrnu develops special fabrics by cooperating with brands instead of producing them for their own products, and then licenses these special fabrics to their factories producing clothes. According to Stacy Flynn, one of Evrnu’s co-founders, this process can help make the rapidly changing fashion more sustainable.
The amount of water needed to produce only one pair of jeans is 500 gallons (1892 liters). The United Nations estimates that the fashion sector will consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050 if this continues. Given this rate, many companies are working on ways to recycle old clothes. Recycling methods such as Evrnu can potentially enable the fashion industry to operate in a closed loop fashion and help save valuable resources.
Shampoo that you can do at home with zero waste
The device called Cleanyst is part of the ever-growing zero waste movement that allows us to create cleaning products with as little plastic as possible at home.
USA-based Cleanyst has developed a white household appliance that produces on-demand and produces cleaning and hygiene products. The machine can reduce your impact on plastic footprint and save money.
Cleanyst is part of the rising zero waste retail trend, including homemade cleaning products. The company claims that allowing their customers to produce a factory-made product that does not produce waste at the same time sets them apart from their competitors.
The device, which Cleanyst compares with Keurig and Nespresso (coffee machines) for ease of use, can mix components in minutes. The device uses tap water and concentrated packages sent by the company, along with a reusable capsule when making mixes. While the waste generated after the mixing process is very low, the packages used can also be recycled.
The cleaning materials, soaps and other products you can think of are the basis of the zero waste movement.