Who is it suited to?
At the end of the day, the trade in waste is motivated by profits, not ideals of sustainability and it’s not only do-gooder hippie types that get into the recycling game. It’s not all milk bottles and good intentions – or even mobile phones and toner cartridges: there is a lot of money to be made in waste, and the recycling sector is generally dominated by very large corporates.
However, if green thinking is your motivation, don’t despair. There are plenty of successful, ethically minded companies out there. Colin Crooks of socially-motivated enterprise, Green Works, tells us that while the recycling sector has a corporate culture, a lot of companies are socially motivated too. He explains: “It’s fifty-fifty: a lot of people look at recycling as a tremendous investment opportunity, and there are certainly fields wide open in which they can make some money.
“But it’s also something that people feel passionate about and want to take part in. A lot of these companies will do it even though it’s not financially viable in the material sense. They’re driven by other factors – by passion for the environment.”
It’s important to remember, however, that just because you’re a green enterprise, it doesn’t mean that your competition is limited to other green organisations. You may have to compete with large corporates and well-established medium-sized firms who will be out to make a profit – even if you aren’t.