The average American produces 4.6 pounds per day. That means the whole nation produces 251 million tons per year.
Many people have ideas to reduce that amount. And despite a common conception, many of the ideas can be more profitable than the status quo.
A group of BYU students, for example, found that Kenyans are often compelled to buy overpriced plastic bottles of water, or face deadly water-borne contamination from cheaper water sources. The ultimatum is not only terrible for their health, it doesn’t make economic sense.
From the Daily Herald article:
“Currently, people’s needs are being overserved,” [Marere co-founder Kyle] Freebairn said of water bottles, deeming them superfluous to the basic need of thirst. “If you give them a utility they don’t need, you are forcing them to pay a higher price point than their optimum need.”
The students are working to solve the problem by selling 17-ounce polyethylene bags of water for half the price of bottles. Kenyans just bite the corner of the bag for water. It reduces trash, saves lives, and will likely out-sell the bottled competition.
“Marere is financially sustainable, but socially we’re using business and capitalism and natural incentives to drive the quality of life up; it’s very rewarding,” [Freebairn] said.
A second company is making headlines by trying to eliminate trash all together!
That is ambitious goal of TerraCycle, a company that produces everything from kites to spray-bottles entirely out of trash. They call it “upcycling,” and it, too, is paying off. They already have big contracts with stores like Walmart, K-Mart, Target and Home Depot. The products work just as well as well as their made-from-scratch counterparts, and are even cheaper to produce.
Watch the video below about their compelling business model:
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