I recently did an article on business ideas that can thrive given the impending plastic bags ban in Zimbabwe. One of the businesses I mentioned was recycling. Which in that case I was specifically mentioning recycling plastic bags into other products. Earlier today I dashed into town to do something and saw a haulage truck full of waste plastics. It was the perfect inspiration to consider also looking at recycled packaging. This is our focus today as we explore recycled packaging business ideas. I believe this is an area of great potential, especially in Zimbabwe.

Bio-Plastic Packaging

Bio-plastics resemble plastic visually and by touch but are made from biomass. There are tonnes of biomass waste disposed of daily. Examples are animal and vegetation waste. These waste materials can be recycled into bio-plastic packaging. There are two broad approaches here that one can use. One, you can do research into what others are already doing and follow suit. For example, I have seen bio-plastic packaging being made from animal skins. Two, you can put on your thinking cap and come up with novel ideas. I am confident there is still much we are yet to discover in recycling biomass waste into bioplastics.

Mono-Material Packaging

The idea here is to recycle waste into mono-material packaging. By ‘mono-material’ this implies that the packaging will be comprised of just one material. This also implies that you can make more packaging material by recycling the waste. The mono-material packaging will also be lighter, cheaper, and easier to manage. It will also be much easier to recycle as well as there will be no material separation per se.

Compostable Packaging

The idea here is to use waste plants and recycle them into compostable packaging. This is because compostable packaging is best made from organic and biodegradable plants. The thing is there is significant waste from commonly grown plants or crops e.g. corn and sugarcane. This waste can be recycled into compostable packaging. Compostable packaging is a broad subject so let me just give an overview.

This is a type of packaging that can be composted later and used later for gardening or farming. It is not composted using the traditional methods you know. Usually, compostable packaging is placed in specialized containers or environments. Typically, compostable packaging can break down and be used as compost in 3 months or less. This is a classic example of a recycled packaging business idea that promotes zero waste.

Waste Collection And Preliminary Sorting (Or Processing)

You can settle for relatively easier focuses such as waste collection. For the most part, waste is not even managed well in Zimbabwe. Thus you can start a business that focuses on waste collection earmarked for recycling. There are different types of waste so you would have to choose your niche(s). You can extend to preliminary sorting or processing depending on the context. There are several variables of what you would need e.g. transportation and machinery. Such aspects will inform what your approach would be but there is money to be made.

Sourcing And Supplying

There are business opportunities in this whole field from using the sourcing and supplying model. A possible focus is specifically sourcing and supplying recycled packaging. Another focus can be sourcing and supplying the needed machinery, accessories, and the like. The idea is to just look at the recycling industry as a whole and see where you can use this model. Recycled packaging in particular still is in its infancy in Zimbabwe. This presents you with vast untapped opportunities waiting for you. You can just be a reseller, a stockist, or an agent – simple as that.

At the end of the day, we need to become committed to sustainability issues as a nation. We need to become big on the 3 R’s of green living – Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling. I still feel we have barely scratched the surface in applying that model. That is why I strongly recommend you venture into the aforementioned businesses. The more such businesses pop up, the more the culture of the 3 R’s green living takes root. By starting such businesses you will get to make money whilst doing well for humanity.