The idea of recycling is firmly embedded in our minds due to the environmental impact some of our lifestyle choices have. The idea of turning what is otherwise trash into products for resale is not just for the environment lovers and there’s actually a lot of good business ideas that can be born from this approach. We’re going to look at just 5 business ideas that use the idea of turning trash to cash. We will look at a spread from the smallest ideas to fairly big ones. The huge advantage here is that your raw materials are usually free or very close to it.

Bottles to art

This is the business idea that inspired this article. The example I saw was a person who picks up discarded bottles and decorates them with beads to make some beautiful art pieces that display beautifully in homes and other environments. The bottles are free, of course, but the beads and talent are sold separately. The idea has a great upside and with a brand built around it can make a lot of money.

Seeds to trees

This is one of the older ideas you will find in this area but it is still just as effective today as ever. Zimbabwe has a climate that is favourable to many fruit trees and I’d suppose the most popular are the avocado and the mango. Avocado and mango seeds are discarded at dumpsites almost daily all year round. They are however not the only fruits that have this treatment. Peaches, plums, litchis and many more have similar stories. Growing these seeds to seedlings for sale could be very lucrative.

Scrap metal to sculpture

Scrap metal has also been used for quite some time now to generate what can best be described as wonderful art pieces. Not all scrap metal is created equal, of course, but it really shouldn’t cost you much to get your hands on. In many cases, the pieces are welded together but that is not the only way to bond two pieces of metal together. While animals and people are popular subjects the world of art is open to so many ideas all it takes is someone to venture into them.

Waste to furniture

I suppose the most popular example of this is palette furniture. However, there are many examples out there of people turning material that would otherwise be discarded into furniture. I think furniture works well in this case because it is a need on some level and it also allows for a wide range of expressions. While everybody can probably appreciate sleek looking upmarket furniture some expressions of taste are better suited to more rustic furniture. There are many ways to play this and win.

Container buildings

This one is admittedly not easily within the reach of many but I’ve included it here to show just how big the trash to cash game can get. Shipping containers travel one way and once they are here are pretty much trash. You won’t find them on your local trash heap but they are certainly not going anywhere. The idea has been around for a long time but there really is no limit to how creative people are getting with it. There are a few examples around Zimbabwe, take a look at Moto Republik. For a country with an urban housing crisis and a lot of these hanging around its not long before someone puts two and two together.

There are your solid examples of trash to cash business ideas but it surely doesn’t end there. The ideas list here is all about repurposing things that are otherwise considered trash and different from the idea of scrapping for resale. Perhaps you could be our next trash to cash story.