Looking for the next big thing? Open the bin.
We’re always trying to predict the future, particularly when it comes to business. What’s this year’s trend, the cutting-edge tech, the new economies emerging? We’ve seen bitcoin, AI and logistics buzzwords, but reducing, reusing and recycling almost never comes up.
Whether it’s because there aren’t a whole lot of players in this space or just that most people think waste is a bit gross, this is totally off. Innovative, eco-friendly waste management solutions and startups have been on the sidelines but that’s about to change.
To make it simple for the newest waste warriors, here are five reasons why waste is one of this decade’s biggest business opportunities.
1. Who doesn’t waste
No matter how minimalist you are, everyone produces at least a little waste and when you add that up across the world, you’ve got a pretty massive total addressable market. Not only do households produce waste but so do businesses, food producers, farmers, the list goes on. As collection costs go up, each of these need affordable solutions that don’t damage the world or their wallet.
2. You can have your waste and sell it too!
We need to seriously shift how we think about waste, from something disposable to something transformable. Waste management is the only industry where you get paid to take from other people - in every other one you’ve got to pay for materials yourself. What’s more, if you can transform that waste into something valuable, you can bring in even more revenue!
3. Bins = boring
We’re seeing drone deliveries and blockchain banks but waste management has had no major paradigm shifts. Sure, technologies have gotten more efficient, there are smart bins and collection route optimisation, new kinds of recycling but nothing’s really changed in the process. Since humans civilisations formed, waste management has been collect, transport, recycle (where possible), discard.
If there’s any industry in store for disruption this decade, it’s waste.
4. We’re only half-way there
Unlike energy and other infrastructure that is slowly but surely setting up in developing country’s, their waste management is effectively non-existent in most cases. Even cities that offer official collection services, usually just dump it in unsafe landfills. This seriously damages both the environment and the health of surrounding communities.
There is a massive opportunity in bringing waste management to the entire world. The global industry is worth around $500B dollars already and that's only halfway there.
5. An industry under pressure
As we’ve written about on countless occasions, waste is an eco-disaster. Just like we need to reach 100% renewables, we need to have all our waste reduced, reused and recycled. The solar and wind industries have seen unprecedented growth in the past two decades - now it’s waste’s turn.