8 Sustainable Side Hustles That Will Make You Money and Save the Environment

From growing herbs to driving Uber, some ideas for sustainability-related jobs that will earn you some extra cash.

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By Ryan Droste

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Looking to make a positive difference in the world while also earning a little extra money on the side? A sustainable side hustle might put you in the green.

The Green economy is booming, and so are the opportunities. For example, in the last five years, the number of jobs in Renewables and Environment increased by 237%, according to LinkedIn's Green Economy Report 2022. With more companies and consumers looking for green solutions, the need for sustainable services has skyrocketed.

And here's the good news. You don't have to change careers to jump into the sustainable marketplace. There are plenty of side hustles to consider. Here are a few.

1. Farmer's market purveyor

Farmer's markets aren't just for farmers. Whether you have a large acreage in the country or a tiny apartment in the city, selling your own products at a farmer's market is a fantastic way to earn some extra money.

If you're a gardener, consider selling your bounty of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Set yourself apart by offering unique items like herbs, dried fruits, and heirloom tomatoes.

You can also sell potted houseplants, outdoor plants, or seeds for people to grow their own plants.

If you're into baking, how about hocking some delicious sweet and savory pies?

Related: 7 Easy Habits That Will Make Your Business More Sustainable

2. Curbside recycler

Earn cash from other people's trash.

One of the reasons that people do not recycle more is because, in many areas, it's just not convenient enough. You can solve this problem by starting a curbside recycling business.

Companies such as TerraCycle and BoxCycle will provide the boxes and will even pick up the trash for you. All you have to do is collect the recyclables and manage the business. Some recyclables that can earn you money:

  • Bottles and Cans
  • Old Books
  • Wine Corks
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Ink Cartridges
  • Unused Gift Cards
  • Old Electronics
  • Scrap Metals
  • Batteries
  • Clothing, Accessories, and Household Items

While you won't retire on this money, you can earn some spare cash for doing very little and cleaning up the planet. For example, your used cans may earn you about $5 a pound.

3. Curbside composter

Much in the same way as curbside recycling, curbside composting is also a growing market. Many municipalities don't offer composting programs, leaving residents with heaps of food scraps that go into the garbage.

But one person's waste is another's opportunity.

By some estimates, an individual or family can eliminate 25% of their garbage through composting. Create a curbside recycling unit that will collect anything that is plant or animal-based and transport it to a privately run facility for convenience.

Companies such as CompostNow offer partnerships to get your compost business started.

4. Tailor

Are you handy with a sewing machine? Consider running a business that helps customers fix their clothing. Clothing repair helps lighten the load on landfills and contributes a service everyone can use. Keeping clothing in use for a longer period not only saves people money, but it also creates a net-positive impact on the environment.

It's a win-win.

So how do you sew for dough? Start by altering some clothes for friends and colleagues. Once you feel confident, expand outside your inner circle using Facebook and local advertising to market yourself. Also, consider taking a part-time job at a local tailor or dry cleaner that offers tailoring.

Related: 5 Strategies for Building a Sustainable Brand for Today's Market

5. Sustainable products maker

The market for sustainable good is huge, as customers are willing to pay more for green goods.

So how do you tap into this desire to shop green? The scope of this path is wide-ranging, but you want to think of an item that could be in demand and produced sustainably.

For example, a soap that is made from sustainable materials or a net-zero pet good company.

6. Recycled product maker

One person's trash could be your treasure. As a side hustle, start a business that creates products out of recycled materials.

For example, an entrepreneur could build bike racks from recycled plastic, make furniture from recycled tires, or even use recycled stainless steel to make water bottles.

Connect with recycling centers and manufacturers in your area and start thinking about ways a business could come to life.

7. Green company investor

Lots of people like to dabble in investing as a side hustle. What if you concentrated this investment solely on the green market?

Wall Street is increasingly betting on companies with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ethics, and major stock brokers are offering sustainable funds focusing on these companies.

Investing in green companies not only helps these companies financially, but it can help them achieve notability.

But you don't only have to invest in big companies trading on Wall Street. You could also place your money with startups. Look into VC funds focused on small sustainable companies.

8. Rideshare driver

Driving a car for Uber, Lyft, or other ride-sharing services may seem counterintuitive to going green. But consider this: What if you to clock in to work as a ride share operator on your way to and from your primary job? Along the way, you pick up people as part of your ride-share side hustle and drop them off on your way to work? You'd have been taking that route in your car anyway.

And using ride shares instead of cars may be better for the environment. A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology measured the environmental impact of ride-sharing services and found that they were often better than private vehicle ownership in terms of lower emissions of air pollutants.

Bonus if you drive an EV.

Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Business More Sustainable

Ryan Droste

Digital Editor

Ryan Droste is a Digital Editor with Entrepreneur and has written for several publications over the years, with bylines at Sports Illustrated, CBS Interactive, The Inquisitr, ComicBook.com, PopCulture.com, Sportskeeda and many others.

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