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101 Business Opportunities and Ideas
Discover 101 Business Opportunites and Ideas in South Africa

By: Franchise Finder

part 11: Eco Business Opportunities

An eco business is one that takes the carbon footprint that we leave on the planet seriously. Eco-businesses generally tend to focus on incorporating “green” functions and features into the business, so that they can earn good money while still doing something for the environment. As everyone seems to be finally waking up to the seriousness of our effects on the world, more and more people are starting to try and do their bit. If you would like to get involved in eco-business opportunities, then consider the following business options and ideas:


73. Start an Eco-Friendly Lift Club/Service – So many of us hop into our vehicles every morning and rush off to our work not even giving a second thought as to how much pollution we could be preventing if we were to get a lift with others going to the same area. By offering a professional lift service to companies you could pick up and drop off staff members and be saving the environment at the same time by reducing the number of cars on the road. This type of lift service would require a vehicle large enough to accommodate small groups and you would have to factor fuel and maintenance charges into your start up and running costs. Offering this type of "green commuting" internationally is a comapny called Wi-Drive.
74. Incorporate and Sell Water Conservation Systems – Doing our bit for the planet also means saving water. We are all faced with the reality that South Africa could have to deal with water shortages in the near future. By implementing water saving and re-using methods in your home, you could be doing your bit to prevent this. Many homes collect rain water in drums (also known as ‘rain harvesting’) which is then used to fill their pools, wash their vehicles and water the garden. Companies such as Water Rhapsody are so dedicated to this cause that they even offer a fantastic business opportunity where they will train interested individuals to set up their own water conservation business. Training in product knowledge, sales, marketing and administration is all provided. With over 15 years experience in the business they are sure to have you well equipped in no time at all. If you are looking to do your part and save the environment at the same time, then this is the business opportunity for you.
75. Start a Network of Naturally Grown Fruit and Vegetables – By creating a network of people that grow, buy and sell vegetables and fruit, you could do your bit for the environment and the community. You can connect local buyers and sellers of natural foods by creating a website portal for them to use, much the same as is done at or you could even chat to people at your local neighbourhood watch meetings. This could be a great way to make extra income while at the same time helping others to save both their money and the environment.
76. Create a Recycling System – While South Africa has recently been given the option to separate refuse into cardboard and other dedicated bags, the idea of recycling our waste has still not been fully incorporated into our daily lives. Many recycling depots actually pay for cardboard, scrap metal, plastic and glass which means that you could make a valuable extra income by offering to take peoples separated waste off their hands. You would need to incorporate some sort of system and have different colour bags or even bins provided to your clients. These bags could be left outside just as our normal rubbish bags are and collected by a driver to be taken to the relevant depots. You would need to factor into the set-up costs the production of branded bags as well as make sure that you have a van or trailer available to you for pick ups. This type of eco business idea could do a great deal for the environment and your community.
77. Provide Eco-Friendly Moving Solutions – Many people do not give a second thought to what happens to all that bubble wrap, plastic and boxes that they throw out after a move. The fact of the matter is that these items are lying in a land fill site causing our environment to suffer. By offering eco-friendly and biodegradable packing solutions you could be making a valuable income while saving the environment too! A good example of this business currently being run in USA is Earth Friendly Moving. All their products and packaging items are recycled and biodegradable. You could incorporate this system into your own eco-business and start earning extra money today!
78. Start a Going Green Booster Pack – While many of us know and understand the need to go green, we are very rarely motivated enough to take that first step. By creating a booster pack or start-up pack for people you can start them on their way. Companies such as Green Sender have started this service in the USA where a package that contains an eco-friendly shopping bag, reusable water bottle, energy efficient light bulbs and organic t-shirt are provided when ordered. This is just the boost people need to get them to in the right “going green” mindset. You can easily create similar packs and provide something different for your customers. Make it fun and interesting and your products will soon become well known. This can easily be set up in your own home and packs can be sold online or via word of mouth.
79. Start up a Solar Energy Business – By offering solar water heating and solar energy systems to homes in your area, you can definitely do your bit for the environment. Not only will this assist your clients to become more “green” but it will also assist them in saving on their monthly water and electricity bill. You will find that many suppliers of solar panels will be willing to have agents and resellers on their team and you can soon have your own business up and running. If saving energy and earning a good income is important to you, then a solar energy business is the way to go.
80. Sell Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products – By having a good catalogue and order form available to you, you can encourage family, friends and others to support the “Going Green” concern and purchase eco friendly cleaning aids. While you can sell these items at a mark up you can be doing your bit for the environment too. Great examples of companies that thrive off selling eco friendly cleaning aids are Earth Mother Organics , Natural Organic Life and Natural Wise. You can quite easily find a supplier who will offer you bulk order discounts and start working on a client database.
81. Start up an E-commerce Eco-Friendly Website – We all know that we turn to the internet when we are looking for something. Something that is obvious at the moment that finding eco friendly alternatives to our standard products is not something that is easily done. With a little research and by chatting to those who do sell eco-friendly products, you could host a website with all things eco-friendly. This will assist others in converting their homes to “green” environments and also provide you with a lucrative extra income. Most e-commerce websites are fully automated so you can keep track or enquiries and orders placed. You will need internet access, a well designed website and a variety of eco product suppliers.
82. Green Proof Homes – Offering a service to green proof someone’s home could be a fantastic way to earn extra money. Of course you would need to have access to devices and products that can make one’s home more environmentally friendly such as Shower Water Savers, The Geyserwise Device, Energy Saving Adaptors and even water heat recycling devices. These types of items can be found at companies such as Easy Energy. You can easily buy some stock of these items and charge clients a flat rate to assess their home, incorporate green methods and install them. You will be surprised at how many people would be interested in this type of service as sometimes just getting up and starting the process is the hardest part.
83. Plant a Tree – While so many people only plant a tree on arbour day, we all know just how important it is to plant trees and try and encourage others to do the same. After all, we do depend on trees for the air that we breathe. In Beijing it is a common site to see rooftops with trees and plants adorning them. Something similar could easily and effectively be incorporated into South African city centres. Many of our tall buildings have flat roof top space that would be a prime planting opportunity for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet. You could very easily receive bulk purchase rates from your local nursery and start offering this rooftop “landscaping” service to large businesses that would simply love to revel in the good advertising of “going green”. Make sure you know something about planting and gardening and ensure you have a few people to help you with the work.


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