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Types of Businesses to Start


Putting waste to good use through up-cycling.

Tracy Lee Nicol




We’ve all heard of recycling – taking waste, like paper, and turning it into new unexciting material, like more paper.

But a new trend gaining momentum internationally is that of up-cycling – converting waste or useless materials, like sawdust, into completely different and creative things of greater value, like molded designer furniture.

The result is quite literally a new industry taking abundant rubbish, and turning it into a treasure trove for green business ideas. It’s not just environmentally responsible, it can create jobs.

Waste is everywhere.

It’s estimated that 11 million metric tons of floating plastic covers an area of nearly 13 million km2 of ocean. Find that number hard to process? That’s enough rubbish to cover the whole of southern and central Africa. As for southern Africans, we produce between one and three kilos of waste per person, per day.


Trash is cash

Turning waste into fashion.

Looptworks (2009) is a US company personifying the up-cycling trend. Partners Gary Peck and Jim Stutts were inspired by sustainable manufacturing methods in the apparel industry, but wanted to take it further by forming a closed loop manufacturing process – and they’ve done it through up-cycling. Looptworks uses textile manufacturing excess as source material for its own accessories, gear and apparel.


As an example, Looptworks gathers leftover wetsuit material destined for the dump and turns it into a $30 laptop sleeve. And, because production is limited based on available materials, items are more appealing to consumers and can command higher prices.

The business employs 12 full- and part-time staff and creates nearly 50 retail offerings.

How to make up-cycling successful

Make it innovative, like a pet’s bed made of a cushion in a banged up old suitcase (around $70 online).


An appealing space. No one wants to rummage in a junk shop – make the space clean, open, organised and fresh looking.

Look to history. Before manufacturing became as cost-effective as it is to make new material, fabrics were broken back to fibre and re-spun into new material. Even Henry Ford up-cycled, using the crates car parts were shipped in as vehicle floorboards.

More ideas on up-cycling

Check out how these businesses are up-cycling. By Jennifer Wang

  • Company: Equator Coffees and Teas
  • What they up-cycle: Coffee waste to grow protein-rich mushrooms in developing countries
  • Brilliance: Promoting sustainable farming – and good coffee
  • Visit:
  • Company: Hello Rewind
  • What they up-cycle: Customers’ favourite old t-shirts are turned into laptop sleeves; profits help sex-trafficking victims
  • Brilliance: A self-sustaining social enterprise that capitalises on a sentimental, one-of-a-kind product
  • Visit:


  • Company: TerraCycle
  • What they up-cycle: Trash to make new retail products
  • Brilliance: Turning trash into treasure, literally
  • Visit:
  • Company: Patagonia
  • What they up-cycle: Fleece made of plastic bottles
  • Brilliance: Spawning a clean manufacturing movement among outdoor-clothing manufacturers
  • Visit:


Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.


Types of Businesses to Start

10 Businesses You Can Start Part-Time

Find your perfect match for a successful part-time start-up.

Nadine Todd




Start your part-time business today


  1. Public Relations
  2. Freelance Photography
  3. Corporate Videos
  4. Small Business Advertising Agency
  5. Writing, Editing and Proofreading Services
  6. Internet Marketing Consultant
  7. Web Design
  8. Tax Accountant
  9. Business Consultant
  10. Business Plan Consultant

Launching a company – even if it’s operated part-time – is all about drawing on your skills, talents and interests to create a viable business. What you know and what you’re good at form a good basis for a part-time business because these companies either become an extension of what you enjoy doing most or they are based on your strengths.

Working part-time while still maintaining a permanent job is time consuming and often exhausting, so choosing what you take pleasure in or are good at can keep you focused and motivated. The right fit is important when it comes to launching a part-time business. Selling a service rather than a product does not require large start-up costs, which means you can grow your business without financing until it becomes self-sustaining.

Are you looking for a business that you can launch in next to no time?

Read: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Corporate Communications & Promotions

Corporate communications covers a host of areas, mainly because this is the sector that takes care of how companies look to the outside world – something that is very definitely a service, but also that is not often taken care of in-house.

If you can write, edit, have a knack for advertising, can take photographs or create promotional and corporate videos, you can offer your services part-time to companies both large and small that are in need of these services.

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Types of Businesses to Start

10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Where do you find a good business idea? Right here. Here you’ll find several innovative business ideas that are ripe for plucking.

GG van Rooyen




Where do you find a brilliant business idea?

It’s not as hard as it may seem at first. In fact, the idea is arguably not all that important. There’s a reason investors talk about backing the jockey and not the horse: It’s often not about the idea, but the execution.

A great entrepreneur can turn even a mediocre idea into a success; all that’s needed is a USP and great customer service.

That said, some ideas are undoubtedly better than others. And some businesses are easier to get off the ground. In the following pages you’ll find a curated list of business ideas that have reached a point where they’re just waiting to be exploited.

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Types of Businesses to Start

The 10 Best New-Age Business Ideas You Haven’t Heard About Yet

Creating the company of your dreams often begins with learning more about something completely new to you.




You don’t have to over-utilise iPads and smartphones to transform your business into a modern one. Connecting with newer generations is easy when you take advantage of the cool, in-demand ideas at your fingertips.

Here are 10 new-age business ideas to get you started.

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