Among other things, millennials are known for their drive, their adventurous spirit and their innovative ideas. They are also very aware of global issues, including the importance of advancing human development in a sustainable way.
To celebrate International Youth Day (August 12th) we have made a list of 5 businesses founded by young environmental entrepreneurs, who have discovered creative ways to make a profit while contributing to the world. Millennial or not, we hope the following list will inspire you to pursue your own ideas that can put us in the path towards a more sustainable future.
Who: Jason Green and Matt LaRosa
What: Urban farming using aquaponic technology to grow produce and fish, with the objective of creating a scalable local food supply that reduces waste.
How it works: The start-up uses tilapia fish waste as a fertilizer that helps different varieties of microgreens in their vertical farm grow. In turn, the plants filter the water, which is sent back to the fish. Edenworks uses 95% less water and energy than conventional farming. The food is sold locally, so the produce is fresher and there is an added environmental benefit of less transportation.
Who: Cristian Gutierrez
What: A sustainable fashion enterprise that works with natural products from the Peruvian Amazon to create fashion accessories.
How it works: Using natural latex extracted from the Shiringa tree in the Amazon through a sustainable and traditional process, Evea Eco Fashion creates footwear, handbags and other fashion accessories. The company is committed to empowering the local communities it works with and to offering them a job opportunity that is in harmony with nature. In so doing, they are encouraging the communities to protect the forest against indiscriminate logging and preserve the rubber trees.
Who: Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker
What: Disposable cups that are made from “biodegr(edible)” material, meaning it is biodegradable and edible.
How it works: These disposable cups are 100% plastic-free, gluten-free, BPA-free, non-GMO, all natural, non-toxic, safe and FDA approved. They are made from seaweed, organic sweeteners, and flavors and colors derived from fruits and vegetables. The idea is to eliminate waste and the use of plastic. Even consumers that choose not to eat the cup can dispose of it guilt-free because it is fully biodegradable. Loliware is exploring an expanded line of biodegradable and edible tableware and packaging.
Who: Jesus Alberto Cruz
What: An agroindustry company that offers an integral waste management process by transforming organic residues into a high quality organic fertilizer.
How it works: In Colombia, waste —including organic residues— is generally taken to sanitary landfills, where it slowly decomposes and creates public health and environmental issues. On the other hand, the use of synthetic fertilizers in agriculture may kill beneficial microorganisms in the soil and lead to sterile lands. Orgánicos del Caribe produces a fertilizer from organic residues, reducing waste and enhancing the fertility of the soil. Their next venture includes a clean energy project based on methane gas generated from organic residues to achieve energetic self-sufficiency in their plant.
Who: Ezequiel Gatti, Nazareno El Hom and Alejandro Malgor
What: Footwear made 90% from materials that would have otherwise been thrown away.
How it works: This company uses rubber from recycled tires, old fabrics and waste from the textile industry to produce over 1,000 pairs of sustainable shoes per month. They also sell wallets, backpacks and hats made from recycled materials. Their manufacture process involves vulnerable populations, including prison inmates.