by Kelsey Rumburg
In just 30 years, the world’s annual output of waste will reach an estimated 3.4 billion tons. This global tsunami of waste threatens our environment, our economy, even our relationships. To survive, we must not only contain it but do something with it.
The average American throws away over seven pounds of trash EVERY DAY. To figure out whether or not you are average, just collect your personal daily trash and weigh it. Feel free to share the results in the comments below—if you dare.
While you’re working on that, you might want to read Kelsey Rumburg’s Trash to Treasure, in which she writes about a new breed of entrepreneurs who are better than Bezos. These are the people who’ve seen the dismal, garbage-swamped future and decided to address it by taking innovative approaches to the tradition of trash disposal.
These creative minds choose to reuse “trash” in the way that nature does (have you ever seen a landfill full of autumn leaves or animal carcasses just hanging about for centuries?) The Regenerators, as Rumburg calls them, create business-based approaches to recycling and repurposing. They see trash as a resource, and they’re making money from it while preventing even more landfill sprawl.
Trash to Treasure is a well-researched and hopeful look at alternatives to the future. Not just another list of ten ways to reuse chip bags (nobody wants a gift wrapped in them, and even if they do, the bag still winds up in the landfill). Trash to Treasure is broader and more far-reaching than that. It could very well be the spark you need to find your own regenerative income stream, as an individual or a business.
I’d love to get your comments on ideas for making or saving money by using resources that others toss out.
To turn the tide, innovative investors and inventors are building an economy that treats trash as a valued commodity and ever-renewing resource. Trash to Treasure: Exploring What It Takes to Build a Business from Waste follows the journeys of modern day pioneers making waves—and money—from waste, including:
– Patagonia, a global fashion manufacturer with a goal to sell fewer goods to consumers by extending the life of the company’s products
– Rust Belt Riders, a startup that diverts food from landfills and transforms it into garden soil which, in turn, feeds more plants to produce more food and fuel a circular economy
– Hungry Harvest, a subscription service that rescues farmers’ not-ready-for-Instagram produce—20 million pounds of it so far—and delivers it by the boxful to front doors and food deserts
Shift your perspective on waste and you, too, can turn Trash to Treasure and earn disposable income from the things people throw away.
About the Author
Kelsey Rumburg knows a thing or two about making a sea change. An exciting, early career had turned her into an international traveler and American expat. But it had also expanded her worldview, bringing into focus the things that mattered most to her—things that were out of reach from her position on the corporate ladder. So at twenty-five, she did what one does at twenty-five: she went home.
From her family’s Midwestern farm, Kelsey hatched a plan to use her passion for problem-solving to make a positive impact on the world around her. Now rooted in Miami’s startup ecosystem, Kelsey helps entrepreneurs build businesses that develop solutions to environmental, economic, and social issues.