New Opportunities: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

There are any number of new opportunities opening up as people begin to realise the importance of saving resources by reducing consumption, Reusing and repairing items so they last longer and Recycling what they can. Some of the ideas below may appeal to you:

Refill Shops – these are opening up in every town as people want to reduce plastic packaging by refilling dry goods like beans, pasta, rice and spices and toiletries like shower gel and hand soap. Shops like these often sell other plastic free alternatives like soap and shampoo bars and beeswax wraps. To start up a successful shop you need to be a motivated and entrepreneurial person, who is happy to work hard, long hours, often alone until the shop is established. If you don’t want to start your own shop you might find a job working in a shop like this as they expand into more areas.

Bike Repair Shops – bikes must be repaired by qualified people, so as we move into a society where people use cars less and travel by bike more. then more bike repair shops will be needed. You might find that a local Repair Café can link you with the local bike repair mechanics or you could find a local course and get qualified. Job skills needed include a good understanding of how bikes work and an ability to work with your hands. Problem solving skills are also useful.

Computer and Mobile Phone Repairs – more people are using computers, laptops and mobile phones that have been reconditioned rather than bought new. Shops or cabins that repair mobile phone screens are found in many high streets. Skills needed for these jobs include a good understanding of how electronics work, an attention to detail and an ability to work with your hands.

Artists – it is often the more creative side of life that gets people thinking about what happens to our rubbish. Artists who use waste, found items or litter washed up on beaches have made a real impact on the world. An imagination, an understanding of the issues and a streak of creativity are needed to be a successful artist.

Engineers – solving the world’s  problems is the bread and butter of technologists and engineers. With waste causing many of the world’s massive environmental problems such as plastic pollution in the oceans, microplastics and useful resources trapped in landfills many solutions are needed. Recent ideas from engineers include a big boom that sweeps the world’s oceans for plastic pollution (The Ocean Clean Up), machines that suck up litter from harbours (Mr Trash Wheel and The Plastic Soup Foundation) or landfill mining (NEW-MINE). Who knows – your crazy idea could be the one that solves the next big environmental problem! To be an engineer you usually need some formal training, such as a degree in engineering, or an apprenticeship with an engineering company. These courses usually require good grades at A-Level in maths and a science subject. You could be the next to take up these new opportunities!

The interior of a Refill Shop in Topsham, Devon
Picture of someone mending a mobile phone
Picture of the Ocean Cleanup boat in action to clear up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch