6 Ways to Make Money While Helping the Planet

Find out how you can add a little green to your bank account while also adding some green back into the environment.

In celebration of Earth Day, here are a few ways to make money while helping the planet too!

1. Work for a Green Company

One major way to make money while helping the planet is to work for a green company.  With a little research, you’ll discover lots of companies out there committed to environmental sustainability.

Whether it’s a nonprofit advocacy organization like Sierra Club or Greenpeace or a for-profit corporation like Seventh Generation or Tesla, new career opportunities abound.

In addition, companies whose primary business practices may not be altogether eco-friendly sometimes operate corporate social responsibility programs focused on green initiatives.

Aside from large enterprises, there are countless small businesses and startup companies committed to a greener planet too. Why not feel good about going to work everyday? It might be time to start sprucing up your résumé!

2. Start a Green Company

Got the entrepreneurship bug? If you’re thinking about venturing out on your own, consider greening your business model. Not only is a commitment to sustainability better for the environment, it can also help your business’s bottom line.

Start by going paperless or using energy efficient equipment. When you use equipment like Energy Star appliances, electric vehicles, and LED lighting, you can save a considerable amount on your utility bill.

If you’re not ready to quit your day job just yet though, consider a green side hustle.

Secure a booth at your local farmers market and start selling the surplus organic produce from your garden. Or maybe you’re into writing. Start a blog with tips on green travel, green fashion, or whatever suits your fancy!

3. Take Advantage of Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives

In addition to saving money through energy efficiency, you can also earn money through a variety of federal, state, and local tax incentives. Not only are tax incentives available for businesses, they are also available to individuals. While tax breaks like rebates provide direct cash back, credits and deductions can also make you money (at least, depending how you look at it!) by increasing your tax refund.

For example, businesses and individuals are eligible for a federal tax credit up to 30% of the cost of installation of certain solar energy systems. Also, employees at some companies can opt into a pre-tax benefit whereby their monthly mass transit pass can be deducted from their taxable wages. And for those who drive, the purchase of an electric vehicle is eligible for a federal tax credit up to $7,500.   

Check your state and local tax codes for other incentives too. Lastly, don’t forget to keep records of any clothes you donated, i.e. recycled, so you can apply them to your tax deductions.

4. Invest in Green Companies

Money talks.

Did you see our 2017 blog about the dirty secret that’s likely hiding in your investment portfolio? New research shows your investment portfolio may have more of an impact on your carbon footprint than any other individual action - including having a child. Take a read.

Use your dollars to hold companies and governments accountable to the protection of our planet. Even if you’re content in your current gig and you’re not interested in running your own company, you can still make an impact by investing your money in green enterprises. Your future self will thank you for the retirement savings too!

Spend some time researching to determine which companies are truly committed to green businesses practices and clean energy. Search keywords like ”socially responsible stocks” or “green bonds.” Also, check out investing apps like Swell that focus on investments in socially conscious companies.

You can also determine a company’s genuine commitment to social and environmental responsibility by checking whether it’s a certified B Corporation. Companies certified as B (Benefit) corporations meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance.   

5. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Another good way to make money while helping the planet is to recycle your clothing, furniture, and whatever other reusable and renewable items you have lying around.

You can make money from recycling in a large number of ways. For example, you could recycle your lightly worn clothes or furniture by donating them and getting a tax deduction, or instead, you could sell the items at a local consignment shop or through apps like Poshmark and letgo (for clothes) or AptDeco and Chairish (for furniture).

Many local municipalities and retail stores provide rebates for recycling other common items too. For example, Staples offers a $2 rebate when you return your empty ink cartridge. Also, Gazelle.com is an online platform where you can sell your used electronics.  

6. Get Paid To Turn Off Your Lights With OhmConnect

Last but not least on our list of ways to make money while helping the planet is OhmConnect! Through OhmConnect, homeowners and renters can earn cash rewards by saving energy during times of peak demand on the grid.

The process is simple. First, connect your utilities to the OhmConnect platform. Next, save energy for one hour. Then get paid! Currently, customers of PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E are eligible to participate.

OhmConnect not only rewards people for saving energy, it also gives them an excuse to spend more quality time with family and friends away from their phones, tablets, and TVs. Getting paid to unplug might be worth a try!

There you have it. Six ways to ways to make money while helping the planet. Which one will you try out this Earth Day?

Looking for other ways to make money?

Caroline Valvardi

Sustainability and social justice writer with a "pay it forward" attitude, aiming to have positive, uplifting impact on others in everything she does.

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