What a Waste: Making Millions on Other People’s Garbage

waste management concept

Appearances can truly be deceiving. What one thinks of as trash can actually be a source of jaw-dropping income. It’s really a matter of processing. When you throw what you consider trash, you’re getting rid of something you can’t utilize. But that doesn’t mean it’s totally useless. Along comes a bright-minded individual full of ideas. He puts in the hard work that many consider being an action bordering on insanity. And lo and behold, out comes millions.

It’s a matter of perspective. When other people find ways to make the most trash, they’re actually going against the norm. People are uncomfortable with it. However, an entrepreneur worth his name in salt should be careful. Dismissing such bright ideas could be counterintuitive. As history has shown, those who brave the open seas and leave an island are the ones who get to discover new worlds. Opportunities then abound for people willing to take it.

Making Millions Out of Trash

Imagine yourself going from one garbage dump to another, scouring for things that you can make use of. It’s revolting and gut-wrenching, right? Who would do such a thing?

But then again, before you pass judgment, a quick fact-checking should bid us well. It can put things in the right perspective.

Environmental Protection Agency or EPA has made the disposition of waste part of its job since 30 years ago. Of course, this is in line with their mantra of protecting the environment so everyone can have a cleaner, more livable planet. Therefore, knowing the volume of waste material is key to managing the burgeoning problem of improper waste management.

And here is where you got a huge problem. In their study, EPA stipulates that, on average, each person produces 4.51 pounds of solid waste daily. Or in the year of the study (2017), America produced 267.8 million tons of municipal solid waste or MSW. Of the total amount, 94 million tons were composted.

Then again, what can be a humongous problem for one can be a humongous opportunity for another.

Enter Zhang Yin. Born in Guangdong, China, this enterprising lady braved the dumps of America. Together with her husband, they would drive from one garbage dump to another, looking for paper. They’d load it up in their vehicle and move to the next garbage pile a town could offer. In short, they were scavengers, not for food but paper.

They would then send all the waste paper they can find to China to be recycled. That was the business plan of her recycling company Nine Dragons Paper.

Today, Zhang Yin sits at the helm of this recycling company employing 17,000 people. Born in 1957, she’s amassed a fortune most of us may not get in a lifetime of working in the office. Currently, she is ranked the fourth richest Chinese woman with a net worth of $1.8 billion. And yes, she’s dubbed the Queen of Trash. And rightfully so.

How You Can Cash In

cash in concept

The collection and processing of waste are key to our survival as a species. Just imagine how helpful septic tank waste removal is to homes across American and a host of industries. The processing of industrial waste keeps a company afloat. Without proper disposal of industrial, workers could get sick, and business processes could slow down.

Now Zhang Win’s story sounds truly unbelievable. But there is a method to her spirit. She was not just some damsel who had no choice but to scrounge over a mountain of garbage. She knew what she was doing.

Early in life, she was immersed in adversity. Perhaps, that’s how Zhang acquired so much passion. To boot, her father, a Red Army lieutenant, was imprisoned, so she had to work early in life to support the family. She is the eldest of eight children.

At first, she worked as a bookkeeper, giving her a glimpse of accounting numbers. Then she saw an opportunity in wastepaper. Specifically, she learned of the trade of Hong Kong’s wastepaper with China.

Unable to find good quality material on the mainland, she tried her luck in America. It was in Los Angeles where she started her “dump to dump” journey. Her company is credited as the largest freight exporter from the United States to China.

Think of the possibilities. With tons and tons of garbage being thrown every day, there is a slew of opportunities you could actually make money of. If such a treasure trove is waiting for you, don’t you think it’s worth looking into. Here’s a good start. All you need is one right idea and, yes, a strong stomach.

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