I’m writing this post while sitting in a hunting blind with lots of time to think about life and business. Last night after sunset, I located a farmer by the name of Ryan Britten. I have known him since he was a small child. I hopped aboard his Caterpillar tractor and we took several laps drilling winter wheat. When I got back to the camper for the night I sat down with a really nice tumbler of single barrel bourbon he provided. As I sipped my drink I recalled a trip I had made to the wild turkey distillery during a past vacation. I recalled taking the bourbon manufacturing tour and seeing several trucks being unloaded and loaded.
At the time, I asked the tour director about the operation that was taking place as we traveled from one operation to the next. He informed me that the unloading trucks were delivering the grains used in the production of their bourbon and the loading trucks were hauling away the spent grain after the essential ingredients were removed during the fermentation process. Naturally, I asked what happens to the spent grain. He said, “Why we sell it to livestock farmers who feed it to their animals.” That got me to thinking about how the waste products of one business often become the inputs of another. I recall that lumber mills sell their sawdust waste to pulp mills or to other businesses that use sawdust to make products such as fireplace logs. Even this blog once published will likely end up in a new book I’ll write or be part of a course I’ll teach.
Businesses should look at their waste and try to find a market for it. My middle son Josh works at a tire store. They charged the customer a recycling fee to dispose of their old worn out tires and then sell them to an old client of mine. This client had a business that took the old tires and used a process called pyrolysis to heat the tires in a pressure cooker. This process extracted diesel fuel, carbon black used as power plant fuel, and steal from the cords that can be recycled. The waste product for the tire store was the raw material for my old client’s business.
I recently read a story about an energy company that was developing a process to ferment grass clippings it acquired from landscapers to create a gas that could be converted into electricity.
How can you use the waste products from your business as an additional revenue source?
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