There are two rubbish removal companies, both less than ten years old, that have become shining examples of social entrepreneurship. One is Clearabee, an on demand rubbish removal company that serves all parts of England and is headquartered in Birmingham England. It has achieved a ninety percent recycle and upcycle rate of all rubbish it clears!
The other is Ecoscraps, a company that creates high quality compost out of food scraps that would otherwise be taken to the landfills. Ecoscraps is based in the United States and headquartered in Provo, Utah. Its compost is sold in big box stores like Target, Walmark, Home Depot, and Lowes to mainstream customers, many of whom are just barely learning about the importance sustainability. This fulfills its mission to make sustainability more mainstream.
Before we tell you more about both of these amazing companies, both changing the world in their own way, we first need to define social entrepreneurship. We also want to explain why it represents such a positive paradigm shift that could literally transform the entire world for future generations.
Until very recently, there were essentially two types of companies in the world:
1. For profit companies
2. Not for profit or “non profit” companies
It was generally assumed by most people that the top goal of for profit companies should be to make money. Success or failure was generally defined by how much profit a company made in a year and if the profit was trending up or down overall. Maximizing profit was paramount to the purpose of the CEO and other decision makers in these for profit companies.
On the other hand, non profit companies were generally expected to have a more noble primary purpose than making money. This purpose, often viewed as a “worthy cause,” was generally recognized as performing some greater social good than mere money such as serving the needs of disadvantaged people, restoring habitat, or reducing harm to the environment.
These two modes of doing business — the “for profit” mode and the “non profit” mode — were more or less kept in their own lanes for many decades. Occasionally, one or the other would veer into the other lane but mostly their paths never crossed. It was generally thought that for profit businesses would hurt their profitability if their primary purpose(s) was to do social good. Yes, many for profit businesses had charitable foundations and or donated a small amount of their profits to charitable causes but this was mostly done for purpose of improving public relations and making their employees feel better about working there. However, sociably responsible activities were not a core mission of the for profit company.
Social entrepreneurship is a completely different way of thinking. It blurs the lines between the purpose of traditional for profit businesses and traditional non profit businesses. It allows a for profit business to have as noble a purpose as a non profit business. In fact, socially conscious for profit businesses believe that their noble purpose(s) make them more sustainable long-term, and therefore, more profitable long term. Their noble purpose(s) contributes substantially to their economic success because they set out to solve a social problem or set of problems plaguing the world. Clearabee and Ecoscraps are two incredibly good examples of this. They are both solving huge problems involving filling our landfills with rubbish that is harmful to our environment and unsustainable going forward. They both achieve this with their rubbish removal services.
Clearabee was founded in 2012 to do rubbish removal a different way. Instead of clearing rubbish and taking it to the landfill, they would do everything in their power to keep the rubbish they cleared OUT OF THE LANDFILL! They did this mainly by developing an extensive database of tipping facilities so they knew exactly where certain items could be taken to be recycled, reused, and upcycled. They also developed an evaluation team in their home office so their field employees could snap a picture and get help evaluating the rubbish and where to take it in a matter of minutes!
By 2015, only three years after launching, Clearabee had expanded to the point it could serve the entire mainland Britain. It served more than thirty thousand customers and made £4.1 million in revenue! Thus, this young company, led by Daniel Long, proved not only to England, but to the entire world, that a for profit business with a very noble purpose could also be highly profitable. On top of this, Clearabee is fully committed to paying its more than sixty employees a living wage and is fully accredited by the well respected Living Wage Foundation.
Ecoscraps concentrates on a specific type of rubbish removal. The company was founded in 2009 by Dan Blake, a college student at Brigham Young University. Blake was appalled by the food that was being thrown out and destined for the landfill at an all you could eat buffet. As a missionary in Latin America, he had seen a different way, a better way. Instead of taking food scraps to the landfill, they would compost it so the nutrients were recycled back into the food chain rather than producing toxic methane gas in a landfill.
With his own small start up capital and some grant money, Blake began collecting food scraps from restaurants and grocery stores and composting this to produce a highly valuable and profitable product. His big idea was to make this sustainable ecofriendly process so easy and so cheap, it would become mainstream. With help from some scientists at Brigham Young, he was able to speed up the composting process considerably by adding certain microorganisms and by aerating the soil better. Ecoscraps is currently collecting food rubbish from some of the biggest mainstream companies in the world, like Cosco and Walmart. The compost they produce eliminates the need to use chemical fertilizers and experiments show plants grown in the compost produced by Ecoscraps grow at least as good, if not better, than in chemical fertilizers.
Both of these young rubbish removal companies represent the cream of the crop when it comes to social entrepreneurship. They are sure to be an inspiration to many more socially responsible for profit businesses in the future. A world paradigm shift is afoot and it’s about time!