So everyone agrees like is super expensive right now, right? Everything from groceries to rent has gotten more expensive in the past year and data says that Americans need an additional $11,400 a year to afford basics today.
Yikes. We simply hate to see it. We know sustainable living can save you money, but is there a way sustainability can MAKE you money?
Turns out, yes! We’ve rounded up sustainable side hustles you can do that will help you earn more money this year while being kind to Mother Nature. A win-win for your wallet and the planet!
I used side hustles to pay off $30,000 in student loan debt, so I am partial to them as a financial tool. Bringing in more money can make a huge difference in your investing and saving goals.
19 Sustainable Side Hustles
Here are 18 sustainable side hustles you can start to make more money right away. The first 6 are all sustainable side hustles that can make you money without even needing to leave your house! The rest you can do outside of the house.
1. Sell your plants/veggies/baked goods at a farmer’s market or on Facebook
If you have a flourishing garden and can’t possibly eat all the tomatoes you grew, sell them! People love fresh produce and locally sourced produce is often in high demand. You can sell these in person at a farmer’s market (though markets have a higher start-up cost since you’ll need to usually pay an entrance fee and get things like marketing materials and packaging.)
You can also sell your produce online using social media. This is perfect for hyper-local sales, where you can drop off the food or have people come pick it up.
2. Vegan/vegetarian meal prep (or local-based food meal prep if eating local is their preference)
Eating less meat is good for the climate since meat is both water and land-intensive to create. And meal prepping can be done from your own home under Cottage Food laws, so check your state’s regulations to be protected.
Since we all have to eat, selling meal prep is a fantastic side hustle. You can set your own hours, prices, and work with as many or as few customers as you want.
Here’s how to save money on groceries to help you keep the costs down with this side hustle.
I needed a math tutor in high school, no shame! And especially high school students often need help with preparing for college admission tests. Plus, adults looking to apply to law school, med school, or any grad program where a test is required are looking for tutors as well. There’s a big market out there!
You can do this virtually with services like ETutorWorld, or Varsity Tutors. Or you can look to your local market and meet at the public library instead of having strangers in your house.
4. Bike repair
Have people drop off their damaged bikes at your house and repair them. Keeping more cars off the road by helping people bike is truly GOAT-level sustainability moves, and it’s a great way to make some extra cash.
5. Content creation or social media management for sustainable businesses
Social media is a crucial part of any business today. You can help a sustainable business get their posting game going as your side hustle. Pitch yourself or apply on platforms like LinkedIn.
Here’s how social media has supercharged our shopping addiction as a society. Your side hustle in this industry could help change the tide towards sustainability.
6. Rent out your home or a spare room
Maybe you’ve heard; we have a housing crisis. People need places to live more than ever before and rent is skyrocketing. If you have an extra room you can rent it out long or short term to make money and help house someone. Even better, putting something like a tiny house on any property you have can bring you money over the long term while helping with the housing crisis.
These side hustles below do require leaving your house if that’s more your jam:
7. Handyperson or lawn maintenance
Take it back old school style and walk around your neighborhood to offer to fix that leaky faucet, mow a lawn, or shovel snow. Houses require work and right now, there’s actually a shortage of handypeople in most places in the US. That means your skills will be in high demand and you’re likely to find a lot of work.
Make it extra sustainable by skipping things like a leafblower!
8. Install rain barrels for people
This one has a learning curve. But as drought becomes more prominent due to climate change, rain barrels will become more popular. Charge a flat fee and help make your area more sustainable by capturing water. Bonus: in your advertising, you can share that rain barrels can help lower water bills- they pay for themselves over time!
Turn trash into treasure! Upcycling is using something you already have in a new way; a pasta sauce jar becomes your new water glass! You can gather people’s items that need small repairs, fix them, and then sell them. Or you can turn people’s trash into art and sell that.
10. Bike courier
Get your exercise and earn money! A bike courier delivers packages in an eco-friendly manner. In major cities, this is a popular way for companies to share documents. You can find bike delivery jobs on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Craigslist.
11. Outdoor personal fitness trainer
If you’re a certified trainer, yoga teacher, or some kind of fitness professional, let’s put that skill to use as a side hustle. Hosting classes in public places is a way for you to earn money, move your body, and meet new people.
Americans say they’re lonelier than ever, so working out together in public is an enticing offer for people who want to meet new folks and move their bodies.
Americans also struggle with daily movement. Less than 1/3 of adults Americans get the recommended amount of exercise. So creating a sustainable side hustle that focuses on movement and physical activity has a lot of opportunity for marketing and growth!
12. Eco-friendly cleaning service
Cleaning products sometimes have chemicals that are bad for the environment. When we rinse these down the drain they end up in water and food supplies, which is bad for us and animals. Using cleaner products can make your cleaning service eco-friendly and be a selling point to entice customers who want an eco-friendly home.
13. Offer to recycle scrap metal for people in your neighborhood
Metal is endlessly recyclable and it’s used in a lot of things! Things that people might have piled in their garage, sitting on their front porch, or tucked into the basement. Hubcaps, old pipes, and other metal scraps have real financial value. You can check the types of metal and prices for it in this directory here.
14. Teach people sustainable practices
Whether it’s composting, beekeeping, or foraging, sustainable living is a skill that people need to be taught. You can lead classes, and even partner with sustainable organizations for workshops. Take stock of your skills and think about what you can teach. Maybe a $20 workshop on how to make your own Free Little Library?
15. Be a consultant to help small businesses or offices be more eco-friendly
If you have a sustainability degree or years of qualifications you can help spread the sustainable word to other businesses. Sustainability consultants are in growing demand for businesses of all sizes. Major corporations are finally beginning to consider sustainable practices in everything from their production, to supply chain, to marketing practices.
16. Seasonal work at a regenerative farm
Seasonal work comes with an expiration date, which makes it great for a side hustle. Work might be picking fruits, helping with animal care, or fixing broken fences. Regenerative farms have a special focus on sustainable practices and that makes it incredibly valuable work for all of us.
17. Sell secondhand clothing or furniture at flea markets or get a booth at a local antique store
Secondhand clothing is very in right now and that means you can resell pieces! I know resellers get a lot of hate but we make 100 billion new pieces of clothes a year. There is no shortage of clothing for anyone who needs it!
Reselling can be done online or in person, your choice!
18. Dog walker or pet sitter
Get your steps in and hang with a dog by becoming a dog walker. Dog walking apps like Rover and Wag are hugely popular and you can easily spend only specific times of day working. (Meaning, you can choose to walk dogs from 6-8 am and then not do it the rest of the day if you like!)
19. Upcycle Furniture
If there’s one video I’m going to stop and watch on TikTok, it’s people turning old, ugly furniture into cute, updated furniture. I love a thrift flip!
We make a ton of furniture, and we’ve already made a ton of furniture in past decades. Instead of letting that go to the landfill, a sustainable side hustle is to give it a makeover and sell it! This does require some upfront investment in tools, and you have to learn how to use them.
However, that information is available for free on YouTube! Besides the tools and the things you use to make your flip cute (paint, wallpaper, new hardware like drawer knobs), this side hustle can be pretty low cost with a chance to sell at a high price.
Plus, if you have the energy, you can film this and upload it to TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. YouTube and TikTok pay creators for content once you hit a certain threshold. That means this side hustle has the chance to make you money in two different ways!
Those are our suggestions for sustainable side hustles! What do you think?