I hope you had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend. I spent the past few days with my family, doing my best to tune out the chaotic cacophony of current events. Believe me, sometimes a day or two without the news is just what the doctor ordered.

But I do like to stay informed – which means I spent the better part of this morning catching up on everything I’d missed.

One theme in particular stood out to me as I browsed the major headlines of the past three days: climate change.

No matter what your personal stance is, there’s no denying this is a hot-button issue worldwide. Between the fires raging in Australia, Microsoft’s pledge to go ‘carbon negative’ by 2030, and Greta Thunberg and President Trump sparring at the Davos Forum this morning… Suffice it to say I had a lot of reading to do.

As is often the case, I couldn’t help but wonder: how does what’s happening on the global stage affect what’s happening right here in Silicon Valley? (Cue montage of my team and I going down the research “rabbit hole.”)

What I found was somewhat surprising: not only are there hundreds of startups out there tackling climate and environmental issues… but they’re actually making money. And VCs are paying attention.

Many of the top players in this sector are tackling a problem that anyone can get on board with: sustainable alternatives to plastic.

Climate change or no climate change, the fact is that we’re dumping around 18 billion pounds of plastic into the ocean every year. And a lot of that comes from disposable, single-use plastic – think water bottles, product packaging and so on.

A recent Crunchbase survey showed that 20 of the most-funded companies in the sustainable packaging space have raised close to a billion dollars in recent years. Which can only mean one thing: this is a sector that could be getting ready to explode, kicking back massive returns to anyone who gets on the train before it’s too late.

Isn’t it nice when doing good and doing well overlap like that?

Incidentally, I’ve spent a lot of time recently talking to the founder of a startup that fits right into this up-and-coming industry. We first got in touch a few months ago because I found his business fascinating and impressive – and that was before I knew how much cash VCs are willing to throw at startups just like his.

Their mission is simple, really: they want to eliminate the very idea of waste. “Reduce, reuse, recycle,” just doesn’t cut it, as far as this founder is concerned. In his vision of the future, nothing goes to waste – because his company can figure out a way to recycle anything.

It’s a big dream, but they’re well on their way. This startup’s team has figured out ways to recycle the most unpleasant things imaginable, if you ask me – old K-cups, dirty diapers, even cigarette butts. And they don’t just recycle these things. They convert them into raw materials, which they then sell for a profit. (A profit! From dirty diapers!)

Perhaps my favorite thing about this startup is that it’s not just another big idea in the early stages. Sure, it’s still a privately-held company – but it’s been profitable for more than five years now. It’s been trailblazing this space since 2001, and has even established programs in more than 20 countries. Heck, the company even pays dividends.

This startup is currently raising money for what may be its final expansion before it gets scooped up by huge institutional investors. In other words: this could be the last chance for everyday people to take advantage. Just click here to learn how you could join them.

Until next time,

Neil Patel