Entrepreneurship and Environmental Sustainability in Chile
The 2015 Chilean elective abroad provided several opportunities for our group to visit fascinating and fun Chilean start-ups. On the trip’s third day, we met Oscar Munoz, founder of Green Glass, at his home and corporate headquarters. His company found a way to derive value from something most people think of as trash — discarded glass bottles, by acquiring used bottles from restaurants and hotels and transforming them into fashionable upcycled drinking glasses.
Oscar comes from a family business background in the glass industry. The innovative idea behind Green Glass occurred when a friend asked Oscar whether he could cut a bottle, and after he saw that he could, he took action and created a business with visions of environmental sustainability and giving back to his community.
Although Green Glass has already saved over 50,000 bottles from landfills, its mission to positively contribute to its community doesn’t end with environmental responsibility. The company has found a creative way to source used bottles while simultaneously making life easier for those who depend on bottle deposits as a source of income — the company recently purchased shopping carts for bottle collectors that are bigger and easier to push than the carts they previously used.
Oscar’s story is a great example of entrepreneurship, perseverance, and innovation. His business idea was initially met with skepticism and even led to his removal from his university entrepreneurship class. He stuck with it, earned a prestigious national entrepreneurship award, and customer list now includes the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet.