Apparently somewhere in the region of 8 million real Christmas trees are bought in the UK every year by a UK population of about 65 million people. Therefore doing some basic maths, and making some broad assumptions, I calculate that Edinburgh's population of about 500,000 people probably buys about 60,000 trees each year.
During my morning stroll, I also noticed that there was a huge number of well-stuffed paper and cardboard recycling bins outside the houses in my street, also awaiting Council collection. What really struck me was that many of the recycling bins must weigh the best part of a stone, if ours is anything to go by. As well as the usual cardboard, ours was crammed to bursting with all kinds of glossy catalogues sent to us over the last two or three weeks by various retailers whose products we must have bought online at one time or another. I suspect that we probably haven't spent more than £100 with any of them in the last 12 months, but having become customers of theirs we've obviously gone on to their various marketing databases and we'll receive catalogues forever. You've presumably all heard it said that following a nuclear war the only two things that will survive are cockroaches and Starbucks coffee-shops, but my guess is that even in the midst of a nuclear winter, Charles Tyrwhitt will still be sending me catalogues tempting me to buy his fine shirts.
But I digress: faced with yet another letter from my energy supplier telling me that prices are going up yet again, it occurred to me that I should set up a business that advises on the installation of biomass boilers that run on Christmas trees and glossy catalogues. I could ensure the continuity of my own energy supply by buying the cheapest possible item from every online retailer known to man so that I receive catalogues from all of them; as new suppliers hit the market I'd simply have to buy something for a fiver to add to my energy supply. I could also fill my back garden with all of the Christmas trees that I would drag from outside my neighbours' houses during January and it would probably be July before I’d burnt my way through them. As energy sources go, it's a lot less bother and a lot less dangerous than going down the pit or drilling 40 miles east of Aberdeen. Such is the volume of glossy catalogues that lands on our doormat every day that I could probably heat and light our house and have enough surplus capacity to let our next door neighbours run their toaster and kettle. Even as I walked into the kitchen last night there was another pile of catalogues ('fuel') from Joseph Turner, Nauticalia and Fat Face, all sitting on the kitchen worktop nicely wrapped in plastic and awaiting combustion. In some ways it seems a shame to be setting fire to all of the investment in branding, marketing, intellectual property protection, database management and GDPR compliance that these companies have no doubt funded, but I have to heat the house somehow.
Now for the legal bit: this blog isn’t intended to constitute legal or investment advice, and even if you think this all sounds like a good idea, please don't send me any cash.
I'm not suggesting that my hastily-conceived business idea, inspired by dead Edinburgh Christmas trees and glossy catalogues, is the most investable idea that anyone ever had, but if you have an embryonic business idea that may be, please get in touch. I'd be happy to put you in touch with people who may be able to help to secure funding.