How to Start a Profitable Recycling Business

We have never been more aware of the disastrous impact we’re having on our planet than now.  From governments to the man living next door, action is being taken to try and mitigate the damage by reducing our fossil fuel consumption, developing technology to generate more renewable energy and, of course, to recycle rather than clog our landfill sites any further.

Interestingly, the drive for a cleaner world has also had a side effect; many entrepreneurs have realized the potential to make money from the recycling of waste materials, combining a much-needed service with healthy profit. This guide summarizes the key things you need to think about when starting a recycling business.

How Can You Profit from Recycling?

The US economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2018 and was partly down to an increase in consumer spending. When people buy more, they generate more waste which needs to be disposedof. Waste, by its very nature, is usually given away and so as a raw material is amongst the cheapest you can come by.

At the other end of the process are businesses which are increasingly turning to recyclable waste to use in manufacturing. A recycling business collects the waste from consumers (and possibly some businesses) and sells it on to businesses which can put it to good use rather than sending it to the landfill.

What Waste Material Will You Recycle?

You need to identify the recyclable materials which are plentiful in your area and compare them to the materials businesses are looking for. Some options to consider are:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Electronics g., cell phones
  • Batteries
  • Metal
  • Textiles

When you think you’ve found a material which will be in steady supply, you should reach out to prospective suppliers and ensure that they would be willing to let you manage their waste. Make sure to check for any laws which you’ll need to consider as some types of waste have strict regulations around transportation and health and safety issues.

How Will You Finance the Business at the Beginning?

Any new business will have some start-up costs which you’ll need to budget for and you may want to take out a loan or a grant. Keycosts include licenses, vehicles for transporting the rubbish, somewhere to store the waste until it can be distributed to your customers and other equipment. You may be able to lease equipment to avoid large upfront costs.

It’s common for recycling businesses to be one-person operations in the early days, but eventually, you might need extra labor to maximize profits.

What equipment will you need?

The equipment you’ll need will depend on the waste material you’re handling, but for maximum profits you’ll need some form of automated machinery to process the waste. The most common items of equipment for arecycling business are crushers, shredders and balers.

Crushers and shredders do exactly what they say on the tin, while a baler presses waste material together waste materials into bales. They can then be tied with bale wires for easy storage and transport. These machines are usually used to process waste cardboard and soft plastic but can also bale carpet, cans and hard plastic. If you do opt for a baler, you’ll need to consider small ongoing costs like bale wire. Take a look at balingwiredirect.com to see what kind of prices you’ll be looking at regarding transporting recycling waste.

How will you collect the waste?

To collect the waste and deliver the product, you’ll need some form of transport. Before you invest in a vehicle, you need to confirm where you’ll be collecting the materials from. If you’ll be driving around to lots of small premises, a large vehicle may be impractical. On the other hand, you could agree on a specific location where all your suppliers will leave their waste for you and then a larger truck may be best to handle it all in one trip.

Who Are Your Customers?

It’s a clear business principle, but there’s no point spending money or time collecting and processing waste that no one wants to buy. Identify your customers and balance supply with demand as much as possible to avoid large stacks of waste which you can’t shift.


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