How To Start A Recycling Business

Recycling is good for the environment and a good idea for a business.  In fact, there are many ways to go about starting up a recycling business.

You might want to start small, just selling recyclable items to local stores and restaurants. Or, you could sell recycled products online, making money from anywhere in the world.

How To Start A Recycling Business
How To Start A Recycling Business 3

Although recycling is a good idea, there are many barriers to getting started. However, even though starting a recycling business is a big task to take on, it’s still achievable. 

There are some basic steps that you can follow to start a recycling business. Let’s look in a little more detail. 


The first thing you’ll want to do is pick a location to run your recycling business from. 

There are a few different ways you can opt to collect your waste material. You can opt to have a facility where people can bring their recyclable materials to where you sort them. This option works best for large companies like grocery stores or restaurants.

Another way is to have a team that goes out and picks up recyclables from customers’ homes and businesses on an ongoing basis.

This is one of the most popular methods used by many recycling facilities because it allows them to keep track of how much material they pick up and where it comes from.

One of the biggest problems with this type of collection is finding enough hours in the day to make sure everything gets picked up.

A third option is to set up drop-off centers throughout the area where people can put their recyclable items into bins. These bins are collected by a crew who sorts what is inside and puts it into trucks.

This is another common method used by recycling companies because it is easy for people to use, and there are usually plenty of places around town where people can leave their stuff.

However, this approach does require a lot of manpower to go out and pick up the bins.

What Will You Recycle?

When we talk about recycling, there are basically three different ways to go about it. We call them “recycle,” “reuse,” and “reduce.”

  • Recycle– This is where you throw away something that you don’t want anymore, but the material can be used for something else. 
  • Reuse – This is where you use something again. Take your old toys. Even if they no longer fit, another person can still use them.
  • Reduce – This is where you reduce the size of something. For example, take plastic bottles. You could reuse them, but you could also cut off some of the bottom parts of the bottle and turn them into something else. 

When thinking about a potential recycling business, you could decide to address all three options or concentrate on one. 

Implement A Plan

Once you’ve decided exactly what your business will include, you need to put together a plan to implement your recycling business.

Make sure that you include information about your pricing structure, customer support options, and delivery times. You’ll also want to provide detailed descriptions of each step involved in the processing and package your products. 

Once you’ve done the above, you’ll need to advertise your business online. Use social media sites to promote yourself and your offerings, and post flyers in local businesses.

Once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll want to keep track of your progress. Keep records of how many items you’re collecting, how much money you’re making, and how much waste you’re reducing.

After a few months, you’ll be able to see if your business is profitable. You can try adjusting your prices or marketing tactics if it isn’t.


How To Start A Recycling Business 4

Running a recycling business is not always easy. You must consider many things, such as how much money you want to spend, what type of equipment you need, and where you can find cheap equipment. 

If you want to start a successful recycling business, there are certain aspects that you must take into consideration. Here are five of those aspects:

1. Money

Recycling businesses require lots of capital. You need to purchase a lot of equipment, buy inventory, pay employees, rent space, etc. So, you must plan out how much money you want and need to start a recycling business.

2. Equipment

You need to research different types of equipment and determine whether you actually need each one. For example, you might use a shredder for paper, a crusher for plastic, a metal detector for metals, and a sorter for glass, etc. 

3. Inventory

Inventory is another thing that you must consider when starting a recycling business. You must keep track of scrap metal requirements etc. 


The recycling industry is one of the most competitive industries out there. This makes it difficult to know whether or not you are making money off of recycling.

As we’ve mentioned, there are many different types of recycling, each with its own set of pros and cons. 

Some recycling companies do well, while others struggle. If you don’t know how profitable recycling is for you, you might end up wasting money. Here are some things to consider when determining profitability.

1. Equipment Costs

Recycling includes sorting, baling, and storage. Each method requires specific equipment. For example, sorting recyclables usually involves sorters, balers, and trucks.

Balers require special machines, and trucks require specialized trailers. These are just a few examples of the equipment needed to run a successful recycling operation.

2. Recycling Rates

Recycling rates vary widely among states. In California, for instance, residents are required to separate aluminum cans from glass bottles.

However, in Michigan, residents must sort paper and plastic separately. Check your local government website before launching your business to find out what recycling laws apply to your state. 

3. Cost Per Ton

Cost per ton refers to the cost of processing recycled material. This includes equipment, labor, and transportation costs. How much does it cost to process a ton of trash?

These are the details you will need to calculate as part of your initial business plan. 


Starting a recycling business is not an easy task. It takes time, effort, and money. But if you have the right mindset and follow these tips, you should be able to get started on your journey toward success.

Andre Flowers
Andre Flowers

Hello, my name is Andre Flowers and I have been a Licensed Real Estate Professional for over 24 years. I also carry several certifications, including: Certified Distressed Property Expert, Certified Global Business Professional, Certified Credit Repair Specialist.

As a current Mortgage Underwriter with 15 years of experience, I have seen my fair share of money-related issues. Whether that be high levels of debt, not enough credit, or simply a lack of funds - I’ve had clients who fit into these categories.

Here I will share tips, tricks, and experiences on how you can get yourself back in control of your finances.

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