What is a Waste and Recycling Business?
Collecting & recycling waste not only has environmental benefits but also has tremendous potential for someone looking to start a business. There are plenty of materials that end up in landfills that can be recycled or converted into something that can be reused.
In the startup ecosystem, the waste and recycling sector is broad, and there are plenty of areas that are still unexplored. The entrepreneurship bug may have bitten you, but in addition to passion and persistence, a solid recycling business idea, a sound business plan, and an available market are critical for starting a recycling business.
How to Start a Recycling Business?
Research the Industry
Evaluation of the market and competition are crucial aspects of any business, and research is critical to ensure a sound footing on all aspects before starting a recycling business. It helps you become more equipped to handle all the nuances of the industry and as well as the kind of support and incentives extended by the government and environmental agencies. Additionally, research also helps provide insight into what it takes to be in this industry and the kind of competition you are likely to face.
Document the Business Plan
Writing down the business plan is a pre-cursor to implementing it. Theoretical discussion and research can miss out on some aspects, but once you begin documenting, it will crystallize things further with respect to setting shop, managing transactions, growth, and vision. You may write your own business plan or outsource the same to a professional consultant.
Register Your Business
Most countries mandate the registration of a business before you begin operations. It is advisable to seek legal help in doing so, since if you pursue it at your level, you may need to invest a lot of time. Remember, a taxpayer ID and business license must also be obtained post-registration.
Lease or Rent a Facility
Recycling is a real estate-intensive business, considering that you need to house large cardboard balers and cardboard recycling machines. Additionally, you will also need some office space. Hence, a careful decision must be made with respect to the facility. It’s advisable to lease or rent a facility to keep your capital expenditure low since you would be investing in machinery too.
Purchase the Right Equipment
The recycling business is completely dependent upon the processing equipment used, which includes a whole host of machines such as forklifts, shredders, balers, pulp molders, etc. A large chunk of your capital will be consumed in purchasing the required equipment, which must be accounted for in your financial plan. Some companies such as Compactor Management Company also provide an option to rent or lease the equipment. The equipment forms the backbone of this business, so make sure you get expert advice and invest in the right machinery!
Source Used Raw Material
While the raw material for your business is free, you will need a robust plan to source used material from the right places, such as schools, printing presses, dry garbage dumping sites, etc. You also need sufficient investment in labor and transportation in order to implement an effective collection.
Target the Right Market
Just having a product is not enough. Creating a focused product for your target market is equally important. Decide what you intend to create from used material, depending on the potential clients and contracts that you could have. Finished products can range from hardbound books or printing papers to packaging material for other industries.
What are Some Popular Waste and Recycling Business Ideas?
Food Waste Recycling Business
According to the EPA, over 36 million tons of food waste reach landfills each year in the United States, where it emits greenhouse gases such as methane. Recycling is the best method to get rid of food waste. You can consider home composting to eliminate food waste effectively.
Glass is an easy material to recycle. It can be easily melted and remade into many different things of different shapes. From molded sculptures to drinking glasses, it has innumerable uses today. The glass waste is collected and broken down into smaller pieces. These pieces are crushed, sorted, and cleaned. It is then mixed with other materials like sand to be melted again and molded into the desired shape.
Refill Empty Ink Cartridges
Cartridges are notoriously expensive. In a landfill, they take over 1000 years to decompose fully. With over 375 million empty ink cartridges thrown out every year in the US, their impact on the environment cannot be overstated. Consider starting a recycling business that provides ink and toner refilling services. This way, consumers can save money and protect the environment in the process.
Plastic Recycling Business
Plastic recycling is the most common form of recycling business today. Most types of plastic– PET, PVC, and HDPE –end up in landfills and dumpsites that can be easily recycled. Consider exploring this business idea to its maximum potential.
Computers are made from plastics, metals, and other materials that can be recycled. If dumped into landfills, they are hazardous to the environment. A lot of the computer parts can be put to good use. You can either reuse it or sell it to a company that knows how to use these parts efficiently.
Paper & Cardboard Recycling Business
Most types of paper and cardboard are easy to recycle. Paper recycling involves sorting them into different categories. It is then made into a slurry where the ink is removed, and the paper is bleached to make it into a new product. Paper recycling is an uncomplicated process and profitable too.
Used Cloth & Textile Recycling Business
Textiles make up a significant portion of most landfills. Used clothing can be reused while the others that cannot be reused can be recycled. In the textile recycling process, the textiles are sorted based on color and type. These are then reused in the manufacturing of new clothes or in reinforcing some types of furniture.
Batteries have chemicals that can be poisonous both to the environment and human beings and hence should not be dumped. Rather, they can be recycled, which involves a process of sorting, sieving, and creating new parts to be reused in batteries again.
A tire is usually made from rubber, nylon, and a carbon mixture. When a tire is burnt, it causes air pollution, and when it is dumped into landfills, it takes a long time to decompose. Recycling tires is the best option. They can be melted and molded into new products.
Collect & Recycle Scrap Metal
The startup capital needed to start a scrap metal collecting business is low. You may need some basic tools, gloves, safety shoes, a pickup truck, a net, and tie-downs to start. And you can easily expand your business to scrape metal recycling over time. You can pick up scrap metal from homeowners, businesses and other sources and make recycled metals.
What are the Benefits of Starting a Recycling Business?
Diversity of Companies/Businesses/Industries
Many people think that recycling is limited to small-scale endeavors, but the fact is that it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, which encompasses a wide range of businesses, companies and industries. Their activities range from collection to manufacture and purchase, in addition to other waste reduction methods like reusing, upcycling and composting.
Many manufacturers create new products like glass containers, tires, paper, fiberglass, steel and plastic goods from recycled materials, while collection points like supermarkets, schools or curbside recycling programs and dealers in scrap metal or junk also contribute to the recycling facilities and plants using recycled materials.
The adage ‘waste not, want not’ is the perfect way to define the economic impact of recycling and waste management processes. Instead of filling up landfills with material that can easily be reused or given a new lease on life, a simple system of collecting, sorting, processing and manufacturing can be used to save these resources and even increase their value.
Over $600 million in sales and employment are generated annually by the recycling industry in Los Angeles alone and industries that use recycled materials or reuse/repair goods like automobile parts, appliances and personal items add another $600 million, for a whopping total of over $1.2 billion in direct economic benefits. If that wasn’t enough, benefits get multiplied through a ripple effect on other areas of the city’s economy.
Another great example of the economic benefits of recycling lies in the number of jobs created by the industry. To be recycled, materials have to be collected, sorted, processed and then transported to be sold. Each step creates additional jobs for the local population, while local businesses, manufacturing industries and even households will have access to cheaper materials produced locally through recycling. With a sustainable framework, businesses will grow and flourish, as will their need for employees
Small businesses are the backbone of economic development in communities. Recycling can provide an excellent opportunity for small business owners and minorities to tap into an industry that offers sustainable growth, creates employment opportunities and revitalizes urban areas.
Numerous small businesses are already taking advantage of the tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities in recycling, creating additional opportunities for urban youth. Since manufacturers gain a significant advantage by being placed closer to the sources of their raw materials, recycling gives them additional incentive to remain in larger cities, further increasing jobs available to local communities.
Economic Growth in the State
Businesses and entrepreneurs are now establishing bases in the golden state to tap into California’s newest resource: garbage. Without creating extra hype, new companies are being created and even larger established companies are recycling for more green to line their pockets.
For the recycling industry, the United States presents a huge potential for growth with its commitment to recycling and/or reusing more than half of all garbage. A series of laws have been established to increase the marketability of individual products, resulting in a stimulated increase in the collection, processing, manufacturing and even export of recycled materials.
Manufacturers have recognized that waste reduction, recycling and reusing is an essential part of increasing efficiency. Whether it’s achieved by reducing waste disposal costs by recycling, saving on material costs by reducing packaging, or streamlining products to lower distribution costs recycling is a sensible way to improve profitability for businesses and the environment too.
Besides reducing costs by improving product designs, many companies are discovering the financial benefits of in-house waste reduction programs and the results are a substantial payback through eliminated disposal costs and improved manufacturing efficiency. Even end customers are rapidly focusing on products with a ‘green’ tag.
New Product Innovation
Companies pride themselves on remaining several steps ahead in product development and being leaders in innovation. Recycling creates a vast range of opportunities for manufacturers who like to be on the cutting edge of technologies that increase sustainability and improve profitability, by utilizing resources that would otherwise be wasted.
Open-loop recycling paves the way for virtually limitless innovations. With technology advancing exponentially, we already have the means to convert garbage into mind-boggling products like fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles or moth-eaten garments turned into paper.
Cost Savings for Business
The 1989 California waste reduction and recycling law (AB 939) was a game-changer. It forced California businesses to look at industrial waste as something more than just garbage in a dumpster. Many organizations discovered they could convert what was essentially a write-off, into something worth hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.
Each year, commercial enterprises and industries in California spend billions on waste disposal. An increasing number of smart businesses are looking to reduce expenses by intensifying in-house recycling methods, waste reduction and composting.
Savings for Public
In the past, people primarily relied on landfills to handle the disposal of huge volumes of waste. The responsibility and costs of waste management were borne by local governments. Consequently, local officials tend to view garbage and its disposal as a liability, rather than an economic opportunity it is.
However, with success stories emerging every day, they are starting to recognize the tremendous potential it holds for economic development, as well as the environmental benefits. An integrated waste management system can lower costs and create new jobs, which will lead to higher revenue from taxes.
Pollution, global warming, heavy deforestation, toxic waste and more – all these consequences of human activity are becoming increasingly apparent. Human and environmental health hazards threaten this planet and its inhabitants. Reducing waste and reusing materials through recycling helps to reduce pollution, and energy consumption, and conserve natural resources.
Dumping garbage and burying it in landfills has a severely negative impact, ranging from toxins leaching into the soil and groundwater, to landfill gas migration and even when the landfill is closed, the garbage will still remain.
If you wish to begin your recycling business on the right foot, then the Compactor Management Company has the right solutions for you. We offer a wide range of quality recycling equipment like compactors, balers, and shredders, to help you get a headstart on your recycling business. Get in touch with us to explore your options today!
Compactor Management Company (former Northern California Compactors, Inc.) offers installation and support services for waste recycling equipment such as waste compactors, balers, shredders & conveyor systems. Established in 1981, it offers waste management solutions across the United States.