Nine Tips To Start A Recycling Business

Today, our world is at a point where everyone knows the importance of going green. Our earth is getting warmer day by day, and one of the ways to stop things from getting even worse is by reducing pollution.

Of all ideas that might pop up inside your head, a recycling business will always be on the top of the list. Most of them require little money and have high returns. However, you must have prior knowledge of how to collect waste, where to locate your business, and where to dispose or sell materials.

That said, the recycling industry offers numerous opportunities for individuals looking to start small with minimum investment. You only need to find out a few discarded materials that are recyclable and resellable.

A successful recycling business will allow you to play your part in helping the environment. Still, it is an enormous undertaking, and you’ll be facing some serious competition. By making a plan of action, acquiring financing, understanding legal requirements, and utilizing your business sense, your recycling business will be up and running in no time. Here are a few basics you need to consider when trying to start a recycling business of your own.

Discover your niche

The recycling industry is highly competitive. And you can expect to face stiff competition from large, established recycling businesses. If you want to be profitable, you need to offer services that are in high demand. Most counties and towns are now offering recycling services for items like plastic and paper. Hence, you might be better off focusing on materials that people cannot dispose of quickly.

Market research is critical here! Analyzing both qualitative and quantitative information to facilitate your research can be cumbersome. But not if you consult someone with a masters in IT or possess one yourself. You have to investigate already existing recycling businesses in your locality, where you can sell your materials, and how much money you can make.,  You can collect materials like glass and paper and sell them to processing plants, or you can gather and resell household items like appliances and furniture. Or collect e-waste such as broken electronics and remove reusable components from them. Keep in mind that the recycling market is exceptionally volatile, and rates of materials can change quickly.

Create a business plan

All the research you conduct to plan your recycling business comes together in the form of a business plan. It is s formal document that will outline how you will run and grow your business. A business plan enables anybody to stay on track moving forward. It will also allow potential investors to know about your recycling business’s viability.

Your business plan should contain the following;

  • Your Goals
  • The services and products you’ll offer
  • How you’ll manage and structure your business
  • How you will process recyclables
  • Your business’s unique points
  • The money you expect to make
  • How you plan to market your recycling business

Allocate a budget

The amount of cash you require to launch a recycling business depends on the type of operation you plan to run. At a bare minimum, you will need to allocate some money for permits and licensing. Suppose you are quitting your job to start your business. In that case, you’ll also need some cash to pay for daily expenses until your business starts bringing in profits.

Other expenses might include storage for recyclables, employee wages, machinery, money to purchase recyclables, transportation for recyclables, etc. It is essential to calculate all your potential costs and plan a budget smartly to avoid any shortfalls.

Acquire financing

Once you know the amount of capital you’ll need to start, you have to figure out how to acquire it. If you want to borrow the money, you can contact the SBA as it is an excellent resource for startups. You can also check out the EPA’s job through the recycling program to see if they can offer you some financial assistance. You might also be able to acquire a loan from your state. For instance, the state of Florida provides loans at reduced rates to business owners who can increase the state’s recycling capabilities.

Register your business

In order to operate your recycling business in the USA, you have to register it with the IRS to acquire an EIN (Employee Identification Number). You will utilize this EIN to pay taxes and open up a business bank account. Application is relatively easy as it merely requires you to visit the IRS’s website and fill out an application form.

Acquire a license and permit

Besides registering your recycling business with the IRS, state registration is also a requirement if you want to obtain a license to operate your business legally. Different states have different legal requirements. However, a quick search will help you find your state’s website and complete an online application. If you cannot find an application on the internet, contact your state’s office to obtain a hard copy of the document.

After you acquire a license, it doesn’t mean your work is done. Every state has its permits for particular business types. The rights you would want to obtain depends on the kind of materials you want to recycle. If your business handles hazardous chemicals, for instance, mercury, you need to comply with your state’s environmental protection laws. Furthermore, some require that you report all recovered materials to the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection).

Find a space to run business operations

If you need a place to process, store, and sell materials, you will need to lease or purchase a property. Suppose you are only collecting material and selling them to a processing facility directly. In that case, you can get away by storing them inside a garage, as long as they aren’t hazardous.

However, if you plan on buying a physical property, you’ll have to zone and maintain it appropriately for your recycling business. Call your city’s building department or zoning commission to acquire more information about any zoning restrictions.

Hire employees

Your employee needs will entirely depend on your business scope and type. If you plan to run a reselling store, you will have to hire employees to assist customers with loading items and run a register. If you gather recyclables, you will have to hire drivers. If you are processing materials, you will need to hire staff to operate processing equipment. Furthermore, you would want to onboard staff to help with accounting,marketing, and numerous other business functions.

Market your recycling business

For your business to reach your target audience, you will have to spread the word using adverts, business cards flyers, or even online marketing. When marketing your business, you need to share with your customers – who will most likely be other businesses – the value you intend to provide them.

If you are reselling items, always remember that most of the customers you will have will support the green movement. Some might only be looking to buy used products at a lower price. So, market your recycling business accordingly. It is necessary to conduct market research and identify different target markets. That way, you can design a unique marketing campaign for each group of potential customers, either B2B or B2C.


When starting a recycling business, you must first research the recycling industry to know if your business is feasible to generate good profits. Depending on the materials you want to recycle, you should develop a business plan accordingly and review your competition. Such information will let you know if the business idea you have can turn into a fully-fledged recycling business.

Written by Crystal Rae

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