An average of 258 million tons of material is recycled in the USA every year. You could make your contribution to this huge sector to save the planet earth from dangerous landfills. Recycle is the mantra.
My landlord in Denver was a Harvard law graduate practising as an advocate. But he told me how he collected cans in his childhood to recycle.
I am not sure if his mother was poor back then or he did it just to support his expenses but I really appreciated his being so frank and industrious from the beginning.
We have all heard about young kids become successful entrepreneurs collecting plastic bottles etc. at a young age.
Why don’t we look at what steps are necessary for starting such a business with minimum capital startup to save the ecosystem at the same time making tons of money for yourself?
Recycling business is growing into a huge industry collecting millions of tons of plastic waste from the oceans too.
It has become highly important to save our planet earth from avoiding dangerous plastic going into landfills to remain there for thousands of years.
One important branch in recycling business is recycling pickup business. In this business you will pickup recyclable materials from shops, malls, restaurants, etc.
Steps involved in starting a recycling pickup business are as follows:-
#1. Begin with market research
Let us begin with a market research to see if you have any competition in your neighbourhood.
Look around if you have any recycling companies around you emptying the bins already.
If there is none, you could begin by contacting the local Restaurants and Businesses. They may be willing to cooperate with you to let you collect their plastic bottles and cans etc.
Find a place away from any competitor as you may not find much to collect if there is someone collecting trash which is recyclable already set up.
#2. Set your budget
Would you like to start up small with a minimum investment of $10000 to rent a junk yard and become the man with a van to go and collect the bottles and cans etc from your neighbourhood?
You could get as many employees as you like to collect the trash including cardboard and waste paper etc.
They can be freelancers to sell the rubbish they collect at a reasonable price.
Later you could go on reinvesting into the business to make improvements and set up subsidiary companies to recycle your trash yourself to earn more money.
Invest more if you have the experience and if you are confident of repayment of any loans you can get.
You could set up a huge junk yard turning cars to metal when they are too old. Remove batteries and any reusable parts etc to be sold apart for a good profit before compressing the cars under hammer.
#3. Get a vehicle
Buy a truck if you can afford it or get it on instalments.
You will need it to go around and collect the trash from local restaurants and businesses if you can make an arrangement with them.
They will be happy to get rid of their garbage without having to wait for the city to fine them for too much garbage above collection limits.
#4. Register your business and get required license
Choose a pretty name for your recycling pickup business like eco related and register with your business address to get approval from the City.
You will need to get clearance from the health dept if they will allow you to set up such a business at the address you propose to start it.
You will get a tax number so you can pay your taxes regularly.
They will make sure you’re not close to schools and residential buildings who would complain about the smell and diseases etc if you don’t keep it clean.
Bottles and cans are not going to be a pretty sight.
They could smell bad with leftover sugary drinks in them causing an unhealthy atmosphere full of insects and bacteria.
Watch out for health hazards with proper washing the yard and recycled materials where it is necessary and possible.
You could create employment through your recycling company. So be prepared for facing complaints from the neighbourhood residents.
You will need special permits to start compressing junk cars etc. Make sure they were not stolen from someone or you could get into trouble.
#5. Setup small office space or dump yard
You will need an office with a weighing machine to weigh the metal scrap or even cardboard and waste paper.
You will need to issue receipts and keep records of your purchases and sales.
Rent a small junkyard to be bought later preferably away from the residential neighborhood.
They might have an office building or construct one with recycled materials.
#6. Contact recycling companies
You must know what to do with the junk you have collected.
Get help from local yellow pages directory to see who will buy your collection of bottles etc. at competitive prices.
You can call them up and select the one that suits you not too far from your junkyard.
There are e-waste recycling companies as far as China who will pay a good price for discarded laptops and tablets etc.
You can find them through advertising on social media online.
#7. Create a door to door waste/garbage pickup plan
Contact your neighbourhood residents through flyers or phone calls to see who will let you collect their trash that is recyclable.
Once they have agreed on terms, you could go to pick up the trash with your garbage bags etc.to save time in future.
Your truck can bring you your trash cum treasure to be converted into cash.
#8. Contact local vendors/shops for pickups
Local shops and vendors will let you pick up recyclable cardboard and waste paper along with any metallic scrap which they may sell to you for a price. But you will be able to get much more for copper or aluminium scrap. Iron also can be melted and reused.
Set up a bin there to collect the waste which will help them and you will be able to pick up the material for recycling without wasting your time when you go there through regular arrangements.
#9. Create a website and advertise your business
Global awareness is created through a website and you will be able to recycle far and wide using the internet.
E waste is sent across to countries like China who will pay a good price for discarded laptops and mobiles by recycling them.
I saw a friend from Sri Lanka in Italy who had opened up some laptops and tablets to see why they were not functioning whereas Americans would not bother about them.
He could get help through a website to repair them.
#10. Grow your business to the next level
Always keep thinking about how to grow your recycling pickup business to the next level.
You will always find a way of reaching out far and wide and new ways of recycling plastic into oil for example if you have the capacity to set up a subsidiary company.
Plastic can be easily melted using machines or even manually to be moulded into bricks or new usable products.
Bottles are cut into fine yarn to make shiny clothes and shoes. Adidas has started recycling plastic waste into shoes already.
You could also use it to asphalt your floors in your factory or roads junk yard with plastic tiles which are also used for roofs.
Beautiful playgrounds can be designed using recycled plastic to make swings and slides etc.for children.
All the cardboard and paper you collect can be converted into new sheets or paper plates and cups after converting it into a pulp just by soaking into.
Many artists have used paper pulp to be moulded into beautiful statues of Buddha etc to earn a lot of money.
Glass can be melted in a furnace and remoulded into glass top of tables or just plain glass sheets.
Metal sheets created new have many uses like aluminium scrap can be turned into pots and pans or even doors and windows for office cabins.
Copper utensils are preferred to coat the outer layers of steel vessels to make them look pretty and it is heated quickly to save your fuel.
Iron reused for building purposes turning it into stairs and rods for pillars etc.
Outdoor grills and barbecues can also be designed using recycled iron.
Wood can be recycled by restoring artistic cots and doors etc. Or it can be turned into sawdust compressed into plywood sheets or dry walls.
Clothes can be resold if they are in good shape and just missing a button or a little repair by employing an alteration tailor.
Old clothes can be turned into pretty doormats.
Look for ideas on youtube videos how to recycle old clothes.
Always think of giving a new shape to the global technology by adding your ideas to the world of science.
Please let us know if you like our ideas here and start a recycling business inspired by this article.