If you are thinking that recycling plastic is a myth, then you are wrong. Top companies like Coca-Cola, Unilever, PepsiCo, Nestle, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble have promised that they will start using recycled plastic and that their packaging will consist of 100% material that is compostable or recyclable by 2025 or 2030.
Recycling plastic is taken as an essential task to help mother earth. The process will help in the reduction of the usage of plastic and will make us more sensitive to ecology.
“Homo sapiens have proven to be ecological serial killers for thousands of years,” wrote Yuval Noah Harari in his widely discussed book, ‘Sapiens: A brief history of humankind.’ But let us try to figure out how we can fight back and regain our image as ecological nurturers by knowing how to start the plastic recycling business. To get started, we ought to understand what plastic is.
Understanding Plastic Recycling
Plastic is not a biodegradable substance, but unlike the biodegradable substance, the decomposing can be possible by natural means. Plastic is a polymer that seems to be dangerous from yesteryears. If we talk about developed countries, then they are generating more plastic waste per person.
In 2018 around 359 million metric tons of plastic production took place all over the world. The primary use of plastics is in the production of varied merchandise and other items like bottles, polybags, tubs, grocery bags, drinking straws, fruit and vegetable packages, wire insulation, trash bags, food storage bags, squeeze bags, etc. Plastic replaced other materials like wood, metal, and glass.
Imagine if the plastic production goes through a process of four steps, i.e. the procurement of the raw material, a basic polymer synthesis, the polymer is then compounded into a usable fraction and finally, the plastic is moulded or shaped into, then there should be a process of getting it recycled systematically.
Following is the procedure of starting the plastic recycling business:
1. Observe and Find Out
Doing research is very important because it helps you keep track of who produces more plastic and who produces less. It helps you understand the flow of plastic usage. When you know a particular company uses a certain amount of plastic, you know the customers who would use the plastic and how the plastic will decompose.
What you need thereafter is to procure that plastic and then get it recycled. But then how will you get to that plastic is the best part of the game. Again, you need to research and be ready to reach out to the prospective users and collect the plastic waste either in segregation or otherwise.
The research will also help you set your aim, objectives, and a plan to win the game. It will assist you in selecting a location best suited to reach your potential customers and users.
2. Set Your Aim and Objectives
One must be clear with the aim and the objectives of the recycling project. If you are not focused on your aim, you will lose the battle. So it is best to set the aim and focus on the objectives. How will you set the aim and the objectives? Think about, what is the necessity of you being in this business of recycling.
It will lead you to topics like, you want to get rid of the plastic around you, you want to reduce the usage of plastic, and you want to reuse the plastic that is already produced.
Some experts say that “We are the part of the generation that has the chance to save the world.” And if you are focused on your aim, you will do your bit to save the world. Belief in one’s vision will help transcend hurdles.
To changing something in this world, progress always needs changes but the good ones. By your work of starting the plastic recycling business, you will be entering into that phase of change where everyone will be against you, but you shouldn’t give up because progress depends on your change.
3. What Do You Need to Get There?
It is not easy as it sounds, but it gets easy if planned scientifically and professionally. One must be ready with essentials to support the endeavour. Write down the requirements for the business of plastic recycling. You will need prominent investors to rope in with you for this venture. If not investors, you ought to have some finance with you so that you invest yourself.
What else do you need? You will need a suitable place to start a venture. You will need a factory equipped with the right machinery. You will have to as per your research understand the geography of the place you are going to set the factory because that would determine the inflow of the waste plastic to be recycled. That brings me to the next requirement, i.e. the waste plastic to be recycled.
After plastic recycling, it needs an excellent distribution that should reuses so one must check for prospective clientele to purchase the recycled plastic. Even this clientele should be reachable to you so you can spend less or accordingly.
4. Search for a Suitable Location and Get the License
Why is the location of prime importance? It is because it is to this place you will get the material, i.e. the waste plastic, and then get it recycled and sell it to the patrons. The location, therefore, is of prime importance as it should be accessible and affordable for the waste plastic to be delivered and recycled plastic to be purchased.
The location thus ought to be stationed fully equipped with a sufficient amount of storage space. The factory should then be analytically organised into the storage space for the waste plastic and the storage space for the recycled plastic.
It requires taking the necessary license from the government or the authorities so as to avoid conflict at the later stages. Proper license and permission will help avoid trouble if any in the future. Protocols of licensing the factory must need to follow. The business will employ workers, and their labor should pay accordingly.
It should be made explicit in the license and the document of the business. The factory will run best if they take good care of labor. The labourer’s distribution needs to do with facilities they would need to have a suitable livelihood. A smiling and happy labourer will fetch you the best of the outcome at the end.
5. Equip Yourself with Best Machinery
This is very vital to the business as it is from this the outcome will take place. If you have the best machinery, you will have the best result. There are machines available in the United States which requires the sorted plastic to be into these machines and then they will chop it up and melt it down to pellets. After this stage, the melted plastic or recycled plastic can be a good thing to use and to make different plastic items.
The problem that the machine would face given these modern times is the fillers and dyes that are present in the plastics. But the above-quoted machine can without causing any damage to segregate the fillers and cheaply assort the added dyes. You can follow the design guide for recyclability for further guidance in this regard.
Machinery is the heart of this recycling business. For sorting the plastics, a machine can be a good option because the waste plastic would make the task difficult. The sorting would then make it easy to melt or recycle the plastic in a later stage. Equipping one with the updated technology and machinery is time saving and makes the work lighter.
6. Plan to Win
In a bid to get the land and the factory in place because of the financial difficulty and other risks that you will encounter, you are sure to find yourself questioning, why did I get into this venture? But no matter what, you should have the motivation and the will to overcome your hitches and go to any extent to seek out the land and figure out the installation of the factory.
After having fixed your factory, you would need to set your utilities in place to make it big. Electricity is of the utmost importance when it comes to running an electronic venture. See whether you have a perfect supply of the electricity along with a standby generator or inverter to support you in case of power cut and shutdown.
The other vital requirement at this juncture would be a proper water supply. Check for absolutely perfect water supply. Complimenting these utilities, you will have to get set with other required machines, tools, furniture, etc.
7. Risks Involved and How to Overcome Them
What I always believe is to be on the top of the game we ought to look out for the risks involved and how we can get rid of tackling them. We need to wear the black hat as Edward Be Bono in his book, ‘Six Thinking Hats’ narrates to us. Black hat is mandatory when we decide on exercising the plan we have conceptualised. It will give us the idea of the contingency plan we will have to chalk out.
The risks could be:
- The lack of raw materials that actually essential for recycling.
- Lack of waste plastic itself.
- The machines or technology, maybe not as expected.
- You do not have potential customers for the recycled material.
- The factory is far from the probable customer.
- The company is not able to meet the standards of environmental policy.
- The recycled plastic can be an excellent option to produce commodities, and these commodities do not have a market.
One must be optimistic and ready to wear a blue hat after wearing the black hat because the blue hat would try to look out for resources from the green hat because the green hat looks for options and ways to overcome these problems with great expertise. The blue hat has the vision to take the assistance and suggestions from different experts to go forward.
If there is a problem, there should be a solution to the problem. None of the problems is absolute and is here to stay forever. The risks will come up only if you take risks. And these risks will help you grow stronger in your business.
8. Advertise the Good Work
After putting all the effort, what is required is the spread of the good work. Every effort should be there to advertise the plastic recycling business. While creating the advertisement for this business one must reiterate to oneself the purpose of starting the business. When one is clear with the purpose, the reach of the business will be far and wide undoubtedly.
All the principles of advertising put together must be able to tell the companies and individual people and convince them of the need to recycle the plastic and how it can help in the long run.
Advertisements on the newspapers, radio, television, and most importantly on all social media platforms would help the spread of the word. The unique selling proposition of the business should need to convey through the products and recycled plastic. There should be a customer help service line that can help and maintain good rapport with the customers.
In conclusion, as the work riches to many ears, you are sure to see your business scale high. There will be ups and downs in the beginning, but the focus and the will to learn will take one ahead unto the path of progress. After having set the business, it is important to set the legacy and create history at every step.
It is necessary to be a nurturer and an inexhaustible student at every stage during the setup and the working of the business. Do not panic about the criticism and backlashes that may come your way, accept, and work on them.