In case you haven’t noticed, America’s gone green – the mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” has become one that the majority of us are now living by. With the realization that the Earth’s resources are running out, many new measures have been developed to get the most out of every tree chopped down, piece of coal dug up, and plastic bag spun from ancient petroleum fibers. And for those savvy in the ways of the marketplace, there is a pretty penny to be made in the recycling trade. This article will give you some tips on setting up a recycling business in your area – whether it be a side venture for a little extra cash or a whole new way of life, one man’s trash can be your treasure.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the recycling business is a bulk enterprise. Most materials are priced by the ton, and you’ll need to sell them in those amounts. So you’re going to need a vehicle that can transport these materials to the recycling station. This job is primarily acting as a middleman – collecting recyclables from individuals, combining them into a saleable package, and garnering the profits. The essential cost that you will be contributing is time and vehicle maintenance.
There are a number of materials that can be recycled, and they vary in terms of price and weight. The least profitable substance, by weight, is paper – newsprint and low-quality paper (which will be the majority of what you collect) will only net you $50 for two thousand pounds – barely worth the time it will take you to bale, store, and drive it over. Higher-grade paper sells for more money, but is harder to come by. Most recycling specialists have, in the past, chosen to focus on glass, plastic and aluminum, but with the recent rise in self-service recycling machines that pay out a deposit for returned bottles, it is no longer as easy to collect them in quantity.
One of the fastest-growing segments in the recycling market is used electronics and batteries. Tens of thousands of cell phones and batteries are discarded every day, and the raw materials contained within them are worth a pretty penny. However, not many facilities exist for recycling these components, which makes it a good opportunity for a local new business. One of the most cost-effective ways to get started is to ask local businesses and community organizations for permission to put drop boxes in for customers to throw used phones. A regular collection route will quickly build up your stock, which you will then send to a recycler and pocket the money in return.
One downside to the recycling business is the constant fluctuation in the cost of materials – the prices for paper, glass, plastic and other recyclables can vary greatly from day to day, and what may seem like a windfall at first can turn into pennies in a week. The most important thing in running your own recycling business is to keep costs as low as possible, so the market’s variance won’t eat up all your profits. Any way you can find to cut costs will reflect itself in your bottom line.
The wonder of the recycling business is that you are really getting something for nothing – you’re not paying a single cent for materials. Not only are you doing something for the Earth, you’re making bank too.