Steps to Starting a Recycling Business

Milan Djordjevich
3 min readMar 17, 2022

Venturing into the recycling business can be rewarding. It can serve as a substantial means to sustain yourself and your family as well as help the environment. However, starting a recycling business goes further beyond stationing refuse bins around your environment and collecting the recyclables. It involves a lot of work, understanding, and commitment to start and be successful.

Before commencing a recycling startup, you have to conduct in-depth research on the industry because recycling has become very competitive in recent years. This is because of its profitability and government aid due to its essential role in fighting climate change.

You should know other companies nearby and the type of waste they recycle. Established businesses have a huge advantage as they already have sources for waste and a customer base for their products. Many recycling companies focus on plastics, glass, or paper. Still, the list of recyclables extends to many other things like batteries, clothing, scrap metal, tires, wood, steel, food wastes, ink cartridges, and electronic gadgets like computers, phones, and home appliances.

You can focus on one of these areas instead of competing with already established companies. However, suppose you must recycle similar products with competitors; you have to extend your research to know how much they sell to distributors and determine how to cut your own prices in a way that it’ll remain profitable.

In addition, you have to make a business plan that’ll help you stay on track in the course of the business. These plans include the company’s goal, its structure and management, business models, expected returns, among other things.

After doing your research, you need to budget the amount of money that’ll suffice to start the business. Your budget depends on the type of operation you decide to run. The startup’s size matters a lot, as you may need many employees. Essential expenses to include in the budget are licensing and permit, recycle bins, warehouse cost, vehicles, machinery for processing recyclables, and the cost of buying recyclables.

Further, you need to find viable means to secure the funds. You must understand that these expenses mentioned above may lead to a huge capital requirement which you may not be able to provide on your own; consider other viable options for capital. You can source loans from banks or other financial institutions. An alternative is to make the business a partnership by inviting other people, preferably friends, to join you.

Government aid can also go a long way in helping. As already mentioned, recycling businesses enjoy a lot of incentives from the government and environmental agencies due to their role in helping to save the planet. These incentives include particular loans and grants that can help you cover high costs like facility, staff, transportation, equipment, electricity, and other things.

Next, you must register and license your business. You can register it as a Limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, or corporation. The choice of a legal structure depends on the size and scope of the business. As a new startup without abundant capital, it is best to register it as a sole proprietorship due to its lower tax rates.

Also, you would need a competent lawyer at this stage who knows how to handle the paperwork to avoid any legal setbacks in the future. The lawyer must be experienced in registering recycling businesses with or similar ones. You also need to obtain your licenses by registering with the Inland Revenue Service (IRS) and your state.

Lastly, you need to get a facility, buy the required equipment and hire employees. Your facility must be large enough to accommodate you, your employees, equipment, offices, and also enough space for easy movement. You need equipment like baler, crusher, containers, shredders, forklifts, and scales. In addition, there’s the need to hire competent people who can diligently do their job.

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Milan Djordjevich
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Springfield Mo. Sales Leader Milan Djordjevich