25 Recycling Business Ideas You Can Start Today [2024]

Updated: July 24th, 2023

Are you interested in starting a recycling business in 2024, but you are not sure which one to start?

Recycling business ideas focus on turning waste into wealth by converting what is not needed today into usable products.

The growing awareness and desire to build a greener planet have created opportunities for those interested in owning recycling businesses.

Today, recycling business ideas turn out to be the most creative and lucrative business with high returns potential.

In this post, we put together 25 of the best recycling business ideas you can start in today.

Here's the full list:

1. Sell used appliances

The global second-hand appliances market is flourishing rapidly due to the rise in the income of lower-class consumers. Further, the global market for second-hand appliances is anticipated to achieve a Y-O-Y growth rate of 7.45% in the next few years.

With the growing need for appliances rising, starting a used appliances business can be a way to earn extra cash or even a side hustle.

To get started, target the areas with a growing population or middle-income areas where consumers choose to save money on appliances by opting for gently used or refurbished appliances. Then, register your used appliances business and create a business plan.

Find an ideal location and complement it with an online presence.

You may purchase used appliances from the used appliances stores, social media sales pages, auctions, estate sales, and auction websites such as eBay.

2. Become a computer refurbisher

Computer refurbishing is the process of restoring used computers to working conditions. Refurbishers typically purchase used computers from individuals or businesses, and then they clean them up, install new parts, and test them to make sure they are in good working condition.

To start this business, you'll need skills in data recovery, hardware repair, and software troubleshooting. It is a perfect idea for those who have an interest in technology and a knack for repairing electronics.

The average Computer Repair Technician in the US makes $51,129. The salaries of Computer Repair Technicians range from $19,892 to $74,573, with a median salary of $55,440.

With the ever-growing popularity of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, there is a great demand for refurbished computers. And with data science and data analytics, you can easily identify which computers are in high demand and how to best refurbish them.

Starting this type of business is a great idea for those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for technology. If you can navigate the regulations, this can be a lucrative business with a lot of growth potential.

How much you can make: $13,500,000/month

How long does it take to build: 45 days (?)

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OWC started OWC (Other World Computing, Inc.) over 35 years ago
OWC grew the business to $13.5M/month
It cost OWC $20000 to start the business
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3. Start a paper recycling business

According to statistics, the demand for recycled paper is increasing at a CAGR of more than 7% in developing counties.
The high machinery cost and inefficient collection of waste paper are reasons behind the growing demand.

As a result, the primary focus of the local paper recyclers is the establishment of proper collection and segregation systems to facilitate waste paper collection. Therefore, starting a paper recycling business can be profitable.

How much you can make: $16,000/month

How long does it take to build: 100 days (?)

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Yuki started Bagitan Packaging over 15 years ago
Yuki grew the business to $16K/month
It cost Yuki $200000 to start the business
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4. Start a waste recycling business

If you have a passion for saving the planet and going green, starting a waste recycling business may be the right route for you to take. Waste recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be trashed and processing them into new products.

Starting a waste recycling business is not only profitable, but it can also benefit the community and the environment. To start a waste recycling business, research the industry and determine the costs involved. Then, register the business and equip your waste recycling facility.

How much you can make: $230,000 — $37,000,000/month

How long does it take to build: 90 days (?)

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Dustin started SOCO Waste about 7 years ago
Dustin grew the business to $230K/month
It cost Dustin $150000 to start the business
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5. Start an aluminum recycling business

Aluminum recycling is the process through which scrap aluminum can be reused in products after its initial production. Aluminum is used in many products, including cans, foils, kitchen utensils, window frames, and building materials.

To start an aluminum recycling business, create a company plan, get a trade license, and register your business. You then need to set up a facility where you will collect the aluminum waste, melt and transform it into new products.

6. Start a glass recycling business

Glass recycling involves washing, crushing, and melting used glass before molding it back into bottles, jars, or other items. Starting a glass recycling business can be rewarding.

However, starting a new business can be capital intensive. Therefore, you may opt to get into a franchise with a prominent industry leader.

When you think of starting a glass recycling business, choose a specialty and estimate the costs involved in starting the business. Source financing and research the market to determine which focus could be more profitable.

7. Start an online recycled renovation products business

Thousands of properties are demolished every year. Many of these properties have items that can be reused. They can include items such as hardwood flooring, bathroom fixtures, door, and windows.

These valuable items can be advertised and sold online. An online recycled renovation products business lists these items and earns commissions from every sale. To start an online recycled renovation product, create a business website where owners of these items can list and connect with potential buyers.

8. Start a mattress recycling business

According to statistics, the US disposes of over 18 million mattresses annually. However, only a small percentage of these waste mattresses are delivered to recycling facilities. If you are interested in starting a recycling business, focusing on mattress recycling can be a great opportunity. You can source the waste mattresses through different suppliers, including:

  • Municipal waste management and recycling programs
  • Institutions across the country
  • Hotels and other hospitality businesses
  • Mattress manufacturers
  • Individual households
  • Charity programs that generate unusable mattresses

Starting a mattress recycling business requires a warehouse facility where you can keep the waste mattresses. You also need a forklift, industrial baler, wood grinding equipment, and other mattress handling equipment.

9. Start a pallet recycling business

Recycling used pallets can be an excellent self-employment opportunity to generate a primary or supplementary income. Pallet recycling businesses make money by picking up unwanted pallets and selling them to transporters, warehouses, or other businesses that use pallets.

Like other recycling businesses, starting a pallet recycling facility serves the environment by reducing the amount of waste dropped off in landfills.

Getting going in the pallet recycling business is as easy as finding used pallets, recycling them, and selling them. Alternatively, you can become a used pallet collector and sell them to a pallet recycling facility near you.

How much you can make: $30,000/month

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10. Start a plastic recycling business

Plastic recycling involves recovering scrap or waste plastics and turning them into usable products in radically different forms. Recycling plastics has been around for decades and has been touted as a profitable business.

According to a study, one person uses about 30 kilograms of plastic annually. This results in over 900 million tons of plastic annually. However, only 9% of plastic is recycled, with 79% disposed to landfills and 12% burned.

To start a plastic recycling business, conduct comprehensive market research focusing on the plastic recyclers' functions and objectives to understand the industry better. You can visit several plastic recycling facilities and meet industry advisers to get answers to your questions.

Your market research should focus on the following aspects:

  • Outline the prerequisites for a plastic waste recycling company
  • Investigate the overall investment needed to set up a plastic recycling business
  • Determine whether a factory or land is required
  • Sources of plastic waste
  • Determine the equipment and utilities needed to start a plastic recycling business
  • Evaluate the profit margin in plastic recycling and the return on investment

Once you have enough information based on the above areas of focus, register a business, identify the location and obtain the trading license.

11. Start a textile recycling business

Textile recycling involves the process of material recovery and reuse of old fabric from clothes or upholsteries. The recycled material is then processed to form useful products.

Textile waste can be classified into post-consumer waste and post-industry waste. The post-consumer wastes are those unneeded materials discarded from households, while post-industry wastes are generated as byproducts of apparel or home furnishing industries.

To start a textile recycling business, you will need to factor in the space required: You can rent or lease enough space for clothing intake and sorting. Also, to ensure enough supply of unwanted textiles, you can introduce textile drop-boxes and put them strategically in your neighborhood.

Register your business and apply for the license and permits.

12. Start a tire recycling business

Tire recycling involves converting scrap tires that cannot be used any longer and turning them into other products such as tire pyrolysis oil, rubber products, or fuel.

The global tire recycling market will grow at a CAGR of 3.5%, reaching over $7 billion in the next few years. Production of more vehicles is a major factor contributing to the growth of the tire recycling business.

To start the tire recycling business, research the market and select a niche. A variety of businesses buy and utilize recycled tires. Others utilize products from recycled tires. Select a specialization and stick with it to help you stand out from the competition.

Establish your tire recycling plant funding and acquire the necessary licenses and permits. Invest in modern tire recycling machinery.

13. Start a food waste recycling business

Food waste can be used for composting to enrich the soil. Also, food waste recycling reduces landfill volume in any given area, a practice that saves cities and homesteads money by lowering the need for trash collection. Ideas for food waste recycling business include:

  • Starting an organic fertilizer company
  • Commercial worm farm
  • Bio-fuel production company
  • Recycling food waste into animal feed

To launch your food waste recycling business, determine the focus line and register your business. Also, you will need licensing and permits to start trading. Ensure you have met all the licensing and legal requirements and purchase appropriate equipment/machinery for your business.

14. Start a wine bottle recycling business

America alone consumes a large number of wines daily. Given the wine consumption rate, many wine bottles are disposed of daily. The unclear part is where these wine bottles go.

Starting a wine bottle recycling business can be profitable. If you think about it, wine bottles are glass materials. Usually, glass can be recycled and used to create different items.

To start a wine bottle recycling business, register your business and apply for licenses and permits. You will need a collection point where people drop off the used wine bottles. Then, arrange to transport these wine bottles to your recycling facility.

15. Start a battery recycling business

The battery recycling business reprocesses spent lithium-ion batteries into new cells. The procedure aims to reduce the number of batteries disposed of as municipal solid waste by separating them and reusing them to create new cells.

The global market for battery recycling is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 7.12% to reach $18 billion in the next few years.

Therefore, starting own direct battery recycling business can be profitable. Direct battery recycling is said to be cleaner and more efficient. To start your battery recycling business, write a business plan that indicates your old-battery collection approach.

Then, register the business with the states where you intend to operate. Finally, determine the type of batteries you want to recycle and identify the target market.

16. Start a scrap metal recycling business

When the metal products we use every day come to an end of life, we either discard them or recycle them into useful products without loss of quality. Therefore, starting a metal recycling business can be profitable.

A full-service metal recycling business accepts large quantities of scrap from small scrap yards and the municipal collection points, breaks them down and prepares them for shipment to a manufacturer.

To start a metal recycling business, you need extensive acreage, machinery, and hardworking staff to help you collect and process scrap metal. Recycled metal materials can be used to produce construction supplies such as nails, screws, iron, or other metallic supplies for the construction industry.

17. Start a pvc recycling business

Polyvinyl Chloride is a synthetic plastic polymer used globally for various requirements. Also known as PVC, it is a durable element in plastic and hence highly reliable.

Just like other plastic, unused PVC can be recycled into usable products.

PVC recycling has become a very common business because it offers a great price for recycled products.

Therefore, since there are abundant PVC waste materials from the building and construction industries, you can start setting up the business easily and earn a good profit from recycling PVC.

If you have decided to start a PVC recycling business, create a detailed business plan and register your business.

18. Start an e-waste recycling business

E-waste refers to electronic products nearing the end of their useful life. They include computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, and other electronics used in our homes of businesses.

Recycling e-waste is reusing and reprocessing electrical and electronic equipment that has been discarded or regarded as obsolete. Initiated to protect human and environmental health, e-waste recycling has become one of the most profitable recycling opportunities.

To start an e-waste recycling business, research and gather more information on the E-waste recycling industry.

Then, identify the electronic wastes available to you that can be recycled. Create a business plan, and acquire all necessary permits and licenses before launching your business.

19. Start a recycling farm waste business

Farm waste is produced as a result of various agricultural operations. The farm waste can include manure, harvest waste, fertilizer from fields, pesticides, etc.

Recycled farm waste can be turned into energy, fertilizer, molecules, and other materials that benefit economic and environmental sustainability.

20. Start a water recycling business

The water recycling business, often called water reclamation, claims water from various sources, treats it, and reuses it for beneficial purposes. Industries that benefit from water recycling include:

  • Farming and agriculture
  • Fish processors
  • Abattoirs and meat processing plants
  • Soft drink manufacturers, brewers, and distillers
  • Dairy operators

Removing contaminants from water and recycling it to create usable water can be a profitable venture. To start the water recycling business, register your business and apply for licenses/permits. Then, research the market, and understand how water recycling operates. Then, set up the plant and start recycling waste water appropriately.

21. Start a composting business

How much you can make: $6,500/month

How long does it take to build: 600 days (?)

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Audrey started Worm Bucket about 2 years ago
Audrey grew the business to $6.5K/month
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22. Start a wood recycling business

23. Start a tone cartridge recycling business

24. Start a junkyard furniture creations business

25. Start a kitchen utensils recycling business

meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.