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How To Start a Recycling Business


Starting a recycling business can be a great way to make money while helping the environment. 

Here are the 10 steps you can take to get started on building your very own recycling business.


10 Steps to Launching a New Recycling Business

1. Choose Your Type of Recycling Business

The first step in launching a recycling business is to identify the type of recycling business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:

  • Construction and demolition recycling
  • Electronic waste recycling
  • Household hazardous waste recycling
  • Industrial recycling
  • Municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling


2. Name Your Recycling Business

Give your recycling business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your recycling business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.

The main goal for naming your recycling business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential customers will be more likely to use your services.


3. Determine Your Recycling Business Model

There are several possible types of business models for a recycling business including:

  1. Manufacturer
  2. Distributor
  3. Collector
  4. Processor
  5. Retailer or reseller

No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.

Read more about choosing the right business model for your recycling business.


4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business

By incorporating your recycling business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.

The business structure you choose for your recycling business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.

Read our article comparing the most common recycling business structures.


5. Write a Recycling Business Plan

All recycling business owners should develop a business plan. 

A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.

When developing your recycling business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:

  1. What services do you offer?
  2. What types of recyclable materials do you accept?
  3. Do I need to separate my recyclables before I bring them to you?
  4. How much do you charge for your services?
  5. Are there any restrictions on what I can recycle through your business?

Answering these questions in your business plan will give you a good foundation for developing marketing materials and attracting customers.

Read our article about how to write a recycling business plan.


6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses

There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your recycling business.

For example, if you plan to handle hazardous waste, you will need to register with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

You must also register your recycling business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.

Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.

Read our article about obtaining the proper recycling business licenses.


7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed

In developing your recycling business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.

If you have your own funds to invest in your recycling business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your recycling business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.

Read our article about the costs associated with starting a recycling business to help you determine if funding is needed. 

Read our article about how to fund your recycling business


8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently

When you start your recycling business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues. 

You may also want to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track leads and customers, as well as a recycling software program that can help you manage the logistics of your business.

Other types of technology you may need include barcode scanners and printers, shipping scales, and label makers. You should also have a website for your recycling business so customers can find you online and learn more about your services.


9. Market Your Recycling Business to Potential Customers

Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.

After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the recycling industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business. 

You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Recycling businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:

  1. Develop a strong branding identity that resonates with customers.
  2. Create informative and interesting blog content about recycling that potential customers will want to read.
  3. Develop helpful recycling tips for consumers on your website and social media pages.
  4. Produce marketing materials (brochures, fact sheets, case studies, flyers, and website banner ads) that explain the benefits of your recycling services.
  5. Develop relationships with local media outlets so they will feature your business in articles and news segments.
  6. Sponsor community events or host your own recycling events to raise awareness about your business.
  7. Give presentations to local organizations about the benefits of recycling.
  8. Run ads in local publications that target people interested in recycling.

Read our article about how to market your recycling business for more tips.


10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business

When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers

Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your recycling business.

Read our article about how to effectively grow your recycling business to learn more.


Starting a Recycling Business FAQs

There are many reasons to start a recycling business. Not only is it a great way to help the environment, but it’s also a profitable business venture. The industry is growing at a rapid pace, and there’s a lot of potential for growth.

Plus, there are several options such as single-stream recycling, which makes it easier for customers to recycle. And with more and more people becoming interested in green living, the demand for recycling services will continue to grow.

To start a successful recycling business, you need to have a clear understanding of the industry and what it takes to succeed. You also need to have a strong marketing strategy and be able to generate interest from potential customers. Additionally, you need to have the right technology and systems in place so you can operate efficiently and effectively.

Starting a recycling business from home is a great way to get started with low overhead costs. Plus, you can use your home as a base of operations until you’re ready to expand.

To start, establish a home office and workspace. Then, set up a system for collecting and sorting materials. Once you have a system in place, start promoting your business to potential customers. You can also use social media and online marketing to reach a wider audience.

Starting a recycling business online is a great way to reach a wider audience and generate interest in your services. To start, you need to establish an online presence with a website and social media pages. Your website should allow customers to book and pay for your services online. 

Then, start creating content that will educate potential customers about recycling and the benefits of using your services. Additionally, use online advertising and search engine optimization.

Here are some tips for starting a recycling business:

  1. Research the market. 
  2. Develop a marketing strategy.
  3. Use technology to your advantage.
  4. Train your employees properly.
  5. Focus on customer service.
  6. Continuously market your business.
  7. Offer Pickup and Delivery
  8. Offer Discounts
  9. Get involved in the community.
  10. Focus on growth.

A simple checklist to use when starting a recycling business is as follows:

  1. Choose Your Type of Recycling Firm: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
  2. Name Your Recycling Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
  3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
  4. Determine Your Recycling Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
  5. Write a Recycling Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
  6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
  7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
  8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
  9. Market Your Recycling Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need. 
  10. Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services



Starting a recycling business can be a great way to make a difference in your community and help the environment. It’s important to research the market and plan carefully before starting out, but with the right tools and resources you can be on your way to success. Follow these tips to get started and continue marketing your business so that more people can learn about the benefits of recycling.