Tips To Start A Successful Plastic Recycling Business

Plastics are one of the most useful everyday commodity. However, improper management of plastics can lead to serious environmental degradation. Hence, one of the effective ways of preventing this pollution is through plastic recycling.

Therefore, plastic recycling is an effective way to save the environment and still make money while doing that. Whichever that is your aim of recycling plastics, you will never regret doing that, though there are some challenges that can hinder you from joining the business.

Waste disposal management is one the challenges most developing and underdeveloped country suffer. Materials made from plastic are part of our every day consumables and litters everywhere if not properly managed. For example, go to some places like Abia, Nigeria, you see nylons, waste bags, plastic cans and so many other plastic materials littering everywhere.

However, this scenario  can be tagged,”the diamond in the dump” because that dump of plastic materials can turn to potential money making machine for you.

Ways to benefit from plastic recycling

When talking about plastic recycling business, it has different channels of distribution and at each level is an attached profit. Meaning, everybody must not a own a company before one starts a waste recycling business. In other words, if you are not financially buoyant, there are other ways you can make money from plastic recycling business.

Owning a Plastic recycling plant

This part of earning money through waste recycling is the toughest but the most lucrative. However, it requires a good business plan and feasibility study. Also, all the factors of labor is needed to get it started including; labor, land, capital and even machines.

Nevertheless, a good market feasibility studies for owning a waste recycling plant is different depending on the area, but the steps are similar. That being said, you have to do the following analysis before concluding on starting the waste management business.

Requirements for starting a plastic recycling plant

  • Government policy on waste disposal in your state.
  • Determine the Form of Business organization the company will be.
  • The legal right for owning such business including Business registration and tax

Read also: How to Register a business in Nigeria

  • Total cost of setting up the business including the cost of getting the raw materials
  • Factors with regard to land and location of the business including cost, nearness to raw materials e.t.c.
  • The cost of other factors of production such as Labor, Utilities and the Plastic recycling machine.
  • Method of collection of plastic wastes, source and the type of plastic to recycle.
  • Market for the intended product.
  • What are the requirements for Plastic Waste Recycle Business
  • Total investment required in setting up of recycling plant
  • Requirement of Land or Factory
  • Requirement of utilities and machines
  • Collection of plastic waste
  • What type of plastic waste will you recycle
  • Your market after recycle
  • Profit margin in plastic recycling
  • Return on Investment

Notwithstanding, owning a plastic recycling plant is not one of those business that requires a small capital for start up. The cost of having and installing a reliable plastic recycling machine is around $90,000 to $100,000 i.e almost 35 million naira plus other costs mentioned above. 1

So, If you check your capital and see that is not enough to start to recycle plastics as a company, you can consider other methods of earning.

As a waste plastic Vendor

A plastic vendor is one who deals with supply of plastic materials to a company for recycling. This set of business people are more common than recycling companies. Some pick the materials themselves and supply to the company while others act as a Business to Business (B2B) agent.

The beauty of this type is that you don’t need much capital to start, what you just need is a gathering ground and a weighing machine. Usually, most companies buy this materials at the average price of 50 naira per kg. Therefore, the success of the business depends on the quantity you are able to gather – i.e 1 ton(1000 kg) is sold at #50,000.

Types of plastic recycling materials

Different types of plastic materials are generated daily as waste at homes, offices, schools and market everyday. However, the type of plastic waste you will look out for depends on the type of company and what they produce. Some of the plastic materials includes;

  • Polyamides (PA) or (nylons)
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Polyester (PES)
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Polypropylene (PP)

The Polyethylene is the commonly recycled and includes;

  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

Water Satchets Recycling

satchet water bags

The water satchets popularly known as pure water satchets in Nigeria is made from High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and the commonest plastic material in Nigeria. HDPE are relatively safe and does not leach into the food material or drink. Hence, the demand for this product is high since most plastic containers from packaging food is from this substance. Also, other products like motor oil, shampoos and conditioners, soap bottles, detergents, and bleaches are packaged with HDPE.

Recently, a lady from Abuja, Nigeria by name Bashir Kurfi has discovered way to recycle water satchet bags to produce interlocking tiles. In her words, she said, “the outstanding thing about these tiles is that they can stay in the soil for a long time without degrading”. Therefore, there many other potentials still undiscovered about recycling these wastes causing pollution in most streets of Nigeria.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) products

This is another material that is very common when it comes to plastics and recycling. This most common of these products are PET bottles and Jars which are used for the packaging of soft drinks and other consumables. Hence, the demand is high since bottle waters, bottles cokes e.t.c make up high percentage of the daily used plastic wastes.

Therefore, the 3Rs works well with the PET bottles. It means, its either they are Reused, Reduced or Recycled. In that regards, being a vendor of these containers is always lucrative and with so much potentials.

Steps in waste plastic recycling

The plastic recycling has few and simple steps, these steps depends on the scope of operation of the company. The full plastic recycling process is as follows;

Gathering plastic wastes

The bulk of the work in the recycling process is at this stage. However, most companies buy from vendors  who also have their means of collecting the wastes.

Meanwhile, there are so many methods of waste plastic collection, it can be from event centers, at waste dumps, or possessing a special truck for the purpose.

Transportation to site

When planning to venture into the business as a vendor or owner of a plastic plant, logistics and transportation should be one of the vital factors to consider. Actually, these waste products can be very bulky moving them from site of collection to where they are sorted and compressed.

Washing and Sorting

The next phase in the process is to sort the wanted materials from other types of plastic and dirt. Then, the chosen ones and washed with a machine or proper hand washing with good detergent.

Cutting and compression

After the sorting and the washing, the next step is to reduce the size of the plastic through cutting, compression or grinding. The grounded plastic materials are they packaged to be fed to the machine for melting and recycling.

Production of pellets

The materials fed to the machine is melted at high temperatures and cooled in moulds to form different shapes of plastics.


Plastic recycling business still has many opportunities especially in developing countries such as Nigeria where waste management is poor and plastic materials litter everywhere. Consequently, the waste recycling business is a way to save our dear environment while making money at the same time.

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