We live in a world that is increasingly eco-conscious and green businesses are where you should be looking to build. One way to do so would be to create a recycling business using a small investment. This hopes to give you a guide on how to do just that.
Table of Contents
.Decide Area of Interest
The first step is to decide on what your recycling business is going to be. So many people think recycling and immediately go to paper and plastic or glass recycling. However, there are a few areas you can look at for a recycling business:
- General Recycling
- Collecting Scrap Metal
- Refilling Toner Cartridges
- Reselling Clothing
- Reselling Furniture
- Reselling Technology
Each of these is a form of recycling with their own challenges and areas of focus. Some may require a bit more skill than others or being willing to learn as you grow. Look at what is available in the area and make decisions based on that and local need.
It could be a case that while there’s recycling at home the ability to recycle while out in public is pretty non-existent. In that case it might be worth looking into doing a general recycling business. Make sure to do research in advance and communicate with local councils and governing bodies to make sure you won’t be treading on anyone’s toes. “If this is the way you choose to go one of the best ways to get business is to place bins in public areas for people to use. You then collect items deposited and can sell to scrap yards or larger recyclers in order to make a profit” says Katerina Kelly, a business writer at UK Writings.
Collecting Scrap Metal
If you are going to do this, you are going to need a way to transport the scrap you collect. As such you will need to invest immediately in a pickup truck or similar car alongside and net and tie downs. For the collecting of the scrap, you will also need gloves, safety shoes and other protective equipment alongside a set of basic tools. You then need to see where you can collect the scrap metal, for example people doing home renovations or junk yards. Make sure you get permission from the right people and then you can sell these off to larger recyclers. There is a large amount of manual labour involved in this job and if you can’t do this then this is not the business for you.
Refilling Toner Cartridges
Most of us have home printers that we use fairly regularly and it’s always an awkward moment when you run out of ink and need to replace the cartridges. If you have the skills or the willingness to learn, offering toner ink refilling is a great way to provide a service that even gives you an advantage over most retailers’ new toner cartridges. Refills can be offered at half the price of a new cartridge and still make a profit. To do this you will need knowledge of how to refill cartridges, tools to do the job and transportation to get to your customers. You’d be surprised how much business this can generate with the right advertising.
Thrifting is basically modern-day treasure hunting. With people being more conscious about where fashion comes from and fast fashion, we’re seeing a trend of people looking for quality second hand clothes that will last. The basic equipment and skill you need to for this is an eye for a bargain, potential haggling skills, and laundry skills and equipment. Once you buy a second-hand item you will at least need to ensure its laundered appropriately to remove any potential staining or musty smells that it may have attracted. However if you’re skilled in sewing or willing to pick up the skill you may find an advantage in this market by being able to repair superficial faults in clothing or even tailoring older clothing to a more modern fit.
Electronics are the bane of the householder when it comes to recycling as many of us don’t know the appropriate way to dispose of them. If you have some knowledge and skill with computer hardware you can take apart hardware to get sellable parts, refurbish older equipment to make it ready for sale or simply fix computers for people. If it’s a completely useless case, then you can also charge to properly dispose of the technology reducing the amount of products that end up in the dump
There are a million YouTube Channels, TV Shows and Instagram accounts that show you how to upcycle furniture and it’s a business worth looking into if you have the skill or ability to learn. Whether it’s re-upholstering chairs, adding a coat of paint to brighten a piece of furniture or completely changing a bit of furniture there is an area of expertise suited for you. So many of us would love to see that chair our grandad sat in fixed up so it can go to a good home rather than become skip fodder. That table where you’ve played games with your kids while they grew can be gussied up and become a place of memories for a new family. It also makes use of the stability and build of some of these older furniture pieces. Just make sure it’s not an antique that’s actually worth a fortune before you break out the pale blue paint and sandpaper.
Develop a Business Strategy
Once you have an area of business you wish to focus on the next step is to look at developing an effective business strategy. You need to assess how much money you will need to put into the business, any commercial renovations you need to rent and any employee salaries you’ll need to pay. The best way to do this is to create a business plan that shows the key areas you need to consider and your plans going forward.
A business plan should include:
- The Company’s Goals – The ultimate aim of your company and what you are wanting to achieve. You may also want to include milestones that you hope to meet
- Details on your target market – A look at who you are wanting to sell your services to and any data you have on this demographic
- Unique aspects of your Business – The reason why people should choose you
- Competitors – An overview of the market and potential competitors
- Marketing – Details on how you are going to sell your services and how it ties into your core target market
- Potential Risks – A look at what risks could be posed to your company and how you will mitigate them
- Basic Start-up Accounting – Estimated accounts for your first year including predicted profits as well as data about how you came to these numbers
This is a great help to make sure you’ve covered all your basis but is also great for later sales pitches when trying to expand your business or gain investments. The best part of this is you can set out exactly how much you need to invest yourself at the start so there’s no unexpected costs that happen when you’re just starting off. You can also use it to get a small business loan, if necessary. Banks love to see that you’ve done the work in advance.
Look into the Legalities
Look at the laws and regulations you need to follow where you are and make sure you are a licensed business. It usually only takes about 5-10 minutes to register as a sole trader and gives you a bit of legitimacy upfront. If there are any certifications or licences you require, make sure you have them and that they are all completed correctly. The worst thing for a new business is to make a simple error and end up breaking regulation.
Keep decent accounts of your business, if you are working for yourself you are going to have to do your own tax return. Having everything detailed makes things so much easier and is helpful if you end up the target of a random audit.
In general, know what the rules are in your area and make sure you’ve spoken to all the appropriate legal bodies before you get started to avoid awkward encounters down the line.
Find a Space to make a Base
While it’s possible to work from home in some of these areas, you still need to dedicate a space to work and to hold any relevant equipment. As you grow you may want to rent a bigger space but to begin with you need to ensure you have a place that customers feel comfortable approaching depending on your business and space to do the work you need to do. This is particularly the case for reselling businesses where you can be at home to work but still need space for everything from renovation work to taking pictures for selling.
It’s worth looking at small, shared office spaces to rent if you can. Especially as it gives a clear break between work and home life. Even if it’s not every day, working from a dedicated workspace can help you focus if you need to do the boring parts of the business.
Invest in Marketing
You can have the greatest business in the world but if you aren’t marketing it to the right people in the right way then you will never see the return on your investment. Flyers and larger advertising can be beneficial for most of these businesses. Especially when placed in the right area. Don’t underestimate digital marketing, however. If you’re running a reselling business or a tech recycling business, then you are likely to want to invest in a website and use digital marketing that links back to it in order to encourage people to explore your services. Don’t skimp out on budget here, make sure you invest enough to get a decent return in the form of more clients.
.Look for Opportunities to Expand
When you start to get up and running you will likely not see any real progress for a while, and you need to be realistic about your profits and losses. But once you have a steady business with secure returns then it might be worth looking at ways you can expand your business. This could be the obvious of hiring employees to help with extra workload or renting a larger space to work from. However, it could also be expanding the range of products you offer or taking time to improve your skills. For example, if you are running a clothing reselling business that’s fairly successful purely with buying, laundering and selling the clothing then it might be worth looking to invest in sewing lessons and equipment to offer a more tailored experience or some customisation options. You also want to keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening and invest in repairing or updating any equipment that you use. Early on you may have bought cheap equipment that hasn’t lasted, now is the time to actually invest in better equipment and maintenance.
Overall, starting a new business no matter what does involve some investment of money, time and effort. A recycling business is no different and is an option that most people may overlook given some misconceptions about what they can and cannot do. Whether it’s doing some basic recycling collection, collecting scrap or starting a reselling business there are lots of options for people looking to begin a recycling business. With a turn towards eco-friendly business, you will automatically gain some brownie points, but you need to take the time to evaluate what you can do. Create a business plan to keep you on track, do research into the legalities and invest in marketing to begin with and watch as your business begins to grow. However, stay realistic and don’t expect the impossible. It is very likely you won’t see a massive ROI right away and it could take years for you to actually turn a profit. In the end, make sure to do something you find fulfilling and rewarding to keep you going.