Recycling is a practice that has been in existence for a very long time and the industry has also proven to be lucrative over the years.
Many years ago, recyclers were seen as scavengers who wasted their time searching through heaps of waste looking for recyclable materials. But the game has changed a whole lot now.
Also, unlike before, when recyclers were focused on metals alone, the popularization of PET(Polyethylene Terephthalate) has widened the recycling industry. It has increased the chances of getting materials recycled, and it has also increased profit. Apart from batteries, tires, plastic, and not to mention but a few, others have joined in the fray. People no longer ignore or dispose of these materials. They now gather them for direct recycling or to be sold to people who would then recycle them. Hence the success of the recycling business.
What is a recycling business?
Recycling is a type of business in which people profit by converting unusable waste materials into usable ones and selling them to other people. The recycling business is seen as lucrative because, unlike most businesses that require one to buy materials at a particular price and sell them at a price higher than what they were bought for, it does not necessarily require one to buy waste materials to recycle. Most recycled materials are usually for free or from waste dumps before they are recycled.
What is a Plastic Recycling Business?
A plastic recycling business is a type of recycling business in which people get waste plastic materials, convert them into usable materials, and sell them for profit. Instead of collecting used plastic materials and disposing of them at landfills, plastic recycling entrepreneurs collect plastics and recycle them for profit.
Some Other Types of Recycling Businesses
Aside from the plastic recycling business, there are other lucrative recycling businesses in which people thrive. Some of them include
- Computer Recycling Business: Since computers are made up of metals and other materials that, when disposed of, can cause harm to human health, some people have taken it upon themselves to recycle these computers and make a living from selling them. From monitors to keyboards, hard disks, motherboards, disk drives, and not to mention but a few, there are a lot of computer parts that can be recycled or repaired for sale.
- Paper Recycling Business: This type of recycling business involves gathering waste papers and recycling them into usable materials for sale. Although not every waste paper is fit for recycling, the fit ones are usually taken to companies where their inks are bleached and then recycled to produce usable materials like tissue paper, among other things.
- Aluminum Recycling Business: considered as one of the most popular and lucrative recycling businesses today, the aluminum recycling business involves melting and converting used and disposed aluminum materials into cans and bottles that can be resold to companies for use.
According to research, the amount of aluminum recycled every year worldwide is worth over $800 million.
Other types of recycling include textile recycling, cartridge refilling, glass recycling, tire recycling, mattress recycling, food waste recycling, battery recycling, furniture recycling, etc.
Stages of the Plastic Recycling Business in Nigeria
They say information is key in everything, so before you venture into the plastic recycling business, it is advisable to be cognizant of the steps involved. Here are the basic steps involved in the business of plastic recycling in Nigeria;
- The Stage of Collection: The collection stage is at the start of the plastic recycling business in Nigeria. Also known as the hardest part of plastic recycling, the collection stage requires one to either go out in the open or employ people to go out in the open to source and gather disposed plastic materials.
From dumpsites in schools to the ones in offices, churches, communities, and even events, there are a lot of places you can source waste plastic materials from.
If you decide to go out and gather waste plastic materials yourself, you won’t have to worry about getting capital to start your plastic recycling business. However, if you want to hire people to gather these materials for you, you must set aside money to be used as capital.
- The Sorting Stage: Next is the sorting stage, which requires one to sort out the waste plastic materials and place them into their different categories. Colored waste plastic materials, for example, cannot be mixed with the ones with plain colors. This is why sorting is important.
Like the collection stage, if you choose to do the sorting yourself, you don’t need to bother raising capital, but if you choose to pay people to do the sorting for you, you’ll have to worry about raising capital.
The sorting stage is regarded as the most important stage of the plastic recycling business in Nigeria and, as such, if you are employing people to do the sorting for you, it is advisable to employ people who have knowledge of sorting and can pay attention to details.
Another thing you should know about the sorting stage is that, with enough capital, you can skip the stage of collection. Instead of going out to source waste plastic materials, you can simply buy from people who go around picking them for a living. Most of these people sell their waste plastic materials at a particular price per kilogram, so you can easily negotiate and agree on a price that would favor you.
- The Processing Stage: Last but not least is the processing stage. At this stage, the waste plastic materials are converted into materials that can be used again. Most plastic recycling businessmen do not have industries where these plastic materials can be recycled. What they do is sell to industries that are in the business of recycling. So, after you have collected waste plastic materials and sorted them out, you can now sell them in large quantities to industries where they will be recycled.
On the other hand, if you are financially buoyant, you can decide to recycle the waste plastic materials yourself and sell the usable products to companies that would need them in their production process. All you have to do is get recycling machines, hire laborers, and buy waste plastic materials from people who sell them wholesale.
Starting Your Plastic Recycling Business in Nigeria
Now that you have an idea of the stages involved in the plastic recycling business in Nigeria, how then can you start one of your own?
- Pick a Niche: There are a lot of plastic materials in Nigeria that can be recycled into materials. You shouldn’t make the mistake of being a jack of all trades and master of none. From plastic chairs and tables to plastic buckets, and plastic bottles and not to mention but a few, there are different types of waste plastic materials out there from which you can choose.
You can decide to focus on polyethylene terephthalate(PET) as a niche since it is one of Nigeria’s most popular and lucrative niches in the plastic recycling business today. They include water bottles and bottles used for soft drinks, among others. Some end products of this polyethylene terephthalate include plastic bottles, car bumpers, furniture, bags, jackets, etc.
- Choose a source or sources: Waste plastic does not just sit around waiting for people to come to pick it up. You have to go out to look for them or pay people to do it for you. If you are paying people to gather waste plastic materials for you, then you don’t have to bother about the source since most of these plastic gatherers already know where waste plastic can be gotten from. If you want to gather the waste plastic yourself, you need a source or sources. Similar to what has been mentioned in this article already, some of these sources include restaurants, schools, events, dumpsites, e.t.c.
- Begin selling/processing: You’ve decided on the type of waste plastic you want to collect, and you have a source or people you can buy from. The next thing is to start selling them to recycling industries or processing them yourself.
If you intend to sell the waste plastic to recycling industries, you need to have a personal depot where you can store them until they are large enough to be sold to these industries. You also need a means of transportation to transport them to the recycling industries.
Also, if you intend to run your own recycling company, you must plan for laborers to go out and collect discarded plastic materials for you; machines to recycle the plastic materials, and laborers to operate the machines and do other jobs in the company.
In conclusion, the plastic recycling business is a very lucrative business to venture into in Nigeria. You can succeed and make a lot of money from it provided you follow the steps, which include picking a niche and a reliable source or sources before selling or processing.