Starting a Recycling Business with a Minimal Investment

Low cost ideas for recycling entrepreneurs.

The waste and recycling industry offers a number of opportunities for someone looking to start a small business with a modest level of investment. The premise of the idea is very simple: you need to find one or more waste materials that are being discarded but can easily be reused, resold or recycled. Here are some brief overviews of recycling business ideas that can be started with minimum investment.

1
Be a Recyclables Collector by Placing Recycling Bins

Rick LeBlanc, licensed to About.com

If you think the number of recycling bins in your locality is insufficient or there are no such bins placed, you can buy some recycling bins or make a few and put them in the commercial and residential areas. One example of such an approach is that of Ripple Glass, which places glass bottle drop-off bins. In addition to bottles, clothing bins are another popular variation of this theme. 

Plan the location of your bins strategically, in locations where you will get the right type of traffic in regard to the number of people looking to deposit the types of items or materials you hope to collect.  You can pick the recyclables from the bins, sort the material, and when you have a bulk amount, sell them to scrap yard or larger recyclers. But make sure you take permission from local authorities or property owners before placing bins. Unauthorized bin placement can cause ill will that may paint your company in a negative light. Also, take care to maintain good housekeeping at the bin location. Do not let bins overfill and spill onto the ground. 

2
Buy Used Items from Yard Sales and Sell

David Sacks, Getty Images

The idea is simple; you buy underpriced items and resell them at closer to market value, to generate a profit. Any number of valuable items might be severely underpriced by homeowners, ranging from collectible art, antiques, scrap metal, retro fashions or furniture, old audio equipment or more. It is a good idea to become an expert at the value of goods in a few categories. If you are looking for something specialized, it is a good idea to contact yard sale organizers beforehand to see if they will be selling the type of product you are looking to buy.

3
Toner Cartridge Recycling from Home

Toner or Ink cartridges used in printers, fax machines, and photocopiers can easily be recycled by just replenishing the ink supply, and provide the opportunity for a small scale business. All you need to have is toner ink refilling skills, necessary tools to do the job and transportation. You can have a great competitive advantage over regular brand new toner cartridge retailers because you can offer the customers at almost half the price.

4
Scrap Metal Collector

If you are looking to start a small business, you can find plenty of options focusing only on scrap metal collection and sales. The start-up cost can start from as low as $2,000 and you can gradually expand your business as well. Basically, you will need a pickup truck or utility trailer, net and tie-downs, as well as basic tools and personal protective equipment such as gloves and safety shoes. Scrap metal can be picked up from homeowners, renovation projects, and other sources. 

More Low Investment Recycling Business Ideas to Folow

More low investment recycling business ideas follow in Part 2.