Start your waste recycling business

The necessary knowledge

It is important to know the different types of recycling to specialize in a particular field. There are three recycling techniques: chemical, mechanical and organic.

  • Chemical” recycling uses a chemical reaction to treat the waste, for example to separate certain components.
  • Mechanical” recycling is the processing of waste using a machine, for example to grind or separate waste.
  • Organic” recycling is the production of fertilizer or fuel such as biogas.

To start a recycling business (collection, marketing and transformation of plastic waste into ecological paving stones for example), it is necessary to have a good knowledge of the legal framework in the country where you wish to develop your business. Moreover, this activity requires collection, sorting and recycling techniques. It is also necessary to have knowledge of the local and international market trends.

How to learn?

Recycling is an activity that requires special treatment and precautions. There are two options: learn and innovate from what is currently available or take a training course in recycling specific materials or waste.
However, some online sites such as Bellomar Learning offer training in the field for a fairly small amount of money. The duration is four weeks with ongoing guidance from trainers in the field. In addition, the learner has the opportunity to be accompanied in the implementation of his project over a period of one full year.

How much does it take to get started?

According to experts who have tested the activity, a maximum investment of 1000 dollars (about 600,000 FCFA) is required if one intends to produce plastic paving stones, and a maximum of 500 dollars if one just wants to collect and market plastic waste in a formal way.

What material or equipment?

The basic equipment includes personal protective equipment, steel tanks, a heat source, molds, compactors, and a spade.

Where to get supplies?

In Africa, many entrepreneurs in the sector source their waste directly from waste dumps. Plastic waste can be found in households, waterways, and markets. It is also possible to negotiate with companies or with the structure in charge of hygiene and sanitation. For the material, you can buy it from hardware stores and boilermakers.

How to find customers?

In the case of the marketing of plastic waste, the customers are generally the companies of recycling, of regeneration of plastic waste and private individuals who practice of the agriculture above ground in urban environment.
The clientele for ecological paving stones is made up of contractors in the field of construction and real estate developers.

At what point/volume do you become profitable?

The pavers are sold in cubic meters of 26 to 33 pavers. The cubic meter costs 4500 FCFA [about 6.5 euros]. They can go up to 25,000 FCFA [about 38 euros] depending on the quality. The activity starts to become profitable from 4000 paving stones produced and 3 tons of plastic waste collected. However, taking into account equipment, variable costs, and labor, the activity can be profitable after 2 years.

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