Recycling is not just an effort towards waste management but a smart way to turn waste into wealth. Across the globe, tons of waste materials have always found their way to legal and illegal refuse dumps, gutters and landfills. But since the world realized that supposed waste materials can be recycled and reused, several businesses have evolved in the waste recycling industry.
As of 2017, the global waste recycling industry was valued at USD265 billion, with expected growth to over USD370 billion by 2024. Today, there are countless business opportunities in the industry for investors to venture into.
Since that the waste recycling industry is capital-intensive, there are many low-investment recycling business ideas within the capital capacity of young entrepreneurs and small business owners. If you want to start and grow a successful recycling business. here are 25+ lucrative recycling business ideas you can start in Nigeria. Africa, or anywhere around the world:
1). Paper Recycling Business:
Paper remains one of the most commonly used materials across the world. In Nigeria, they are one of the most essential resources used in schools, the print media, secretariats and offices. Sadly, most of the papers used are either burnt or sent to refuse dumps after years of lying waste on shelves.
To start sourcing waste paper for recycling. you need to target the right institutions and regularly collect their waste papers for a small payment from you. You can collect the papers and sell them to recycling companies or purchase the required recycling equipment and do the recycling yourself.
2). E-Waste Recycling Business:
E-waste or electronic waste refers to wastes like electronics, mobile gadgets, plastics from electronics, mercury waste, metals, TV sets, computers, air conditioners, calculators, photocopiers and much more.
When unmanaged, the material used to make these electronic appliances contribute to the damage done to the planet. On the contrary, recycling these materials helps to conserve resources, and this can be a highly lucrative business. After registering your business, you can employ staff to see to the handling, sorting and shredding process.
3). Used Oil Recycling Business:
It is true that oil can be recycled even though most people are not aware of it. More so, you can collect used oil and refine it into new oil for sale. A major challenge facing the used oil recycling business, however, is that a lot of vehicle and machine owners do not properly remove oil from their vehicles or machines, thereby leading to wastage.
To start a used oil recycling business in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world, it is key to set up proper collection mechanisms at places where oil is used. Target areas include automobile repair shops, workshops and related sites.
4). Scrap Metal Collection Business:
Scrap metal collection is a common recycling business idea in Nigeria. Notwithstanding, there is no market competition among existing companies in the sector. In Nigeria, what most people in the scrap metal business industry do is contract the services of strong youths who can scout the towns for quality scrap metal.
Once you’ve secured a scrapyard, you need to invest in equipment like pickup trucks, hammers, scales, balers, axes, and much more. After that, network with trusted buyers who are willing to offer awesome rates for your metals.
5). Rubber Recycling Business:
Rubber recycling involves collecting waste rubber products such as tyres for recycling into tyres or other rubber materials. The business of rubber recycling generates a lot of revenue globally. Countries such as the USA, Sweden, Germany and France currently generate a lot of money from recycling waste rubber.
With the massive volume of tyres lying waste along the streets or piled endlessly at repair shops, Nigeria has enough waste tyres for recycling.
Entrepreneurs of all ages can venture into the rubber recycling business. Although it is capital-intensive, it is a highly lucrative recycling business idea in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world.
6). Battery Recycling Business:
As of 2022, with only one lead battery recycling plant, Nigeria recycles only 13% of used batteries in the country. This is a far cry from expectations given the number of batteries lying waste in repair shops, waste dumps and residential areas.
Hence, starting a battery recycling business puts you in a favourable position in the recycling industry, given that there is very little competition at the moment. You can target areas such as electronics repair shops, auto repair shops and mobile phone repair shops.
7). Textile Waste Recycling Business:
A lucrative recycling business idea in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world is the textile recycling business. Old worn-out textiles can be repurposed to supply the fashion industry with raw materials for production. Textile waste recycling is not limited to old clothes only; shoes, bags, bedsheets, pillowcases, duvets, curtains, tablecloths, and so on.
Collecting textiles is not as demanding as other recycled wastes. You can put up an ad asking people to donate their waste textiles or bring them in exchange for cash tokens.
8). Glass Recycling Business:
Glass waste includes bottles, discarded bottles, beakers, mirrors, glass cups and other kitchen utensils, among others. Collecting these materials requires care but they can be easily sourced and even gotten for free in many cases. Supply lines for waste glass materials include junkyards, residential areas and recycling plants.
Discarded glasses are often broken, so it is important to invest in safety kits for your collectors and those involved in the sorting process.
9). Aluminum Can Recycling Business:
Aluminium cans make up a large part of municipal solid waste in most parts of Nigeria and Africa, particularly in towns and cities. The use of cans by bottling companies has increased the demand for cans. When aluminium cans are not properly collected and recycled, they cause a lot of environmental damage because they can’t be destroyed by burning.
This lucrative recycling business idea in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world is a highly environmentally friendly business with a lot of collection sources. Landfills, refuse dumps and restaurants are some of the areas where aluminium cans can be found and collected.
10). Garbage Or Solid Waste Recycling Business:
Solid waste is a broad term used to describe all forms of discarded materials generated from domestic, industrial and animal activities. The municipal waste industry is a rather broad one with a lot of sub-sectors which are also lucrative recycling business ideas.
Depending on your intended scale of operation, the garbage recycling business requires average to high capital. If you cannot afford a recycling plant of your own, you could as well focus on waste collection and sell to bigger recycling companies in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world.
11). Furniture Recycling Business:
Furniture recycling is a less common recycling business but is highly lucrative. It involves recycling old furniture such as wooden and metal chairs, tables, desks, doors, drawers and shelves, among others.
After recycling, both home and industrial furniture can be used for the production of new items. However, the new item produced depends on the material of the recycled furniture in question. As a furniture collector, your role is to scout, collect and sll waste furniture to a recycling plant.
12). Mattress Recycling Business:
Mattress recycling is another viable recycling business idea with a lot of prospects in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The business of mattress recycling is not restricted to mattresses alone; it also involves every other material in bedding. Some mattresses contain heavy textiles, springs, latex, and much more. And all of these materials can be recycled for use again.
Recycling mattresses is capital-intensive, especially because it involves a lot of recycling processes and advanced machinery.
13). Kitchen Utensils Recycling Business:
Starting a kitchen utensils recycling business can be a highly rewarding business in the recycling industry in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world. Old kitchen utensils such as pans, pots, spoons, etc. can all be recycled for the production of similar or distinct materials.
Since most kitchen utensils last for years before they need a replacement, discarded ones are somewhat difficult to find. Hence, it is important to set up an effective collection system.
14). Computer Recycling Business:
Discarded computers are parts of e-wastes, but because computers come with a lot of useful components that can be recycled, an entrepreneur can focus on the computer recycling business alone and still make a lot of profits from it in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world.
All parts of the computer can be recycled into valuable materials. If you can network with the right computer waste sources like repair shops, junkyards, refuse dumps, and much more, you will be able to get sufficient computer waste.
15). Bottle Recycling Business:
Similarly, bottle recycling is a component of the glass recycling business. This recycling business, however, focuses on used bottles. Bottles become useless mostly after their contents have been used or after they get chipped or broken.
Collecting bottles for recycling is an easy yet lucrative recycling business idea. The effort lies in scouting and storing the bottles. It is a business you can start with little capital.
16). PVC Recycling Business:
PVC is a type of plastic used mainly for building ceilings and small demarcation walls. It is used mainly for its decorative appeal and can be recycled to produce other plastic items through the process of pyrolysis and chemical heating.
Starting this recycling business in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world requires sufficient capital to procure the required machinery for processing into reusable materials. In the same vein, you can start by simply collecting waste PVC and distributing it to larger recycling companies within and outside the country.
17). Oil Spill Cleaning Business:
Oil spillage is a major concern in oil-producing areas in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Oil spills are common in riverine areas and creeks as well as large water bodies, and they are often a result of improper handling or recycling of oil. This business idea is highly related to the recycling industry and it is a lucrative enterprise, even though it requires high capital.
18). Water Recycling Business:
Although over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, it is not entirely potable or available for use by humans. This makes it extremely important to recycle used water. Water recycling involves treating used water in order to reuse it.
There are several methods for recycling water, ranging from chemical to mechanical methods. You can start with any of the trusted methods within your means and supply to farmers for irrigation as well as companies in the industrial sector for substantial profits in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world.
19). Food Waste Recycling Business:
Food waste can be recycled and deployed for use in several ways. After recycling, food waste can be used in the production of biogas for electricity. Recycling food also saves the environment from air pollution generated by waste food on landfills.
Collecting food waste requires special care and safety measures because food substances are quick to decay and they emit harmful bacteria. In essence, to start this business, you need to invest in the right tools for collection.
20). Sawdust Recycling Business:
Sawdust is a material gotten from wood and can be recycled for different uses. Besides making fire, sawdust is used for making bedding, poultry feeds and for filling wood holes. They are cheap materials and can be easily sourced from sawmills.
You don’t exactly need high capital to start this lucrative recycling business idea. In as much as you get a source where you can get regular supply and you invest in a few equipments for processing, you’re good to go.
21). Recycling Trucks Rental Business:
Most recycling businesses involve heavy or large-scale materials which require trucks for conveyance. Scrap metal, paper, e-waste, computer waste, and more, all need trucks. Whereas most recycling business owners prefer to buy their own trucks, small startups in the business who cannot afford trucks yet, prefer to rent them. This creates a business opportunity in the truck rental business in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world. You can lease small pickup trucks to recycling businesses daily and make cool cash from it.
22). Open A Recycling Plant:
Although most recycling businesses require a large recycling plant, not all business owners have the capacity to get a site of their own and furnish it with the needed equipment and machinery. Hence, they prefer to work with or rent a space in an existing recycling plant.
If you start a recycling plant, you can choose your recyclables and process them yourself. At the same time, you can earn money from small-scale waste collectors who need a recycling plant to sort and arrange their collections for sale in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world.
23). Recycling Equipment Retail Business:
Both collection and recycling of waste materials require tools and machinery for basic operation. Waste collectors need small trucks, hooks, sacks and safety kits such as boots, gloves, nose masks, and more. On the other hand, recycling waste requires different machinery, depending on the recyclables in question.
Starting a recycling equipment retail business is a way to make money in the recycling industry. Plus, it is a simple recycling business idea that anyone in Nigeria or Africa at large can venture into with average capital.
24). Cardboard Recycling Business:
If you’re into paper recycling, it is possible to collect cardboard with other paper types and recycle them accordingly. Otherwise, you can as well focus on the cardboard collection and recycling business. This recycling business idea can be lucrative and can be done anywhere in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world.
However, it is important to invest in equipment such as pulping machines and shredders, among others. Waste cardboard is commonly found in schools, secretariats and private offices.
25). Medical Waste Collection Business:
The medical industry uses a lot of materials, tools, equipment and small supplies such as syringes and gloves which can only be used once. Some of these materials are recyclable while others are best destroyed because of the risks involved.
Either way, starting a medical waste collection business is a lucrative business idea in the recycling industry in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world. Once you have the required knowledge of handling medical waste, you can network with hospitals, clinics and other medical centres to collect and dispose of their wastes appropriately.
To Sum It Up
The recycling industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with a lot of prospects today and in the future. Although some recycling businesses require a technical understanding of the recycling process, the industry is largely open to everyone willing to learn on the job. The best part is that not all recycling businesses are capital-intensive. If you want to start and grow a successful recycling business in Nigeria, Africa or anywhere around the world, you can choose any of the 25+ recycling business ideas mentioned in this article and get started right away.
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