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Buying a Recycling Business? 4 Options to Consider

Posted On: 09/01/2019 / By:
Buying A Business

The recycling industry has expanded considerably in response to the public’s growing demand for more eco-friendly solutions. There is a world of possibility that lends itself to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to do their part in making the world a better place. Buying a recycling business can be a profitable endeavor. Since most local municipalities offer curbside pick-up for everyday items, you may want to focus on other materials that aren’t as easy to get rid of. There are plenty of business opportunities outside of aluminum cans and plastic bottles in the recycling industry. Learn about four different types of recycling companies to see if a specific niche is right for you.

4 Areas to Consider When Buying a Recycling Business

Working within the recycling industry is an excellent opportunity to reduce waste and pollution and conserve natural resources within one’s community. With the right business plan and execution, buying a recycling business can be quite lucrative.

  1. Paper Recycling

    Paper comprises over 40% of municipal solid waste stream. Most discarded paper can be reprocessed several times over before its material is too frail to use. This presents a B2B opportunity, as paper recyclers can offer other businesses a way to reduce their environmental footprint, as well as waste management operating costs. Paper recyclers collect waste paper from organizations, “mush” (or clean) old paper through a Pulper machine, and then sell the finished goods. Start-up costs are relatively low, and there are plenty of opportunities to scale this type of operation.

  2. Medical Waste Recycling

    In most cities, medical waste, such as surgical instruments, glassware, and bandages, are discarded through incineration. This proves to be an inadequate solution, as it releases pollutants and human carcinogens into the air. Given that 85% of waste generated in a healthcare facility is non-hazardous, there is a large supply of medical waste that can be classified as recyclable. Even certain single-use items such as IV bags and blue wrap can be sterilized, melted down, and then repurposed. This industry hasn’t been tapped into fully, so there is little competition. Plus, there is no shortage of doctors offices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities to pull resources from.

  3. Construction Recycling construction equipment lifting recyclable material

    Many different materials can be recycled from construction projects, such as scrap metal, concrete, asphalt, timber, trees, and brush. The sheer volume of discarded recyclable material paired with the undesirable disposal processes they go through indicates a need for change. Since these materials are difficult to repurpose on your own, you could find local recycling facilities in your area to sell to.

  4. Electronics Recycling

    Discarding old or damaged devices has left a substantial footprint in our landfills. Many electronic stores sell refurbished cell phones, tablets, laptops, computers, and other devices made from salvaged replacement parts. You can also collect electronic components to sell to recyclers and still make a decent profit margin. You’ll want to do research on state and federal ordinances and also determine any necessary licenses or permits you’ll need to operate your electronics recycling program. Some owners attempt to bypass the good-willed nature of the industry and ship their toxic e-material overseas. Be selective in who you work with and always keep a record of any transactions.

With the right plan in place, you can combine two passions into one: becoming an entrepreneur while helping the planet. Start your business buying process off on the right foot by working with the world’s trusted network of business intermediaries. Find your local Sunbelt Business Brokers office to get in touch with our team of brokers experienced in buying and selling recycling businesses to ensure you’re working with the best! To get started on your path to entrepreneurship, browse our listings of recycling businesses for sale.


Brian Knoderer

Brian Knoderer is the President of Sunbelt Business Brokers. He has over 20 years of experience as a business owner and managing business transactions. As a seasoned intermediary, Brian has successfully represented companies in a broad range of industries helping business owners achieve their desired exit strategy or growth initiative.

Brian is also co-owner of Sunbelt Indiana and Managing Director of MMI Capital Partners, a franchisor focused investment banking firm.

Previously Brian was involved in several entrepreneurial ventures as well as having held corporate roles in Franchise Development for Prime Hospitality and Choice Hotels.

Brian is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Management Information Systems and earned his MBA from Butler University. He has received the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) designation, holds both the Series 7 – General Security License and the Series 63 – Uniform Securities Licenses, and is a licensed Real Estate Broker. He has been affiliated with several organizations including the Entrepreneur Organization, a Member of the International Business Brokers Association, Venture Club, and a Board Member of The Entrepreneur Institute.

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