waste recycling business

How does one turn waste to wealth? How can you become a millionaire just by collecting and processing waste? In this post, I will share with you 5 businesses you can start to create wealth from waste. After all, one man’s waste is another man’s wealth, yes?

A lot of people will agree that waste is bad for our environment. After the recent Lagos flooding, there was a collective outrage at the sheer amount of waste lying in our gutters, making water drainage almost impossible which ultimately resulted to the city flooding.

This has led prominent people and thought leaders in their various spheres to come up with different ideas for reducing the amount of waste in our streets. A notable example is Oby Ezekwesili’s #PickThatTrash campaign which has really gathered momentum and is a beauty to watch if you follow her on twitter.

All these happen because we collectively agree that waste is bad; waste is a problem, right? Good! That is why at the moment waste is good, very good for entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur, someone who makes wealth by providing solutions to problems, waste is very good for your account balance :).

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all go about throwing litters indiscriminately. I’m an avid #TrashHater myself and I #PickThatTrash whenever and wherever. What I’m saying is, out of the amount of waste already existing in our cities, a willing and smart entrepreneur could make insane amount of wealth.

Let me show you 5 ways this could happen.

Waste collection

Unlike in the past, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people in many cities to indiscriminately fling their trash inside the gutters. Not only is this irresponsible, it is one way to get arrested if one is caught in the act. As a result, people are eagerly looking for convenient ways to properly dispose their waste and many of them are willing to pay for it.

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Waste collection is serious business if you plan and execute it right. For a start you will need lots of willing customers like homes, offices, companies, restaurants, and so forth. The good part is, the customers are already there waiting for you to approach them and introduce yourself.

Waste Collection Truck. Photo credit: sinotruk-international.com

To make your business more formal, you may register your business with the CAC and other relevant bodies. Then you get to work.

You can start waste collection business on any scale. Of course it makes more sense if you can afford a waste collection truck but you can start with even a wheelbarrow and still make money.

Molina and Tony built a 6-figure business from trash collection. Turning waste to wealth, think about it.

Waste processing/recycling

Waste processing usually goes hand in hand with waste collection. Some of the big names in the recycling business like WeCyclers have a system which integrates waste collection and processing.

What is waste processing?

waste recycling business
Inorganic waste ready for recycling

There two types of waste: organic and inorganic waste. Both of them have very good economic uses. Organic waste is degradable waste such as food, grass, animals, and anything that can decay. Inorganic waste is not degradable: plastic, non-degradable paper, rubber, glass, etc.

Waste processing entails separating organic from inorganic waste so that both can be converted to other useful states.

Usually, large recycling companies will pay you to bring inorganic waste to them for recycling while organic waste can be converted to other useful products like compost.

Biogas production

The concept of biogas is relatively new in this part of the world but in places like Vietnam and India, biogas has been in use for over 4 decades now. What is biogas?

Biogas refers to a mixture of gases produced by the decay or fermentation of organic waste (like sewage, kitchen waste, animal manure, food scraps and plant material) – Smallstarter

Starting a biogas business will require more than a passing knowledge of the technology; you will need to master the techniques and have access to large amounts of organic waste.

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Here is a detailed article on biogas production and how you can make money with it.

Fertilizer production

Organic waste is a natural source of compost. Compost is used as natural fertilizer which farmers are more than happy to have. Because natural fertilizer is preferred to artificial fertilizer, farmers are willing to pay you if you can maintain a steady supply of compost.

This business holds so much potentials that when you understand the sheer benefits of compost to agriculture, you will get angry the next time you see people throwing their waste away.

To set up a compost farm, you will need large amounts of organic waste supply. It also ties closely with waste collection and processing because it is at the point of collecting and processing waste that you separate organic from inorganic waste.

Scrap metal collection

Scrap metal
Scrap Metal

There are people who make more than daily living just by picking and selling scrap metal to metal processing companies. A good example is our Featured Entrepreneur, Julius. This guy makes more money than most white-collar employees just from dealing in scrap metal.

These are 5 ways you can turn waste to wealth. Of course, if you think more carefully you can come up with a few other creative and useful ideas from which you can generate a stable income from waste.

When we burn or bury waste, we are throwing away outrageous amounts of money. This is both sad and unfortunate.

You can start building your wealth empire if you refuse, from today, to turn a blind eye to waste.

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If you found this post useful, consider sharing it on social media with your friends. Don’t forget to #PickThatTrash!

So what do you think about turning waste to wealth? Share your comments and let me know.


    • Hello Emmanuel,

      Some of them require huge capital while some require only a little. It doesn’t take much to start waste collection, for example, but for biogas, you may need investors.

      Which of them stands out to you the most?

  1. Nice tips
    I love every tips and guide shared on this Platform.
    Many waste has been burnt and discard into the moat without the user knowing the important of the Waste, there are lot of waste out there to be transform in Wealth.
    I will say the reason Why most waste become waste and will remain waste is that the user do not have the right Knowledge and Skill.


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