Business Idea: How to Start a Profitable Waste Recycling Business in Nigeria

waste recycling business

Ever considered venturing into a business with high income possibilities? Waste recycling business offers more than just high profit, it also has a positive impact on the environment by reducing waste and transforming them into many useful products.

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Waste recycling business has relatively little competition and it is a very profitable venture. This comes as no surprise considering the major raw material required (waste) is surplus in the environment and can be cheaply collected.

Waste recycling could be a bit tasking and complicated, however, this article promises to give a careful guide on how to kick-start a waste recycling business, and show the limitless opportunities buried in this almost untapped venture.

Read the story of how this Nigerian entrepreneur is creating fame and wealth through her creative waste recycling startup

How to Start a Waste Recycling Business in Nigeria

There are basic essentials which must be critically considered before venturing into waste recycling, some of which include;

  • Conducting a comprehensive market survey
  • Having a feasible business plan
  • Specialization
  • Business financing, etc.

The success of a waste recycling business will ultimately be hinged on the ability of the investor to make sure that all these requirements are thoroughly planed out.


Just like any other business, a market survey must be carried out to ensure the success of a waste recycling business. Generally, waste recycling comprises of three major aspects, which could be ventured into individually or combined, depending on the availability of finance. These three aspects are;

  • Collecting and reselling of materials
  • Collecting of waste materials and selling to waste processing companies
  • Collecting recyclable waste materials and processing to new products

However, it is only after a proper market survey that an entrepreneur or investor can safely select what aspect of waste recycling to venture into.

Other useful information that a market survey presents include; the demand of recyclable material in the market, presence of any competitors in the area, price of final product, and volume of waste material available in the area.


A business plan is basically a document that is written to capture all aspect of the business and future expectations. The business plan covers a detailed report of the research carried out, market survey, financing the business, advertising, etc.

To start a waste recycling business, a comprehensive business plan is necessary not only to keep the entrepreneur in focus of the business goals, but also to be presented to prospective investors who may wish to invest in the business.

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Writing a killer business plan for waste recycling is a sure strategy of attracting investors and securing business loans. Some basic parts of a business plan are: company’s goals, market survey, product/services offered, business structure and management, marketing strategies, expected earnings, financing the business, etc. Read this article to learn how to write a bankable business plan, this one to learn how to write a proposal to prospective investors, and this one to learn how to pitch your idea to investors


To begin waste recycling, this question must first be asked: what type of waste item should be recycled? There are large varieties of waste materials that can be recycled. Some of the most common ones are: paper, plastic, scrap metal, textile, e-waste, among others.

By waste recycling specialization, the entrepreneur selects which of the recyclable material to specialize in. It could be a single material (e.g. paper) or a combination of two of the materials (paper and plastic). The selection of any material for recycling should be based on the finance available to the entrepreneur, the volume of the particular waste item in the environment, and the availability of the machines and technology required for recycling such materials.



Finance is the backbone of every business. To start a waste recycling business the entrepreneur must source for funds. The positive impact that waste recycling has on the environment makes it relatively easy for entrepreneurs who wish to venture into the business to access loans from government environmental agencies.

When sourcing for funds the entrepreneur should keep in mind the budget for all expenses involved, such as; equipment, transportation, staff salaries, marketing, electricity, storage, handling of waste materials, etc. Read this article to learn practical ways of raising capital for any business, this one to learn how to find angel investors and this one to see angel investor networks available for Africans.

Waste Collection

Having defined the aspect of waste recycling to venture into and the type of waste to recycle, the means by which the waste are collected must then be considered. Depending on the type of waste, collection of waste for recycling could be done from homes, offices, waste dump sites, etc.

However you will find that more volumes of waste could be collected from companies that are big producers of this waste at a cheaper price. Furthermore, collection of waste also involves transportation to a store house of the processing company, which will require trucks, waste collection bins, and a host of other materials.

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Recycling of waste require certain equipment and machines that must be put in place to ensure the success of the business. Just like any other processing business, waste recycling is carried out in stages. There is first the collection of all the waste to be recycled and transporting them to the store or processing plant, then the waste is sorted out.

Sorting is done to separate the recyclable materials from the unrecyclable, and thanks to technology the sorting process can be fully automated in a large recycling plant. However it is also possible to sort waste manually. Generally, heavy magnets are used to sort out metals from the collected waste. Not all plastics are recyclable hence the unrecyclable plastics are separated during the sorting process.

There is also the stage of processing the waste materials into new products and equipment are utilized in this process. This is where the plastics, (for instance) are re-melted and formed into other new products. The process employed in processing the waste depends on the type of waste being handled and the available technology. Finally there is the stage of selling the recycled new product to the market.


To ensure a successful business, a continuous inflow of waste material for recycling is required, it is important to create awareness of your business, in the form of advertising. This can be done using business cards, flyers and stickers, ad, and even through the internet. Advertising should be very thorough, stressing to the public the environmental impact of waste recycling.

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The opportunities that lie in waste recycling are enormous, countless number of materials is thrown away as waste or simple discarded and abandoned by many homes, companies and even manufacturing industries. By venturing into a waste recycling business an entrepreneur is simple signing up for a future fill with financial profit and limitless achievements.

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  1. Thanks a lot for this post.
    .I am very eager to start waste recycling business. But I have just two million naira. I need
    To acquisition space and materials. This money is too meager. Please advise me.

    • The money is not meager. Maybe it is not up to what you want to do but I’m a firm believer in starting small. With that amount, there has to be a way you can start small and expand from there. Starting small also enables you to learn much about the business without committing excess funds into it.

      I hope this helps.

  2. Many thanks for the useful tips. Can you assist further by providing additional information or connect one to any organization that can assist in the following areas:
    1. Minimum capital required to start a recycling company – to cover space, equipment and running expenses
    2. Main products of recycling
    3. Markets/buyers of the products.
    I reckon item 3 is leading from 2.

  3. I want to try kind of service business in Nigeria, and i need a bus for workers team. But my budget is tight, could i buy used bus? i’m new to buses could someone recommend me some model from 600 000?

    • Hello Mode,

      You may want to check on auto websites where you will get more useful recommendations depending on your specifications and needs.

      What we can help with is business development 🙂

  4. Comment: Great stuff. I would like to invite you to speak at a finance show on “The economic benefit of recycling in West Africa”
    You can reach me via mail
    looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks

  5. I am interested in plastic recycling but still researching.. i only have 200,000 at hand now…is it enough to start, maybe buying and reselling to processing companies….


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