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The Profitability of Recycling

Can recycling be a profitable endeavor? The answer seems a bit of a blur in recent times due to the panic caused by China’s National Sword program and a few ups and downs in the market for recycled goods.

Regardless of the nay-sayers, recycling is still seeing profits. In fact, the global recycling industry is worth about 410 billion dollars, with approximately one-fourth of that being made up by the US recycling industry. Recycling can be an extremely lucrative undertaking, no matter what scale you practice; whether you’re a private citizen or a full-time entrepreneur. If you’re looking for ways to make recycling profitable, here are some ideas to make your efforts worthwhile.

Upgrade Your Equipment

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It’s no surprise that recycling equipment has made leaps and bounds in efficiency as well as cost and energy savings. However, if you’re still using the same processes and equipment from 1986, chances are that you’re not reaping the benefits of these improvements. So what exactly has changed? Let’s take a look.

  • Speed – Sorting and processing equipment is now faster, more durable, and can handle more materials than ever before. Whether you deal with single or multi-stream processing, this is good news for your business.
  • Cost – The costs involved with processing recyclables has decreased significantly due to the amount of goods that can be processed per minute, the reduction in the energy needed to run equipment and the overall amount of goods that can be processed in a specific timeframe. Short answer, more items being processed in less time at a reduced overall cost means more profit.
  • Energy – Everyone is always looking for a cheaper way to run their business, and energy savings is a huge part of that. By reducing the amount of energy needed to run equipment, whether you run it during specified hours or 24/7, you’re cutting the overall cost of processing.
  • Robotics – By incorporating robotics into your recycling processes, you can improve your return on investment with higher yield due to increased efficiency. This presents itself in cost saving across the board.

Expand Your Market

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Invest in recyclables that your company has overlooked in years past. Maybe you’ve focused on papers and aluminum for the past few decades – well now’s the time to expand your recycling scope. Fewer restrictions on accepted recyclables and more advanced equipment make recycling plastics, glass, paper, metals, batteries, electronics, tires and biomass products easier than ever. Consider processing some new recyclables that have a high end-market value that will help curb the costs of expanding your operation and reducing the amount of processed products that have a low end-market value.

Build on Your Current Reputation

As recycling equipment becomes more complex with the addition of new technologies at material recovery facilities (MRF), there’s no argument that a small, new businesses have some additional hurdles to climb when starting out in the recycling world. But that’s not to say that new recycling businesses will not be profitable, it just may be on a longer timeline than that of an already established business or operation.

Established recycling businesses can use this to their advantage. Instead of having to build a new business from scratch, they can expand and innovate from their current operation, building on the foundation, equipment, connections and relationships that they’ve built over the years.

To learn how GK can help expand your recycling processes and improve your profits, contact us today.

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