MAKE MONEY #8: Plastic vs Metal: Start a Small Plastic Recycling Business

Good for: Students, Retirees, Parents, ALL

plastic vs metal start a plastic recycling business

Difficulty: 5 (MEDIUM)

Initial Investment: 5 (MEDIUM) to 8 (HIGH)

Location: LOCAL

Good for: Students, Retirees, Parents, ALL

plastic vs metal | what plastic to recycle
Plastic vs metal — Plastic Recycling Business

How to Start Your Own Small Plastic Recycling Business

With all the talk about going green these days, more and more people are looking for ways to recycle and reduce their impact on the environment. One way to do this is to start your own small plastic recycling business. The waste and recycling industry offers several opportunities for someone looking to start a small business with a modest investment. You just need to find one or more waste materials that are being discarded that can be reused, resold, or recycled.

Things You Would Need to Know to Get Started

There are a few things you need to know before getting started. First, what kind of plastic should you recycle? There are two main types of plastic: PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene). PET is the most common type of plastic, and can be found in water bottles, soda bottles, and some food packaging. HDPE is a stronger type of plastic that is often used for milk jugs, Bleach/detergent bottles, and some types of food packaging. You can recycle both types of plastic, but PET is easier to process and therefore fetches a higher price on the recycling market.

plastic vs metal | what plastic to recycle

Plastic vs Metal?

You also need to know what separates plastic from metal. Plastic is made from petroleum, while metal is mined from the earth. This means that recycling plastic requires a different process than recycling metal. To recycle plastic, it must first be sorted by type (PET or HDPE), then cleaned and shredded into small pieces. The pieces are then melted and formed into pellets, which can be sold to companies that make new products from recycled plastic.

What Plastic to Recycle

As mentioned above, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene) are the two main kinds. PET is found in water bottles, soda bottles, and some food packaging. HDPE is found in milk jugs, bleach/detergent bottles, and some types of food packaging. You can recycle both types of plastic, but PET is easier to process and therefore fetches a higher price on the recycling market.

TIP: PET is easier to process and gets a higher price on the recycling market

How Much Money Do I Need to Get Started?

The Balance Small Business says that the number one way to get started is to set up neighborhood recycling bins. If there are no or too few recycling bins in your area, buy some. You can even customize them by purchasing plain bins and adding colorful stickers and different art variations that reflect the local community. Place them in commercial and residential areas, but be sure to place them where they will be useful and not a nuisance. An example of a company successfully following this approach is Ripple Glass out of Kansas City, Missouri.

Work for the Environment, Not the MAN

This is not a comprehensive guide, but just a starter post to help you get thinking about starting a small plastic recycling business, what plastic to recycle, and which works best for you: plastic vs metal. This side hustle is good for those people who have the time and energy to devote to it, and for people who are interested in building a small business that benefits both the larger community AND the environment.

If you’re looking for a way to help the environment and make some extra money, consider starting your own small plastic recycling business. It’s a great way to make a difference!

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