Recycling Business in South Africa


Recycling is a very important business these days in any region of the world including South Africa. The major need lies in the fact our environment is being affected by waste materials. As a result, we are suffering from global warming and general climate change.

Many countries are looking into recycling packaging and other items to save the environment. This shows that there is a huge opportunity in this sector. If you want to start a recycling business in South Africa, then you are reading the right post. In this post, we will provide information on how to begin your business and other things you should know.

Recycling Business in South Africa

What is recycling?

Before we discuss starting a recycling business in South Africa, let’s take a look at what recycling means. In simple terms, recycling is a process that involves recovering waste plastic or other scrap materials and processing them into other useful products. In the next section, we will take a look at the items you can recycle.

What you can recycle

Here is a list of some items that you can recycle. You can decide to focus on one as your specialty or diversify to recycle two or more of these items.

  1. Tires
  2. Batteries
  3. Metal – Recycling metals covers a range of metal items which include:
  • Cans of beer and carbonated drinks.
  • Rusty metal containers.
  • Food tins.
  • Metal lids or crown corks of glass containers.
  • Aluminum cans and foil packaging.
  • Aerosol, oil, and paint cans. In this case, it is important to leave their labels on in case they contain hazardous materials.
  1. Glass – This includes beverage bottles and food containers made of glass (examples are jam, tomato sauce, and mayonnaise bottles).
  2. Paper – Examples of these include old newspapers, cardboard boxes, books, magazines, and white office paper.
  3. Plastics – Plastic is non-renewable. These days, plastic is still a major form of packaging in most countries. While plastic is non-renewable, it can be recycled. Examples of recyclable plastic containers include milk and ice cream containers, plastic bags, fabric softener bottles, etc.

How to start your recycling business in South Africa

Even if you have started a couple of businesses, this niche is quite different. So whether you have experience or not, you must find out how to start your recycling business in South Africa. In this section, we will take a look at how you can start up this business.

Discover your niche

Like we stated earlier, this business has several aspects. As a result of this, there is a lot of competition from companies that already established with large capital bases. It is, therefore, important that you try to find your niche so you don’t get distracted.

Feasibility study

When you discover your niche, you must carry out a detailed feasibility study in that niche. Many people don’t see a feasibility study as important but it is the bedrock of success for any business. A feasibility study is also known by some individuals as market research.

Your feasibility study provides you several pieces of information that are key to running the business. For example, how do you find your target market? It is through a detailed feasibility study.

A feasibility study also helps you find the best location for your business, business operation requirements, and where to source for raw materials. Your feasibility study will be instrumental in writing your business plan. Note that usually, feasibility studies are carried out by professionals. They help to provide exact statistics presented by the market.


You must prepare a budget before you set out. You cannot make use of the budget of another business except it has been adjusted to suit your needs. Usually, your budget depends on your business operations.

In your budget, you will consider the following expenses:

  • Vehicles for haulage purposes.
  • A store or space where recycled goods will be sold.
  • Machinery to carry out the recycling processes.
  • Funds to purchase raw materials.
  • Wages for employees.

These are just a few of the things you have to consider in your budget. Your detailed feasibility study is a major contributor to your budget.

Business plan

It is important to create a viable business plan before starting any business. This plan is also a result of the research carried out through the feasibility study. With this plan, you can put your business together since it acts as a map for your business.

Business plans come with several advantages. First, a business plan provides a template for running your business whether you are there or not. This means that your business enjoys the advantage of continuity even after you are gone. Another advantage of business plans is that it helps to attract investors to the business. Investment capital can come from loans or angel investors.

A business plan should contain the following:

  • Cover page
  • Executive summary
  • Business overview
  • Industry analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Marketing strategy
  • Operations and management plan
  • Strategic implementation plan
  • Financial plan and projections
  • Supporting documents

You should not write a business plan without carrying out empirical research. The research will provide details that will help to complete the business plan.

Find funding

Raising seed capital is a major challenge for many businesses these days. In South Africa, there are several ways to raise funds for your recycling business. Here are a few methods for fundraising in South Africa:

  • Business partners
  • The IDC
  • SEFA (Small Enterprise Finance Agency)
  • NYDA (National Youth Development Agency)

Register your business

After doing your homework in the previous steps, you need to register your business before you begin operations. Simply visit the website of the CIPC ( to find out details regarding registering your business in South Africa.


In this post, we have shown you what you need to do to start your recycling business in South Africa. It is not so difficult to succeed in this sector once you put your mind to it. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments section below.