Step-by-step guide on how to start your own plastic recycling plant

Recycling involves the process of converting a waste material into a usable substance by converting the waste material into its original form by using various recycling process. Since the rise of pollution especially of non-biodegradable waste that require much time to degenerate, it has become an unavoidable problem that the rising waste has created.

Thus recycling was the best option to reduce, reuse the product that was once produced. Since the last three decades, recycling has become a norm and that has led to the rise in recycling business.

Most of the waste that you see around yourself can be easily recycled while some of them require special recycling treatment. Wastes like plastic waste, electronic waste, paper waste, and solid waste are few of the commons wastes of whom recycling is done.

Recycling Business and its Future

Recycling business flourished in the sector where recycling of certain waste generated profit. It is obvious that you won’t recycle something that does not generate profit. Paper waste, plastic waste and electronic wastes are top three types of wastes that are mostly recycled and their recycling has generated lots of profit.

The recycling business globally generated $282.1 billion in 2018 which has increased from $265 billion in 2017 and is expected to increase further. This is clear indication that recycling business has much scope and it will continue to generate revenues and create new recycling businesses.

Plastic Recycling Business & Opportunity

Among all the types of recycling, recycling of plastic is one of the most common recycling business that generates great revenue and is preferred mostly by any new entrant in the recycling business. The world has seen immense usage of plastic in last few decades and its use has continued to grow despite being banned by few countries.

Everything we see around has some part made from plastics. It is almost impossible to imagine our lives without plastic at this juncture. Thus the more usage of plastic has created more scope for plastic recycling business.

Since plastic is a non-biodegradable waste it takes years to generate in normal case thus piling more plastic waste. The only best option is recycling of plastic waste as it has harmful impact towards the society.

Harmful Impact of Plastic and its Products

Plastic is a non-biodegradable waste which means that it cannot be decomposed by normal process. Despite being durable and reliable in usage it has caused immense damage to the nature. Some of its disadvantages are as follows.

  • Plastic waste cannot be destroyed in normal case. Even if they are destroyed they will create further pollution
  • Plastic waste is toxic in nature and creates lots of damage to the land where it is disposed
  • Burning of plastic waste creates toxic smoke that releases carbon monoxide which is fatal in nature
  • Chemicals that are used to make plastic products have deterrent impact on the environment.
  • Soil gets badly damaged due to plastic as it stops the flow of air and other minerals to the soil
  • When in water bodies, it hinders sunlight and oxygen into the water which damages the aquatic life.
  • Since plastic waste cannot be decomposed it is piling over landfills and has occupied much of the land which can be used for better purpose

With such cons it is quite necessary that one should take step in solving the menace of plastic pollution. One of the best ways is recycling of plastic waste.

Here’s How to Start Plastic Waste Recycling Business

The best way to get rid of plastic waste is to recycle it for further usage. Though recycling of plastic reduces the quality it had once but nevertheless it is still better to reuse it rather than piling it up as waste. With the wide use of plastic and the wide generate of plastic waste it is obvious that plastic recycling business has much demand and market.

There is abundant supply of plastic waste and the products that are formed by waste recycling are also much in demand in the market. Thus one who is investing in this recycling business has much to gain from it even though if his business is setup at a small scale.

The market of plastic recycling is huge and it has great returns as well as the recycled product can directly be sold in the market at good rate.

Now if one has made his mind to enter into this business of waste recycling then here is a brief piece of guide on how to start plastic recycling business.

How to Setup Plastic Recycling Business Plant?

The first step one should take while starting any kind of business is to research thoroughly about the business. An in-depth research about the plastic recycling business is must in order to move ahead.

A feasibility analysis report is what you must have which should be made by a professional well trained in that field. A feasibility analysis report contains all the details related to the business in which you are about to enter. What are the probable profits and loss that one can suffer, where is market moving, where to invest, how much investment is required, what can be the return on investment, etc. are the questions that the report will address.

Plastic Recycling Business Plan

Though it may not be much necessary as it is more about formality and professional business but yet a business plan will help you in getting loans sanctioned, invite other investors and partner and even to your ease while moving ahead during your startup. A business plan guides you during your journey towards starting your business and it ensures that you remains on track and focused.

Land Requirement and Plant setup

In order to start your recycling business it is obvious that you will need a space for your installation of recycling plant and it needs to be spacious and safe. As per the present norms that are framed regarding installation of recycling plants and factory, the ideal place that is selected is the outer of the city.

Therefore before you choose the place you should consult with your advisors and members of authority as they may reject your license if they are not satisfied with the location of your factory.

Selecting an outer area for your factory will also ensure cheap land as outer space is mostly cheaper than the market space. Obtain all kind of permission before you set your factory as it will obviously create pollution and if it is setup in contravention of the rules then you may face legal action.

Requirement of Utilities

Utilities are basic facilities and resources that are required for running your recycling plant. In general, you will require basic amenities to run your recycling plant. They include water connection, electricity, transportation system, roads, infrastructure, furniture, other helping equipment, etc.

When you choose your location for your recycling plant you should also give deep thoughts about utilities. It is important that you are well connected with the main market and also with these utilities. If you have trouble in fetching water and getting uninterrupted power supply then it may hamper your recycling business.

Similarly, transportation through road is essential since you will have a daily supply of waste and daily packaging of recycled goods. If you are not well connected with the market then it can also hamper your business.

Machines Required to Recycle Plastics

The essential part of recycling is the machines that will be used to recycle plastics. There are various types of machines that are used to recycle plastics and based on your requirement you can have one.

Selection of machines also depends upon the size of your business, the budget of your business, type of plastics you will recycle, end product you want to create from the waste. Keeping all these things in mind you should have your recycling machines.

Another thing that matters is that the machines should be handy, easy to use and that one that consumes less power and is highly efficient. Small things matter a lot especially when you are starting small.

Stages in Plastic Recycling Process are as follows:-

If you are done with the above requirements of arranging land for your recycling business, getting utilities and basic amenities and the machines required to recycle plastics. Time has come to move ahead through the process of recycling plastics. Before any plastic is recycled it has to go through various steps of pre-recycling. These are basically five steps which are mostly used in all types of recycling.

Sorting the Plastics: Plastics that are collected are of various types. They also have other joint material attached to them. The process of sorting segregates plastic of various polymers, strength and quality.

Washing of Segregated Plastics: Washing is necessary to clean the dirt and other materials stick to the plastic getting ready to be recycled. Adhesives, colors, tapes, etc. are removed by washing. Washing necessarily doesn’t mean water wash but washing using chemicals.

Shredding of the Washed Plastics: Shredding is a process that breaks or tear downs plastic into small pieces similar to that of pellets. These small sized plastic pieces can be easily recycled. Shredding is done through shredding machines especially made for this purpose.

Classification and Identification of Plastic Remains: The small pellets of plastics are identified using machines of their quality and type. It should be clear that in order to form a plastic product after recycling plastic it should be of certain quality. For example, an already recycled plastic waste will create an inferior quality of plastic product after recycling. Therefore before the manufacturing of new products quality of pellets is identified.

Extruding: The pellets are melted to form new sets of plastic pieces that are later sent for recycling.

Complete Process of Plastic Recycling:

After the above five steps are completed it is time to recycle the last product that was obtained using extruding. The first step involves heat compression.

Heat Compression: This process involves churning of all the plastic waste collected which can be sorted or otherwise and is then heated in a container in order to melt it. All the plastic material gets melted down and is mixed thoroughly. The mixture that is created is given shape and is cooled down. Later using the cooled pieces of plastics, new products are made. The advantage here is that it doesn’t requires any type of sorting based on quality but all the plastics are recycled at once. This process is used when heavy and hard plastic products are to be made.

Monomer: This process reverses the polymerization reaction and creates the new polymer by cleaning it. This is one of the most common methods of recycling plastic which helps in retaining the basic characteristic of the plastic and to a major extent the quality of the plastic. After the new product is formed it is sent for further finishing and is sold as raw material.

Equipment Required to Recycle Plastic:

  • Extruder Machine
  • Rope Processing Machine
  • Melting Machine
  • Sorting Machine
  • Conveyer Belt
  • Cleaning and Washing Machine
  • Recycling Plant
  • Compressor

Apart from these, you may require other sophisticated machines based on the scale on which you would recycle plastic. It will also depend on the type of plastic you want to recycle and what kind of end product you wish to obtain.

Selection of Location for Recycling Plant:

A recycling plant requires an open space in order to work. It also requires various utilities and amenities to operate. Location of your recycling plant should also be in sync with the permissions of the concerned authorities.

Since recycling of plastic creates pollution and you are basically setting up a commercial factory, you will be required to take various permissions. Ask your advisor to guide you in selecting location based on approvals and permission.

Choose a location outer of the city space which would be cheap as well as approved by the authorities. Lastly, while choosing the location ensure that it is well connected with the mainstream city and also has basic amenities to run your business.

Staff and Manpower Required:

The answer to both depends on the size of your business. If you are opening up a small recycling plant then few of the staff will do the job but if you are going at larger scale then you need a team of dedicated staffs and manpower. Some will be accountants, managers, advisors, supervisors, manual labors, technicians and engineers.

Select a team for yourself which you feel will do the job for you in an efficient way. Since you would be new in business it is important to have advisors who can guide you about how to carry out the recycling business and at the same time you need to have limited workforce to avoid extra expenditure.

Try to hire staffs that are multitalented and know more than one job. You can also train few of them and can increase their pay significantly.

Capital Investment:

As you have done the feasibility analysis for your business and would have also prepared a business plan you would have got an idea how much of amount is required to start your business. It also depends on the location of your business, size of your business, type of recycling plant, resources used, equipment whether purchased or leases, scale of your production and sale, etc.

It is obvious that where land is used the investment increases and therefore you should arrange good sum for investment. The best option is to take a loan from the bank.

Return on Investment and Profit:

It would be immature to assume that you will start making profit from the day your business commences. It requires time to build your business. With an investment that will go in millions one should be smart about making returns.

The changing market requires innovation and smart business policies. Your goods are not only recycled goods but it should be more like finished goods. A bit of value addition maximizes the profit you make.

While it is obvious to sell such recycled products to the manufacturing companies. Plastic products can be sold in the local market at good price and you don’t need only to sell to a particular market. Small goods with good finishing can get you good returns.


Recycling plastic may not only be a profitable venture but it is also a way to help in reduction of pollution and environmental degradation. Plastic recycling business can be turned into a plastic manufacturing business where you can manufacture goods in small scale made of plastic that can be consumed in the local market.

With an addition of value and creativity there is lot to gain from the plastic recycling business. Here are few advantages of recycling plastic.

  • Profit can be the first thing one can mention here. Plastic recycling as a business is trending at top and lot of revenue is generated from the same. Recycled plastics are of various use and many companies that manufacture plastic goods can buy the same giving you good returns.
  • Saving environment from further degradation can be the second pros of recycling plastic. Being a non-biodegradable waste it makes hard for plastic to degenerate on its own and even burning it down will create pollution. Plus wherever it is kept it makes the place toxic especially the soil of land where the plastic waste is dumped.
  • If not recycled such plastic was occupies large landscape especially land that can be used for irrigation. Being dumped for long makes the land infertile and toxic. Such chemicals gets soaked in soil and is mixed with the underground water causing serious health implications.
  • When floated in water bodies it blocks oxygen and sunlight into the water.
  • The biggest damage is caused to animals who consume plastic which leads to their death. Small pieces of plastics are toxic and get stuck into the stomach of such animals who end up losing their lives.

Therefore, recycling of plastic is in interest of the people, society, animals and after all the great mother earth.


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