Recycling is essential for the future of the country and for the planet in general. It reduces the need for mining, processing and refining raw materials which cause substantial pollution. If you are the kind of person who is passionate about the environment below are some recycling business ideas you may consider. Also check out the recycling business plan for South Africa.

Tin Cans

If you want to set up a recycling business one of the easiest and cheapest idea to consider is collecting tin cans. For it to be profitable you have to collect large volumes. Tin cans are made from tin-plated steel or aluminium however, aluminium tin cans fetch more rands per kilogram. Since tin cans are considered waste you can collect them for free. These tin cans can be canned food, aerosol cans, and soda cans. Fortunately, all metal cans including aluminium and steel are infinitely recyclable and recycling them is not only good for the environment but it is profitable.

Drinking Glasses And Bottles

Another lucrative recycling business idea to consider is recycling glass. Recycling soda bottles, beer bottles, and jars and various other glass material can be a profitable business. Glass can be crushed and made into other usable products. New bottles, jars, and glass sand for water purification in addition to highway marking beads can be made from recycled glass. Also, recycled glass can be used to make durable and beautiful countertops for use in bathrooms and kitchens. Many products can be made from recycled glass so venturing into this type of business can be profitable.


The third recycling business idea to consider is recycling leather. This business requires very little capital to start. Leather scraps can be collected from tanneries, and manufacturers and then used to make useful products. Also, leather from old items can be repurposed into making new things as well. Recycled leather can be manufactured into smaller accessories such as bags, belts keychains and wallets among other things. You can also make and sell leather chords which are leather strings 2mm to 5mm long. These leather chords can be used to make shoelaces, craftwork, and clothing such as frills in jackets.


Recycling of batteries is also on our list of recycling business ideas because it is an easy and cheap business to set up. You can recycle lithium batteries, laptop batteries and lead-acid automotive batteries to name a few. Batteries contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals so disposing them the same way regular household waste is disposed raises concerns over soil contamination and water pollution. Most types of batteries can be recycled but some batteries are recycled more than others, such as lead–acid automotive batteries. The material in the batteries such as the lead can be reused. Batteries contain useful materials such as copper, aluminium and mercury which can also be reused.


Recycling tyres is another profitable recycling business.  The rubber from shredded tyres can be used in playgrounds, soccer pitches or to make other rubber products. Tyres can be used to create artwork for interior decorating, sandals and mats. At some plants, tyres are melted and moulded into new products. Most of the time, melted tyres are  sold in blocks after going through  the recycling process to be used further.

Computers And Other Gadgets Recycling
Computers are made from a large number of different plastics, metals and other material that can be recycled. If dumped into landfills, many of these materials that are used in making computers are hazardous to the environment. Therefore, recycling computers is a business worth considering.  A lot of parts that are used to make them can be reused. Similarly, old phones, cables and other electronic gadgets have useful materials that can be recycled.


A huge amount of  plastic waste is generated every year in South Africa and very little of it is recycled. This in turn has lead to an increase in pollution. Therefore, recycling plastic is a viable business opportunity. Plastic waste recycling is used to generate other plastic products like polythene, plastic bottles, plastic cans, tubs, and buckets to name a few.

Wood /Furniture Recycling

Recycling wood or wooden furniture is another recycling business you can consider. Wooden furniture can be recreated into other things through disassembling it. The furniture can be reshaped, polished, and then assembled into something different. Old furniture becomes useless and can be recycled and repaired. With good craftsmen, the right tools and materials you can set up a profitable old furniture recycling business.

Water Recycling Plant

Water recycling has been gaining popularity all over the country for the past few years and this is a lucrative business opportunity you can consider. You can use wastewater from your ponds, lakes or rivers and recycle it. This can be a profitable business in areas where ground water is scarce and where the area is prone to droughts. Although it may require a little more capital than the previous recycling businesses, setting up a water recycling plant will give you a good return. The waste water can be treated using different kinds of filtering machines, desalination plants, using chemicals and reverse osmosis. The treated water with added minerals can later be packed and sold to the public.


Recycling paper is another business idea you can consider. Many countries including South Africa have resorted to recycling paper in order to stop the cutting down of trees since paper is made from tree pulp. Like most recyclable products, paper is cheap, if not free, to obtain for recycling. There are various products that can be made from recycled paper such as napkins, toilet paper, tissues,  paper towels and cardboards to name a few.

Farm Waste

Lastly, recycling farm wastes like stubble, crops remains, dry leaves and animal waste can be a profitable business. Stubble can be used in making paper, cardboard, temporary shades, and boxes. Also, obtaining farm waste from local gardeners and farmers is not that hard. You can also make use of organic manure from farm waste and resell to farmers.