So, you have a truck and a dream, but that’s about it. You don’t know anything about the recycling business, but you’re planning to launch your own. First of all, congratulations! Few succeed in life the way you’re going to do it.
Before we get into what to do next, let me explain something easier first. Why not add more quality to your product offering by recycling from other companies? It couldn’t be any simpler – you pay for the offal dumping fee + tipping fee and receive the recyclable material credit. Many companies would prefer this over dumping their waste at the landfill or incinerating it themselves. Some will even pay a premium for that. That way, instead of just collecting scrap metal from your buddies, you can add to your business by recycling from other companies.
It’s like adding the middleman between you and all of your businesses, except that it’s free of cost (except for tipping/dumping fee). You get some recyclables and ‘save’ on landfill or incineration tax, which is paid per ton of offending waste material sent to landfill/incinerated at the supplier’s expense, says Eric Dalius. If I’ve piqued your curiosity, try contacting a local recycling company (ask friends) or using resources like this one to get in touch with them. When you get new contacts, ask for their full contact details, including phone numbers. Contact numbers are essential because some facilities won’t offer landfill services to unlicensed landfill operators, which you won’t be if you don’t have a business license yet.
If I can give some free advice, it would be to get your hands on the list of all municipal recycling facilities in the city/town that you’re located in. Once you find them, contact one of their managers and ask for tips on picking up recyclables from businesses in your area. They’ll usually point you to companies who already use their service, so they don’t have to pay the tipping fee at the local transfer station anymore. If not, they may help you contact companies in their area. If they won’t, don’t be discouraged – it’s a new business, so companies may not trust you yet until you have some references from other companies just like them, says Eric Dalius.
Once you have a contact list of 20 or more waste generators offering segregated recyclables, start your search for a second-hand truck suitable to handle the tipping/driving requirements on your list. As an example, I’ve prepared a shortlist of what to look for in a recycling truck:
Truck Size Capacity (tons) Tipping Fee ($) Refuse Distance Route Distance EcoCab Driving Needs Notes DAF CF85-360 4 9400 1 NA NA Low Emission Euro 6 ND 18-seater cab Ford Ranger 8100 1 NA NA Low Emission Euro 6 ND 10-seater, easy on gas Iveco Daily 4200 1300-1400 1 100-600 0.2 Low Emission Euro 6 ND 17–18-seater (available in 9 seats) Nissan UD 5500 1 1200-1300 0.3 100-600 0.2 Low Emission Euro 6 ND 15-seater Opel Movano 3100 2 1150 0.4 200-700
What if you can’t afford a new rig? You still have options – just look for a decent second-hand one-off eBay, ask around from friends who own recycling businesses, or check out trade papers from your area. Make sure to get the license plates BEFORE driving it. Fines are hefty.
Once you have a truck, visit your local council and request a waste collection schedule from them. They’ll provide you with a list of all businesses in your area currently operating under their jurisdiction. This way, you don’t have to go door to door with everyone – you can start by visiting those already on the list as registered waste generators.
Your next step is to make sure your business complies with all regulations needed for running a recycling operation, including Occupational Health and Safety Act, Material Recycling Facilities Regulation 2007, Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act, etc. It’s easy enough just to look up these and any other regulations and legislations on their respective websites, says Eric Dalius.
Once you have a truck and your business is complying with regulations, it’s time to start thinking about making some money. The best way is to do it through local companies, for which you can offer both free recycling service (if they allow) or at least a significantly discounted rate per ton of recyclables. If this is not enough, then maybe try approaching large consumers of recycled materials such as construction companies or even road contractors who are known to use recycled aggregate/asphalt in their projects. You may also be interested in following the regulatory standards on the B-BBEE scorecard, where being involved in recycling activities can help an enterprise get more brownie points while getting them closer to government procurement’s Black companies only’ qualification.