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How to Start A Recycling Business in California?

What is trash? For some, this is a problem, because they do not know what to do with it, and for others, money is under their feet.

Recycling Business in California

Relevance of garbage business

What is waste recycling for? The relevance of this topic has two aspects.

First, if your region (country) is turning into a garbage dump. Without a well-functioning process for processing household waste, the area of ​​landfills will rapidly increase, the number of waste incineration plants will only grow, polluting the environment and bringing an environmental catastrophe closer.

The second is a profitable business. At first glance, it might seem that this business cannot generate income. But remember the expression that money does not smell. In many developed countries, waste recycling is a successful business, based on the concept that garbage is a unique resource. People are willing to pay for both the sale and the purchase.

The main feature of garbage is that its reserves are practically inexhaustible. On average, one person produces about 300 kg of waste (per year), and if we recalculate this figure for a city with a million, and for a region … The relevance of recycling business in California idea is beyond doubt. It will not cease to be so as long as humanity produces waste.

Advantages and disadvantages of a garbage business


  1. A constant increase in the production of “raw materials”.
  2. High urgency of the problem, which lies not only in the deterioration of the environmental situation, but also in raising this issue at the international level.
  3. Huge prospects for development, although you can start a business from a small shop.
  4. The profitability of the business is 60 to 80%.


1.Expensive equipment.

2.Competition. It is practically impossible to start a business in regions where there are already monopolists.

3.Lack of garbage sorting culture.

California Recycling

In California, managing waste is priority for everyone. Because waste causes huge amount of pollution of waterways, air, and soil. And to reduce amount of waste is recycling. Recycling is one of many wastes to reduce waste. According to state law, “convenient” zones for recycling have been established.  Californians against Waste website reports 2,400 recycling sites is in California. On average Americans produce over 4 pounds of garbage per day, according to the US Census Bureau. Therefore, its good opportunity for new businesses.

Recycling business

Familiarize yourself with Recycling laws

Study California`s recycling laws. And pay attention to “convenience zones” and handling highly pollutive materials. In California, shopping malls considered as “convenience zones” for recycling centers due to high concentration of people as a result producing high volumes of garbage. You can obtain information about recycling laws through CalRecycle, the California Natural Resources Agency or the California EPA.


Research for convenient zones which currently operation in each area. Identify places where there are no or few centers. Identify where the need for recycling centers is greatest and select location.  If you need help, you can contact the Governor’s Office of Economic Development California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) to use their services to select a location.

Operational plan

Prepare an operational plan for your recycling center. The important components of your plan are your central component that you will collect for recycling and what will you do with recyclables that you have collected. Common components for recycling are paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, rubber, scrap, and electronics. When you just started recycling business you can choose to accept one or few or all these items. Processors must be placed. Processors take recyclable goods and turn them back into reusable materials.

Research the competition and needs in your chosen location, as well as incentive programs to decide what will recycle your facility.

Business plan

Develop a business plan. Your operational plan serves as guide for day-to-day operations. Your business plan is consisting of financial overview (accounting methods, current assets and start up funds). Also decide about hiring employees and marketing.

Building center

Once you have decided with location find building that is suitable for your business. You should consider following points: consumer accessibility, room for collection and storage of recyclables, and required equipment and place for storing.


Register business name with local County Clerk and articles if organization with the California Secretary of State. Employer Identification Number (EIN) from both the IRS and the California Employment Development Department are required for recycling  centers. And use your EIN to register with the Franchise tax Board.


Obtain permits for operation a recycling center by contraction your local municipality. Following permits should be obtained: hazardous waste permits or other type of permits required for the type of recyclable component of your business, conditional use permits for your building. To take advantage of CRV and some incentive programs, fill out an application.

Recycle center

Last stage, prepare your place for opening. Purchase equipment and supplies hire employees. Hiring personnel should be trained and certified in working with equipment.

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