2022 How to Start a Plastic Recycling Business: Complete guide

The plastics recycling industry is definitely a lucrative one. Especially after the epidemic swept through the world, consumption levels are slowly picking up and various plastic products are accompanying this.

And the plastic recycling industry is taking advantage of this opportunity to grow.

If you are in the plastics recycling industry or plan to enter it with your existing resources, then this article will be of much help to you.

In this article, I will talk about the current state of plastics recycling, how profitable it is, and how to start a plastics recycling business from the simplest of models, etc.

How To Start A Plastics Recycling Business From The Simplest Models?

Simply sorting plastic waste according to PP, PE, PVC, PET, etc., then shredding, washing, and collecting is definitely the easiest way to enter the plastic waste recycling industry.

In our plastic recycling industry, we call this the washing and shredding part of plastic recycling.(The picture below)

With only one site, you can set up a small-scale recycling plant at a relatively low cost. And the return on investment is relatively fast.

Of course, for those who are new to this industry, we recommend the 1-2 ton/hour output recycling line.

You can set up a system to collect plastic waste (for example plastic bottles, PVC pipes, food containers Etc.) through your local resources. Then hire a few workers to service the line.

Most importantly, you can gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the plastics recycling industry in the process.

Because you need to sell your plastic waste to people who recycle it after it has been turned into useful plastic flakes.

It is also important to understand what kind of raw materials are in demand in the market.

In this way, you can establish a good relationship with your customers and provide them with quality products that they need.

Of course, as your business grows, you can gradually expand your recycling plant to meet the needs of your customers.

How Profitable The Plastics Recycling Industry Is?

Polymer Recycling Technologies 2020-2030: IDTechEx

Since I am involved in the sale of domestic and international plastic recycling equipment( Nicety Machinery Co., Ltd) in China, I will list the price difference between pre and post plastic waste treatment in China:

PP scrap plastic price VS PP recycled material price:

USD 430/ton VS USD 710/ton

ABS scrap plastic price VS ABS recycled material price

USD 1000/ton VS USD1415/ton

PPMA scrap plastic price VS PPMA recycled material price

USD 980/ton VS USD 1320/ton

As you can see from the Chinese market, the price range between plastic waste and recycled pellets (minus the cost of production which is profit) is very substantial.

Countries and regions around the world have their own unique price differentials for plastic waste and plastic waste recycling and pelletizing, all you have to do is do your market research in advance.

After reading this article, I hope you have learned about the basics of the plastic recycling industry and are ready to enter this field with your own resources.

What You Should Do If You Plan To Expand Your Plastics Recycling Business?

As your local plastics recycling business grows, you may want to continue to expand your plastics recycling business in both “width” and “depth” directions.

The “width” and “depth” here are not a concept of size, but rather an understanding of thinking.

For example:

In terms of width: You need to think about whether you will be adding extrusion pelletizing lines, and if so, whether a PP pelletizing line is better for your market or a PET pelletizing line will help you meet your local market? 

In terms of depth, what you should consider is whether to continue to recycle the cleaning line in this step to go deeper? Increase the output of the recycling line? Or to improve the quality of the plastic flakes produced without adding a larger production line?

What Processes Are Included In A Complete Plastic Recycling Plant?

A complete plastic recycling plant usually consists of the following processes:

-Sorting: The first step in any recycling process is to sort the materials. This is typically done by hand, but some facilities use machines to do this automatically.

-Cleaning: Once the materials are sorted, they need to be cleaned before they can be processed. This usually involves removing any dirt, food, or other contaminants that might be on the surface of the plastic.

-Shredding: The next step is to shred the plastic into small pieces. This makes it easier to process and also helps to remove any remaining contaminants.

-Extrusion: The shredded plastic is then fed into an extruder, which melts it down and extrudes it into small pellets.

-Pelletizing: The pellets are then cooled and solidified so that they can be used in the manufacturing of new plastic products.

2022 Plastic Recycling Process: What Machines Are Needed During Every Step?

For more details on the plastic recycling process, please refer to the above article

The Current State Of The Plastics Recycling Industry.

Global plastics production has increased dramatically in the last decade, doubling from 234 million tonnes (Mt) in 2000 to 460 Mt in 2022.

By almost 40% during this period, plastic volumes outpaced economic growth.

COVID-19 has temporarily slowed this growth, but it is expected to rise again once the outbreak is mitigated.

Plastic waste has increased dramatically, from 156 million tonnes in 2000 to 353 million tonnes in 2019.

Packaging (40%), consumer goods (12%), and textiles (11%) are the main sources of short-lived applications’ plastic waste, which amounts to almost two-thirds of all plastic pollution.

Only 55 million tonnes of this material were collected for second processing and reuse.

Finally, 9% of plastic waste was recycled, 19% was combusted, and roughly 50% was deposited in sanitary landfills. The remaining 22% was disposed of in uncontrolled dumpsites, burned in open pits, or leaked into the environment.

The Importance Of Plastic Recycling And Waste Management

In 2019, 22 million tonnes of plastic materials leaked into the environment as a result of widespread plastic usage and inadequate end-of-life disposal, contributing to ongoing plastic pollution.

Where Recycled Plastics Can Be Used?

Recycled plastics are commonly used in the following ways:

-As a partial replacement for virgin polymer in the production of new plastic products

-In the construction industry as an alternative to asphalt

-For road construction and maintenance, including noise barriers, speed bumps, drainage pipes, and retaining walls

-As rail sleepers and fencing

-As agricultural mulch and irrigation pipes

-In the production of energy through thermal depolymerization or pyrolysis.


One Response

  1. Hello. I hope you day is going well. I would like to start a waste management outfit in Tanzania. Are you able to send more information on the prices of each machine? Also The power type and output needed to run each machine? If we were to purchase a machine from Nicety, what type of troubleshooting could we expect for maintenance and breakdowns? And finally, what the cost would be to transport the machine to Dar Es Salaam?

    Thank you for your time.

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Matt. Lau

Matt. Lau

Hi, I'm the author of this post, and I have been in this field for more than 5 years. If you want to build a plastic recycling line or plastic related machines, feel free to ask me any questions.

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