Recycling Business in Nigeria: How to Start, Cost & Profitability

  • October 1, 2023

Waste recycling business is an untapped and super low competitive business anyone can venture into in Nigeria.

Yes, I mean anyone! However, when you first hear the words “waste recycling, plastic recycling, tire recycling, or nylon recycling”, I believe what pops on your mind is – walking from one dump site to the other picking plastics, and nylons.

That seems embarrassing, right? But what about walking from one dump site to the other picking money every day? Sounds amazing, right?

That’s what a recycling business should look like to real entrepreneurs because you’re not only using your business as a source of income, instead it also serves as a community service. Hence, contributing to the health improvement of Nigerian citizens.

And the good news is – you don’t even need to go out and pick those plastic and wastes yourself, as what you’ll be picking is the money and profit from this business.

Wants to know how to do that? I mean how to start a recycling business in Nigeria where you don’t need to do any physical work, start with a small capital and make the most profits, then keep reading.

About Recycling Business

A waste recycling business is a type of business where you get waste usually for free from dumb sites, possibly compress them and sell them to big companies that recycle stuff.

This business is very profitable as plastics, metals, nylon, tires, and papers are usually free when they are no more in use. Like I said earlier, the finding and picking of waste is the hardest and most embarrassing aspect of this business, but you don’t have to do it yourself.

Have you ever seen Abokis picking waste? Yes, those are the people you’ll pay to pick waste for you which you’ll then sell to big recycling companies that are always ready to pay a huge amount for waste.

So, that’s how recycling business in Nigeria works. You get people to pick wastes for you, shuffle and compress them, then sell to recycling companies and make money.

Read Also: 35 Businesses You Can Start with 50k in Nigeria and Make Millions

How Much Do You Need to Start a Recycling Business in Nigeria

If you’re among those who frequently search for business to start with no money whatsoever, the recycling business is one of them if you don’t mind going from one dumb site to another picking plastics, nylons, metals, and cartons.

But if you mind, you’ll need at least N300,000 to start a recycling business in Nigeria. This will cover the cost of employees (Abokis), transportation, storage, and machinery.

Related: How to Start a Profitable Cooking Gas Business in Nigeria

How Profitable is Recycling Business in Nigeria

Since wastes are free, you can be sure that this business is profitable as you sell free things for huge money. However, some factors that affect the profitability of this business are money paid to employees, the cost of transportation, storage, and machinery. More so, sometimes some recyclables are not free, e.g Generators, Bikes, and other metals.

Regardless of all that factors, recycling business is still profitable in Nigeria as you can be looking at over 100% profit margin. That means if you start with 300K capital, you could make 600K+ on your first sale.

See Also: Highly Profitable Businesses to Start with 200K in Nigeria

How to Start a Profitable Recycling Business in Nigeria

Start with Market Survey

The first step in starting any business is to do thorough research about the business in your area. This research includes how it works in your area, if it is profitable, how to start, and the do’s and don’ts of the business in your area.

Although this article is a part of the market research needed to be done, make sure you do more especially in the area you want to start the business, since I don’t know where you’re from.

Pick a Niche

There are many niches in the recycling industry, so you’ll need to pick the best one for you and the one that moves fast, and possibly have the most buyers in your area, in order to quickly make money in this industry.

Spreading across all niches would be a bad idea in a business like this because each niche works differently from the others. Therefore, it is advisable to stick to one niche at a time.

The following are some of the niches you can pick from.

1. Waste Recycling

This involves getting waste items such as plastics, nylon, aluminum, and cartons, then compressing them and selling them to recycling companies.

2. Tire Recycling

Tire recycling business in Nigeria

This involves getting used and spoiled tires, then selling to companies producing tires or creative artists who use them for designs, chairs, tables, and so on.

Unlike the plastic recycling business in Nigeria, tire recycling requires a little capital to start, as used tires are not usually free like plastics, nylons, and cartons.

Don’t Miss: 14 Easy Side Hustles to Start with 10K in Nigeria

3. Electronics Recycling

Electronics recycling involves finding and getting for free or buying electronic gadgets and accessories such as phone panels, spoilt TV, spoilt dry cell batteries, etc, then packaging them for recycling.

Just like the tire recycling niche, a little investment is involved as you’re more likely to buy damaged/spoiled items than get them for free.

4. Scrap Gold Recycling

Gold recycling business is somehow one of the not-so-popular niches in the recycling business world, although it is very profitable. However, when people hear about this, they usually think of it as a business that requires huge startup capital.

Scrap gold recycling requires low capital to start, as gold is easy to melt without any purity loss. Moreover, gold recycling doesn’t mean mining gold.

5. Automobiles Recycling

Automobile recycling business in Nigeria

Another profitable waste/product recycling niche in Nigeria is the automobile niche. A lot of people are into this business as it is very profitable.

All that automobile recycling requires is finding a spoilt motorcycle, vehicle, or tricycle, buying them, repairing them, and reselling them for profit.

Related: How to Start a Profitable Foodstuff Business in Nigeria

Get Your Startup Capital

Now that you’ve known the niches available to pick from while looking to start a recycling business in Nigeria, the next thing is to get a startup fund.

Usually, the waste recycling business is one of those businesses with low entries in terms of capital. Starting on a small scale, you can start for free by just finding and picking some waste like cans, and plastic bottles from restaurants, or bars.

If you’re looking to start on a larger scale, you can apply for a small business loan, and start with.

Get the Necessary Materials Needed

Materials needed in the recycling business are very essential when you want to start on a small or large scale. Although not all are necessary, the most essential ones include.

  • Scale to weigh plastics, cans, bins, and so on.
  • Granulator
  • Shredder
  • Pulverizer
  • Pan
  • Truck
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Compactor
  • Grappler
  • Baling machine
  • Vibrator feeder

While all these are the necessary materials needed, if you’re looking to start on a small scale, the only things you need are pan, wheelbarrow, healer, and scale, then you’re good to go.

Don’t Miss: 20 Lucrative Businesses to Start with 300k in Nigeria

Get a Good Location and Storage Facility

Location and most importantly storage facility plays a major role in starting a recycling business. Whether it’s waste, electronics, tires, or automobile recycling, you need somewhere where you could store those recyclables in larger quantities to aid easy sales.

Get All Necessary Permits, Licence, and Certificate

Of course, this is “Nigeria” where not all businesses are mandatory to be registered. You can start a recycling business anywhere in Nigeria without any permits or licenses whatsoever except Lagos.

“In Lagos, all waste-related business needs to be licensed by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).

Although some people get away with not registering their business, when finally caught, that may be the end of the business. I guess you don’t want to get yourself in such a mess, so while starting a recycling business make sure to register it and obtain all the necessary permits and certificates.

Hire Employees

This is especially for a large-scale recycling business where the owner of the business can’t be the one going around picking or looking for where to buy recyclables.

So if you have a reasonable budget, you can get a helping hand by hiring Abokis who will help you find recyclables for good pay.

Connect with Buyers

From picking a niche to hiring employees, all the processes of starting whether plastic recycling business or scrap recycling business all come to sales.

I mean, who will buy recyclables, and how can you find buyers for your business?

Well, this is one of the hardest parts of this business model, and why you need to pick the perfect niche for you.

If you start with the automobile recycling where you buy damaged/spoiled cars, motorcycles, and even generators, you can easily find buyers, usually mechanics or panel beaters whom you’ll sell to at reasonable prices.

However, if you start with the plastic, metal, or can recycling niche, you’ll need to reach out to manufacturing companies in order to sell your recyclables. Although this seems a little bit hard, I promise there are lots of companies out there looking for recyclable sellers (especially metals and cans).

Some bonus tips on finding buyers are creating a website for your business, contacting top manufacturing companies via email and phone calls, and even running advertisements for your business. All these will make your business gain more trust and also open the door for bigger contracts.

Recycling Business – FAQs

How much does it cost to start a recycling business in Nigeria?

It usually costs nothing to start a small-scale recycling business in Nigeria, but if you’re looking to start on a larger scale, you’ll need at least 300,000 Naira.

Which recycling business is most profitable?

The most profitable recycling business in Nigeria is the metals and cans recycling business, as this one attracts bigger manufacturing companies that are willing to pay well.

How do I start a waste collection business in Nigeria?

You can start a waste collection business in Nigeria by simply picking a need, and getting all the necessary equipment and permits to start.

What is the best recycling business to start?

The best recycling business in Nigeria is the metals and cans recycling business, as this one attracts bigger manufacturing companies that are willing to pay well.

Is plastic recycling business profitable in Nigeria?

Yes, plastic recycling business is profitable in Nigeria, as there are lots of manufacturing companies looking for plastic recyclables.


Starting a recycling business in Nigeria is very easy, but succeeding in it comes down to you and your mindset. So if you are considering this business, I believe this post about how to start a recycling business in Nigeria should help you to an extent.