Recycling Business Ideas In South Africa

What is a Recycling?

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. This concept often includes the recovery of energy from waste materials. The recyclability of a material depends on its ability to reacquire the properties it had in its original state.

Recycling Business Ideas In South Africa

Best Recycling Business IdeasSouth Africa:


If you want to set up a recycling business one of the easiest and cheapest ideas 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 aluminum however, aluminum 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 aluminum and steel are infinitely recyclable and recycling them is not only good for the environment but it is profitable.


Another lucrative recycling business idea to consider is recycling glass. Recycling soda bottles, beer bottles, jars, and various other glass materials 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.


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 to make 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. 


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 several heavy metals and toxic chemicals so disposing of them the same way regular household waste is disposed of 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. 


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.

Tires can be used to create artwork for interior decorating, sandals and mats. At some plants, tires are melted and molded into new products. Most of the time, melted tyres are sold in blocks after going through the recycling process to be used further.


A huge amount of plastic waste is generated every year in South Africa and very little of it is recycled. This in turn has led 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.


Recycling wood or wooden furniture is another recycling business you can consider. Wooden furniture can be recreated into other things by 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.

Is recycling profitable in South Africa?

Paper, plastic, cans and glass can all be recycled for cash. Many people in South Africa make a living from collecting recyclables and exchanging them for money through numerous programmes across the country. These people are known in the recycling industry as collectors.