Today we go right at the end of the supply, value, logistics chain. If a consumer has used an item and it can’t be serviced, repaired or repurposed it will then end up in a landfill or be recycled.

It is important to understand the waste value chain in South Africa most “recyclers” are merely collection points for the guys upstream who will either process or export the waste to be processed.


Understand the recycling waste industry

The recycling supply/value chain looks like the following:

  • Source of waste
  • Collection network
    (this includes what they call “pickers”).
  • Collection point / Inbound processing (sorting, weighing, baling etc.)
  • Buyer / Recycler

From inbound processing, it goes to the buyer, in SA that usually means  Mondi (paper),  Consul (glass), PETCO (plastic), Rose Foundation (oil), etc. depending on the material. There are not a lot of buyers at the top but it can be anybody such as a  value-added provider who will turn it into raw material and resell it and not just processing for output like the aforementioned. It can also simply be a broker that will export it.

So what will happen is if the recycling operator buys the waste from the collection point for let’s say R10 per kilo and the collection point buys it from the collection network for let’s say R5 per kilo and that is how they profit. Now I say collection network as this is not merely made up of homeless people going through dirt bins, some companies sell their waste to collection points while there are private people that collect waste with their personal vehicles.

It looks something like this:
Source of Waste > Collection network / Waste pickers > Collection point / inbound processing > Recycler


There are very few buyers at the top that add value or output it again.  This is because of the significant expense to set up a business that actually recycles, even a collection point is expensive to set up, you need space, scales, balers etc.

Recycling Business Ideas on Khoi Capital
Start a Plastic Recycling Company
Plastic Recycling Business UPDATE
Start a Paper Recycling Business
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