|Park in the
middle of a block, get out and start knocking on doors,
asking the residents if they have old newspapers or
cardboard boxes they'd like for you to haul away for them.
Generally, you'll get an
armload of old newspapers at every house. Simply carry them to your
pickup or trailer, then go on to the
If you'll set up a definite route to follow, certain streets on
certain days about once every two weeks, you'll find the homeowners
will have stacks of paper waiting for you. Regardless of whether the
person answering the door gives you a stack of papers, always leave
a business card at each home.
Some paper recyclers offer to pay the people saving newspapers
for them, and having it ready for them when they make their
collection rounds. Generally, this isn't necessary. If you'll
develop regular collection days for each street or neighborhood,
you'll find the people putting papers out for you just as they set
out their garbage for collection.
There are even some paper recyclers who charge the people to haul
their paper away. This isn't advisable, because once you start
hauling rubbish, you'll end up doing clean-up work, and hauling more
to the dump than you do to the recycling depot.
Once you have your collection routes organized, you can hire
students to make your collection rounds after school, and haul the
paper to your storage center. You can set up crews of three - one to
drive the truck or car while the others knock on doors on each side
of the street.
Depending on how much paper each route gives you every two weeks,
you could have a crew working several routes each day for minimum
wage, probably so much per truck or trailer load, and expect to
collect a couple of tons of paper for every three hours
Again, by hiring other people to do the actual collection work
for you, you'll not only free yourself for other work, but you'll be
making more money: Three people can do more in less time than one
The next thing is to set up an area-wide collection depot. This
could be a pre-fab building on a vacant lot, a vacant used car lot,
or a closed service station.
In setting up an area-wide (or neighborhood) collection depot,
you will need space - some sort of shed to store or stack your
papers in until you load them up and haul them to the recycling
center where you sell them. You'll need a scale to weigh them, and
some sort of office or desk space to manage your cash and books.
You'll need space enough for your customers to drive in beside
the scale and unload their papers, and at the same time an
arrangement whereby you can pay them immediately. A vacant service
station would be ideal. Your customers can pull in just as if
they were going to purchase gasoline; you could have your scales set
up between the driveways where the gas pumps are usually located,
and store your accumulating loads in the service area of the
In most cities or counties, you'll need a business license or
permit. For more details, see our report, Basic Steps To Starting
Your Own Business.
You'll need a couple of signs, one on each side of your driveway.
These will announce the fact that you buy old newspapers. They need
not be anything fancy, just simple attention-getting announcements
that you're open for business and paying money for paper. Generally,
the going rate for newspapers dropped off at a central collection
depot is $.02 per pound, and the papers need not be bundled. This
will give the sellers $40 a ton for dropping them off, and at $50 a
ton, that will work out to $10 per ton profit for you. (Again, these
rates are rising, so be sure you are absolutely current by checking
out the going price in your area.)
In addition to old newspapers, you should organize your time and
schedule to call upon all the businesses, stores and warehouses in
your area. Talk to the business owners or store managers and ask
them if you can haul away their old cardboard boxes.
If there's competition in your area, you might end up having to
pay for these boxes, provided they're clean. The thing to do is to
call upon everybody who uses paper products or cardboard boxes.
Remember, the more people you have giving you paper, the
more money you are going to make. Many already established recycling
services do not bother with the smaller stores and warehouses, but
these add up quickly if you are diligent in finding a number of
Check close by in your surrounding area, and find out if the
businesses are satisfied with their present pick-up service. Ask
first if you can "have" their old boxes; many of the smaller stores
will give them to you because it decreases the load for their
rubbish service to haul away. Where necessary, offer to pay per
pound if they'll save them for you.
As mentioned before, the important thing is to get everyone
providing paper for you - people collect and have it ready for you
to pick up when you drop by on your designated collection day.
Besides that, you start making really big money when you can park
your truck in one place and fill it up from a group of closely
located stores or businesses. With this is mind, you could
conceivably drive through four blocks, making one stop in the middle
of each block, and have a ton or more of paper or cardboard
boxes every fourth block.
One other thing you'll need in order to efficiently handle
cardboard boxes is a sharp knife with which to slit the sides of the
boxes and flatten them Out as you load them onto your truck or
trailer. A simple "handyman's utility knife" costing about $5 will
handle this chore for you with ease. When you buy one, though, be
sure to buy an extra supply of blades as well, because cutting
through cardboard will dull your knife very quickly.
Another paper products source: the offices in your area,
particularly those with computers. The age of computers has ushered
in more reports for offices than ever before, adding reams and reams
of paper to the average office trash basket. When you
visit these offices, take along a couple of "Save-a-Tree" boxes and
ask the office people to discard all their waste paper into these
boxes for you - letters, envelopes, outdated reports and files. You
can usually get the "Save-a-Tree" boxes at your recycling depot, and
when full, we're talking about 35 to 45 pounds of paper. Most
offices will fill one of these boxes in a week or two, depending, of
course, upon their volume of paperwork. And while you're on this
kind of "foraging" trip, don't forget to check in at all the print
shops. They waste and throw away almost as much paper as they sell.
It will pay you to contract for a quarter page ad, or the largest
ad available that you can afford, in the yellow pages of your area
telephone and business directories. Whether or not you advertise the
prices you pay in the ad is entirely up to you, but
generally it's not a good idea to do so, because you would be stuck
with those rates for over a year. You might word your ad to explain
that you pay one rate per pound when paper is brought to you, and
another rate when you pick up and haul away.
At the same time, you should run a regular classified ad, perhaps
even one with more words in the Contract Jobs section of your daily
paper. Your best advertising days will be Thursday through Saturday.
These are the days when people are specifically
thinking about cleaning up around the house or their offices. Also,
these are the days when people think about what they can do to earn
This is the kind of business that "snowballs" with visibility and
word-of-mouth advertising. It will definitely benefit you, then, to
join the various civic and service clubs in your area, attend their
luncheons and mingle with the business leaders in your area.
Volunteer to assist in some fund-raising events, and whenever
possible, become a guest speaker and tell about your business.
It isn't hard to stand up before a group of people and talk about
your business, particularly if you know what you're talking about
and believe in what you're saying. It does take at least an outline
of a script, perhaps a few notes, a rehearsal and the essential
ingredient of enthusiasm.
Make your talk interesting and informative. Do some research and
present statistics on how much paper the people of this country use
each year. Explain the limited supply of timber, and the need to
recycle as much as possible. Detail how these facts
and figures opened your eyes, and caused you to do something about
it - to open your own recycling center. And then, lead your talk
into explaining how the recycling business is an avenue for everyone
to benefit: the ideal fund-raising endeavor; a cleaner environment;
and a chance to preserve some forest land.
Getting free publicity for a recycling center can be easy. In
addition to serving as guest speaker before civic and service groups
in your area, you may find radio and television stations and
newspapers, and even weekly shopping guides anxious to give
you time or space.
By all means, try to get a story into these people detailing your
grand opening, follow-up with appearances on talk shows, and press
releases about the different organizations raising money by
collecting newspapers and turning them in to you. Set up a contest
among the different organizations, with prizes for the teams or
organizations collecting the most paper. Hold special "Seniors'
Days" when you pay extra for all paper turned in by persons over a
certain age. Keep an eye out for angles such as the largest amounts
turned in, and stories about your regular collectors who keep
turning in paper regularly until they attain money goals.
Emphasize in your publicity contacts that recycling is a kind of
community service that benefits all citizens. You're cleaning the
environment, conserving timber, and putting money into the pockets
of all who participate. Think about it; submit press releases to the
media; calling them and inviting them to cover human interest
stories emanating from your business!
This business takes organization, some energy on your part, and
at least in the beginning, your time. But if you put forth the
effort as we have outlined, there's no reason you shouldn't easily
realize a very comfortable income with your own RECYCLING BUSINESS.
It takes effort on your part, but if you're looking for a lucrative
business, you have here a plan to act on!