Since millions of e-waste in the form of broken TVs, old computers, and unused mobile devices end up in landfills every year rather than recycling centers, you may be wondering what the problem is. There may not be enough recycling centers for people to easily reach them. If so, why not start your own electronics recycling business?
Here are a few things to look out for when starting an e-waste recycling business:
Get the information and knowledge you need
To be successful in electronics recycling, you need to be well versed in the consumer electronics and recycling industries. Conduct rigorous research to gain practical knowledge of these industries, including components and consumer electronic equipment manufacturing; issues affecting current and future electronics markets; and factors affecting recycling markets such as the volatility of recycled items. Gaining this vital knowledge will give you an idea of the type of electronics recycling business you will start, the competition and the scale of operations required to ensure the sustainability of the business.
Determine what kind of electronics recycling services you will offer
There are many recycling strategies when it comes to e-waste, and you can offer one or more of these services, including:
Collection – collection of used electronics from consumers
Refurbishment and resale – evaluating electronics for resale as is or after minor repairs and upgrades (refurbishment)
Discontinuance – disassembly of components for recycling or resale
Shredding – breaking up whole units and selling commodity streams for recycling
Asset recovery – management of obsolete or surplus property of large companies
Mediation is the sale of used electronic devices or components to other suppliers.
When considering these strategies, also find out who is paying the buyer: big business, small business, government, other processors, or consumers. This will help you determine your business size and inventory.
Review provincial and federal laws regarding electronic recycling.
Once you know your business strategy, research the legal requirements for starting such a business in your area. Consider the entire process, including required licenses or permits, inspection requirements, and locations for disposal of hazardous substances such as heavy metals.
Create a business plan
This will help you to better manage the details of your business. You will need to look at:
The geographic region you intend to serve
The competitive advantage of your business
Your potential suppliers and buyers
Scope and type of electronics for work
Your ability to obtain skilled / unskilled labor
Capital requirements and methods of financing a business
Potential business partners / certified electronics recycling collection companies in the area
Your marketing plan
When you understand enough to start a business, make sure that you conduct it ethically and legally. While recycling is a good thing in and of itself, sending toxic substances overseas or using intermediaries to carry out questionable transactions demonstrates a clear disregard for environmental laws