11 Jul The 5 Most Profitable Items for a Recycling Center

The 5 Most Profitable Items for a Recycling Center

Not only is recycling great for the environment, it also has the added benefit of being extremely profitable if you are receiving the right items from people. Whether you are simply flipping these old items, or repurposing them and selling them after the fact, recycled goods are a wonderful way to make money.

1. Aluminum cans and plastic bottles.

profit from recyclingA new trend has started recently in most homes: The act of collecting aluminum cans and plastic bottles and putting them in a separate bag than the rest of your trash. Many people do it casually, while a select few collect bottles and cans almost religiously, even going to the point where they might ask their family and friends to collect cans for them as well. While a single bottle or can will only earn your business five to ten cents, if you are able to attract the type of people who collect a lot of bottles and cans to your recycling center, the money can quickly add up.

2. Old cooking oil.

Used cooking oil is a niche market, you will most likely be hard pressed to find someone who is able to recycle large quantities of it. You might be wondering: “Why would I want to get people to bring used cooking oil to my recycling center?”. One little known fact about used cooking oil is the fact that it can be refined into diesel fuel. The process isn’t too complicated, and if you can find people who are recycling used cooking oil and someone who is trying to buy diesel fuel, it can make for a wonderful way to make money for your business.

3. Old electronics, computers, and appliances.

Another new heavily recycled item are any devices that include electronic components. If your recycling center can advertise to the people in your recycling center’s area that you are collecting old or broken items, such as calculators, washing machines, laptops, desktops, phones, microwaves, etc. it can be extremely profitable. Due to the fact that most newer electronics include rare metals such as gold inside, you can harvest these rare metals if you know how the process works.

4. Car batteries.

One downside to car batteries is the fact that so many other places will try to coax their customers into recycling their car batteries at their store, automotive shops, repair shops,and even some department stores, are trying to collect used car batteries. Not only are they bad for the environment, they can be extremely useful in a variety of projects, some people are even using them to make working solar cells, meaning you can sell them for a good amount of money.

5. Scrap metal.

Most of the things in our life require some sort of metal, which is why scrap metal can be extremely profitable. Even better yet, scrap metal is also found in abundance almost everywhere, even on the side of the road in most cities, meaning people in your area wanting to make money recycling will bring it to you often, and most likely in large quantities. On top of all of this, most appliances and electronics also have scrap metal that can be ripped from them, such as the body of a large appliance. Scrap metal has the added bonus of being great for projects. Whether you melt the metal down and sell the ingots, or find people who are looking for certain pieces from appliances, such as the drum from a washing machine, scrap metal is always in demand.


Starting as a recycling center can be hard, but one of the most important things you can do is inform the public about the items they can recycle at your center, and encourage them to do so. When you need equipment for recycling, consult with H-West Equipment to determine the equipment that is best for your facility. We sell every piece of equipment necessary, from Balers to Compactors, to Shredders, Conveyors, and much more throughout California, Arizona, Nevada and Northern Mexico. We also provide expert service throughout the same coverage area. For consultation, or to schedule service, reach us through our contact form or call us at (714) 289-7733 today!