How to start a waste management business in South Africa

How to start a waste management business in South Africa

This is a guide on how to start a waste management business in South Africa.

We need to dispose of waste on a daily basis, this waste is mostly disposed in a way that is harmful to the environment. This waste is sometimes harmful and hazardous to humans. Waste management companies play a very important role in our society.

Pick a niche

Waste management is very broad, it’s often best to focus on one area of waste management. This will allow you to focus and concentrate your resources, preventing you from spreading yourself too thin. Here are some of the areas you can focus on.

Plastic recycling

Collecting plastic can be very time consuming, you would need people to collect the plastics for you and you can pay them. You need to have upwards of R50 000 to buy a good plastic recycling machine.

Rubber recycling

Normally most rubbers would go to landfill, creating waste and pollution, but natural rubber can be recycled into another product, like tyres. The price for rubber recycling machines is more or less that of plastic recycling machines.

Scrap metal business

You can buy and resell scrap metals for recycling and manufacturing. This is a very lucrative business that has good profit margins. You can setup a scrap yard, where people will come to sell their scrap metal for cash and you can later resell it.

Electronics recycling business

A lot of people tend to throw away their old or broken electronics, not realising that these electronics can be refurbished. A lot of people buy refurbished electronics, you can do this yourself and sell them to consumers or you can collect electronics on behalf of someone who will refurbish them.

Dispose of medical waste

Medical waste is disposed of by first making it safe through a sterilization process. Waste that cannot be recycled, like gauze or needles, still needs to be made sanitary and non-hazardous before it can be disposed of.

You can setup a medical waste disposal company, you will work directly with entities that are involved in the medical industry. A lot of waste needs to be disposed in this industry, there are not that many companies that specialize in this in South Africa.

Do market research

You should do a lot of market research before deciding on which niche you are going with. Try by all means to get all the relevant data that you can get. Market research is usually the difference between failure and success in this field.


1. Operating premises

You will need operating premises; this is not a business you can operate from home. You don’t need to find a commercial space but rather an industrial space. You will need to have lots of space.

2. Machinery

The equipment and machinery needed for a waste management business is very expensive. As seen above you have to have at least R50 000 for a plastic recycling machine, some machines may cost as much as R300 000.

3. Registration

You will need to register your business with the CIPC, this will cost you R175. Compliance with certain laws may be required, depending on the niche that you choose.


Marketing for a waste management business is handled differently from other businesses. This is because this is not a business to consumer type of business. This makes it hard to use traditional forms of marketing.

Your main route of marketing will depend on the niche that you choose, this industry is mostly powered by word of mouth and networking. Digital adverts are not very useful for a waste management business.


The barrier to entry to this industry is very high, this means that you will face less competition after setting up. This was a guide on how to start a waste management business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Good day. I’m Neliseka and I’m interested in the recycling business but I don’t have any clue what to do or where to start. I’ll appreciate your help. Thank you.

  2. If my company is already existing and we want to become a IT eWaste company, what are the steps that we should take?

  3. I am interested in disposal of medical waste and would appreciate more information on the required certificates or documentation. I already have a company registered.

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