How Much Profit Does a Recycling Center Make?

by Lorna Hordos; Updated September 26, 2017
In the recycling business, one man's junk is another man's treasure.

Recycling businesses are everywhere. When we drop off our recyclables at a recycling center, someone else is ready to sort, melt down, compact, bundle or dismantle them for a profit. In the recycling business, one man's junk is, literally, another man's treasure.

Household Consignment Centers

A consignment center for recycling household items, or second-hand store, may split the profit from 20 to 50 percent with the consignee. Sometimes these businesses make a full 100 percent profit when the items are dropped off as a donation.

Paper Recycling

Recycling old newspapers could garner a profit of $50 per ton. Cardboard may profit $75 per ton, and office paper a whopping $2120 per ton. A growing paper recycling business needs abundant space and usually pays community groups and schools to collect paper for them. The increased production increases profit.

Scrap Metal Recycling

The profit for scrap metal will vary depending on the current price of metal. Typically, the profit will average 50 percent for most recycled metals. The spike in the price of gold sparked the latest gold jewelry recycling craze netting a profit of about 100 percent.
According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., the United States exported $7.4 billion in scrap metal to China alone in 2009.

About the Author

Lorna Hordos is a home-flipping business owner and freelance writer. She writes friendly, conversational business, home and lifestyle articles for Bizfluent, azcentral, Daltile, Marazzi, Lowes, Philips Lighting, WordPress.com and numerous other publications.

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