23 Tips to Make Money on Western Metal Recycling Business



Western metal recycling: BusinessHAB.com

1. The Background:

Western metal recycling: Recycling not only benefits the environment – it can also benefit you by giving you some extra money. In states and countries with “bottle bills,” you can redeem deposits on bottles and cans by bringing them to recycling centers. Start by figuring out if you have a bottle bill where you live and finding your local recycling center. Collect bottles and cans, sort them, and turn them in. Recycling centers will pay you by the weight or number of items turned in. In states/provinces/countries with a bottle deposit, you will receive a designated deposit value by weight or count. In places without a deposit, you will be paid by the weight and material type based on the current scrap value.

Western metal recycling

2. Learn if your state or country has container deposit laws.

Container deposit laws, also known as bottle bills, require beverages to be sold with a refundable deposit for each container. You’re charged the deposit for each container on top of the beverage price. For example, in Oregon, if you purchase a six pack for $6.99, it would have a line item for $0.60 representing six containers at 10 cents each. You will lose the deposit fee if you do not return the containers. You could also return littered containers or those given to you by others who chose not to redeem them themselves and have a positive cash flow. There are ten states with a state container deposit law.

  • 5 cent: Connecticut, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts and New York.
  • California: 5 cents up to 24oz, 10 cents over 24oz. In California, you’re entitled to opt for quantity counting up to 50 pieces. Many water bottles will result in payout of only about $1.16 per 50 instead of the full $2.50 (0.05 x 50) due to their thin walled light weight design(see reference for details)
  • Maine: 5 cents on most things. 15 cents on liquor and wine containers; including canned wine.
  • Oregon and Michigan: 10 cents on all containers subject to deposit.
  • Vermont: 5 cents in general. 15 cents on liquor and spirits.
  • Containers may only be redeemed in the state where the deposit was paid. A large quantity of them can still be sold to a recycling facility by the weight for the material value.
  • It’s illegal to go to another state to redeem your bottles and cans.
  • Many countries outside the US also have container deposit laws. To find out if your country, state, or province has a container deposit law you can visit http://www.bottlebill.org/index.php, and look under the tab “Current and Proposed Laws.”

    Western metal recycling

3. Locate nearby recycling centers by searching online.

Just search for your city and the words “recycling center.” Recycling centers that accept cans and bottles might be at big recycling plants or even at your local grocery store.

  • Most recycling centers limit how many containers a person or group may turn in per day, and some only allow county residents to recycle there, so make sure to read the requirements before you go.

4. Learn which items can be redeemed.

Go to your local recycling center’s website to learn what items they accept. If they don’t have clear guidelines, call them. The ten states with bottle deposit will accept aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles from soda and beer. Specific rules and applicable rules can vary considerably between states.

  • Some recycling centers also require that certain beverage containers have a stamp indicating that the item came from that store or the distributor who wholesaled the beverage to that store.

    Western metal recycling

5. Start by collecting items in your own home.

Instead of just tossing cans and bottles in the trash or recycling, start a separate bin where you collect items you can redeem for a deposit. Tell everyone in your household about this new system, so they don’t continue tossing away your opportunity to make money.

  • This works especially well if you have a lot of people in your household who drink processed beverages.
  • If you’re in an area with high vagrancy activity, avoid storing containers in your backyard or in your garage that is in the view from the street. Thefts targeting deposit bottles for their cash value has been known to happen.

6. Collect cans and bottles from friends or neighbours or at work.

Don’t go rifling through other people’s trash without permission, because many states have laws against this. However, you can ask people to set aside cans and bottles for you. Many people don’t want to go to the bother of going to a recycling center themselves and will be happy to have you take their trash away.

  • As an incentive to get people to set aside their bottles and cans for you, you can offer them a cut of the profit you make.
  • Make sure to get permission from your employer before taking away cans from the break room.

    Western metal recycling

7. Look for labels showing that the can or bottle is a deposit container.

Aluminium cans are labelled as deposit containers either by having the label stamped into the container top or printed on the bottom. Bottles have the information printed on the neck or side labels.

  • Because beverage containers and their labels are mass produced at bottling plant to accommodate a large market area, identifiers identify all the states with a bottle deposit.
  • Remember, if a can or bottles have not been purchased in your state, you should still recycle it, either by taking it to a recycling center or through your city’s curbside recycling program. Whether or not it has the labelling, it is generally unlawful to claim redemption in the state other than where they were purchased. You maybe subject to substantial penalties for doing so.

    Western metal recycling


8. Present containers in conditions set by the local law or recycling facility.

Empty cans and bottles are usually required to be reasonably clean and free of contaminants. If and when required and such a policy is allowed by state law, it is possible to straighten bent cans by inserting a wooden or metal rod into the can and pushing out against the sides of the can if required. (Don’t push hard enough to tear the can’s sides, however.) Plastic bottles can be straightened in the same fashion or by blowing air into them. In Oregon, it is unlawful for recycling facility to refuse redemption for the simple reason they’re “crushed”, however it is legal for them to refuse containers that are crushed in such a way that they’ve already been redeemed in a redemption machine and stolen from a facility  It makes sense to crush 2 liter bottles for the reason of space constraint if your local law or facility allows crushed bottles.

  • Recycling centers can refuse materials if conditions or contamination level do not meet the requirements.
  • Check with the facility where you’re bringing your cans and bottles. If you’re being paid based on weight, for instance, you can typically crush the cans, bag them, and take them to the facility.

    Western metal recycling

9. Gather enough cans and bottles to be worth the time and fuel expense.

Try to gather the maximum number of deposit containers that a recycling canter accepts before you turn in your cans and bottles. In Oregon, Maine and New York, there’s a subscription based service which allows you to co-mingle any containers that has a deposit in the state you’re returning them in and drop off the filled bags to receive payment later.

  • Go to your nearest recycling canter’s website or give them a call to figure out what their maximum is.

10. Prepare your returns according to local policies and practices.

Some deposit canters require cans and bottles to be separated from each other. The cardboard box in which you purchased the beer in works the best for returning those bottles. Put bottles in cardboard boxes or plastic milk crates to easily move them to the recycling canter. The best way to turn in aluminium cans is usually to put them on cardboard flats, the shallow boxes in which cans are delivered to the grocery store. These flats usually hold 24 cans apiece, which will help you count the number of containers you have and get a rough idea of how much money you’ll get when you cash in.

  • Organize your redeemable containers as required or requested in your area or your situation. You may be asked to sort by material type, brand and/or size.

    Western metal recycling

11. Turn your cans and bottles in and collect money or a receipt.

It helps to know in advance how many cans and bottles you’re turning in, as many recycling canters will ask you how many containers you have instead of counting them for you. Some places will pay by weight, instead of by count. You may either be paid at the center itself or given a receipt to take to the store to receive your money.

You can purchase beverages in bulk at an adjoining state without a deposit as long as you don’t redeem them. This way you don’t pay a deposit on something you’ll consume away from home.

Western metal recycling

12. Things You’ll Need

  • Cardboard boxes and flats
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Bottles and cans
  • boxes that beer came in

Strategies to work with Western metal recycling

Working with Western metal recycling involves understanding the dynamics of the metal recycling industry in Western countries and developing strategies to effectively participate in it. Here are some strategies to consider:

13. Understand Market Trends:

Stay informed about market trends in the Western metal recycling industry. Follow commodity prices, demand for different types of metals, and regulatory changes that may impact recycling practices.

14. Build Relationships:

Cultivate relationships with metal recyclers, scrap yards, and other industry stakeholders in Western countries. Networking can help you stay informed about market conditions, find new sources of scrap metal, and identify potential buyers for recycled materials.

15. Invest in Technology:

Invest in technology and equipment that can improve your metal recycling operations. This might include advanced sorting machinery, metal shredders, and other equipment that can help you process scrap metal more efficiently and cost-effectively.

16. Comply with Regulations:

Familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal regulations governing metal recycling in Western countries. Ensure that your operations comply with environmental regulations, waste management standards, and other legal requirements.

17. Promote Sustainability:

Emphasize the environmental benefits of metal recycling in your marketing and communications efforts. Highlight the energy savings, reduced carbon emissions, and conservation of natural resources that result from recycling metal rather than producing it from raw materials.

18. Educate Customers:

Educate your customers about the importance of recycling metal and the benefits of working with your recycling business. Provide information about the recycling process, the types of materials you accept, and the environmental impact of metal recycling.

19. Diversify Your Offerings:

Explore opportunities to diversify your metal recycling offerings. Consider expanding into related areas such as electronic waste recycling, automotive recycling, or industrial recycling to capture new revenue streams and meet the evolving needs of your customers.

20. Focus on Quality Control:

Implement robust quality control measures to ensure that the recycled metal you produce meets industry standards and customer expectations. Invest in testing and inspection procedures to identify and address any issues with metal purity, composition, or integrity.

21. Stay Flexible:

Be prepared to adapt to changes in the market and industry conditions. Stay flexible in your operations and strategic planning, and be willing to adjust your approach in response to shifting demand, regulatory requirements, and other external factors.

22. Embrace Innovation:

Embrace innovation and explore new technologies, processes, and business models that can help you stay competitive in the Western metal recycling industry. Look for opportunities to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and differentiate your business from competitors.

Western metal recycling

23. More tips

  • Police professionals advise against leaving redeemable containers in the curb side recycling bin, because they attract unwanted persons to the neighbourhood. They suggest you redeem them yourself.

  • Collecting redeemable containers can be a good way for organizations to raise money. Several people can gather and turn in deposit containers and non-deposit aluminium cans at one time, increasing the amount the organization can earn at one time. In Oregon, lawful 501c3 non-profit organizations can setup an account which allows practically unlimited quantities at a time.

  • Taking containers out of recycling bins is illegal in some areas.

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