How to make money from waste collections

27th Feb 2024

Large organisations can produce a surprising amount of recyclable waste in a single day. This waste can comprise of cardboard boxes, polystyrene packaging and plastic shrink wrap to name just a few common types. In sufficient volumes, this recyclable waste is valuable if presented for collection in the correct format, enabling your business to make money from waste collections. 

It can be difficult to know where to start with this waste revenue-generating opportunity, but here is a quick introduction for those that are new to the concept. For more material and location-specific advice, contact the Waste Experts at QCR. 

What are waste collections? 

According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs June 2023 release, the UK produced nearly 41 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2020 alone.  Any that comes from commercial activity is classed as ‘business waste’. This includes anything that’s produced by a home business too.  

Different methods of disposal available to businesses include recycling, landfill, composting, and incineration. It goes without saying that recycling is the best option for the environment but, if you’re throwing away waste in large quantities into bins, your business is potentially missing out on generating an income from your recyclable waste through baling. Bales of recyclables, in sufficient quantities and of certain quality, are an attractive prospect for any Recycling Company and can generate sizable returns. 

How much is waste collection? 

Typically, the cost of waste collection is calculated by material type and volume. Commercial Waste Collections can be expensive, however it is possible to significantly reduce costs by compacting your waste first if you pay for collection based on volume. Wheelie Bin Waste Crushers are designed to squash most waste types into the most common sizes of commercial bins. However, for a bigger financial gain, savvy businesses are removing recyclable waste from bins and baling it instead to secure more value from it. 

How can I make money from waste collection? 

If your business has a lot of waste that is recyclable, you could make a good amount of money from it. However, to unlock the revenue potential of your recyclable waste, you must first bale it into easy to transport bundles using equipment commonly known as a Recycling Baler. Smaller waste baling machines are effective but to make the maximum amount of money from recyclable waste, mill size bales are required. Mill Size Recycling Balers produce these valuable mill sized bales which are sold directly to Recycling Facilities. 

Which materials can make money per collection?  

Waste materials such as cardboard and plastics baled in bulk can all be sold in large quantities for recycling to make money for your business. Recycling companies are eager to pay high prices for used polystyrene if first compacted in sufficient quantities. Textile baling is also a great way to create value from waste materials that are uncontaminated. 


A cardboard baler could be perfect solution for organisations with lots of cardboard box waste. Recycling Balers are designed to compact cardboard and are an alternative to costly commercial wheelie bins or skips. Once baled in bulk and free of contaminants, cardboard can be sold to a recycling company. This is the same process that Commercial Waste Collection Companies complete at their own site after collecting loose material from bins. Waste Baling is an easy process and adopting this practice within your waste storage area can also help to free up workspace and reduce the risk of vermin. 

Aluminium cans  

Aluminium is one of the most energy-effective materials to recycle, making empty drinks cans a highly valuable type of waste when compacted in bulk.  Drinks and food cans are endlessly recyclable. Aluminium Can Balers are an easy solution for places with large volumes of small metal can waste such as commercial kitchens, outside catering units and events venues. Bales of compacted aluminium cans can be sold for recycling. They are melted and turned into new metal products. 

Plastic Bottles  

Plastic bottles are one of the biggest problems the environment is facing today. In the UK you can dispose of the bottles responsibly in recycling bins, but if your business handles large volumes, plastic balers are a better solution. Baling plastic bottles reduces the volume of your waste as well as increasing its value as a recyclable product. 

Glass Bottles  

Many businesses find that that their bins fill up quickly with glass bottles. Because they’re bulky, they can make the costs of collection high if you are charged for disposal per bin emptied. Crushing glass is an easy way to fit more bottles into your existing bins. If every business crushed their glass prior to it being collected, fewer vehicles would be driving around on the roads. 

Polystyrene Packaging For Electricals 

Compacting polystyrene waste requires little effort with the right equipment. Simply put your loose waste material into the hopper and the machine produces highly valuable blocks that can be sold. The high value of compacted waste polystyrene in the UK in 2024 makes it a great opportunity for businesses producing high volumes or wet or dry waste. Selling polystyrene waste is a lucrative income stream for many businesses within the food processing and electronics industry.  

Explore our recycling solutions today 

New and used recycling equipment can be purchased from QCR. Our range of equipment for compacting different waste materials can quickly deliver a cost benefit for your business. Our recycling baler hire prices start at just £14.91 per week (ex VAT) and are a brilliant cost-saving idea for businesses enduring increasing waste disposal costs in 2024. Savings can be proven with a free machine trial at your own premises (subject to some geographical restrictions).  

QCR may not be able to predict the future, but our inflation-beating rental agreements offer fixed hire pricing for the duration of your contract.  

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