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How to Make Money Recycling Construction Waste

It has been said that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Nowhere is this more true than in the field of construction. Because of time constraints and economies of scale, many contractors simply throw away materials that could easily be recycled, reused or sold. Wood, steel, aluminum, copper and good quality doors and windows are all easily reusable and have a market value. An enterprising individual starting with just a truck and a plan can simultaneously make some money and keep valuable resources from going to the landfill. You will need confidence, focus, and the willingness to make connections with contractors, recyclers, and salvage yards.

Things You'll Need

  • Truck
  • Recyclable materials
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  1. Make Contacts and Get the Goods

    • 1

      Network with everyone you can find who has a say in what happens to construction waste. This includes contractors, waste management officials at city hall, owners of recycling plants and salvage yards and home renovators. Focus on cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with these people, and you are bound to succeed. Approach people with a plan to save them work and make them money, rather than asking for a favor. You won't be lying: The owner of a recycling firm in Bellingham, Washington, helped a client sell 1,400 windows and make $23,000. The client had been planning to dump them at a cost of $2,000 to $3,000. (see References 1)

    • 2

      Start small: Get a truck and get out there. Contractors and home renovators are throwing things away every day, and they are paying to do it. If you show up and offer to take things away for free, most people will not complain. You will need to have established contacts, or your home will very quickly become a garbage dump. Don't take something until you know where it is headed; it should go directly from where you pick it up to its final destination.

    • 3

      Do your research and be realistic. While there is a market for materials ranging from wood to metals to architectural features, there are other materials that really are garbage. Old, worn out or dirty carpets, smashed up lowered ceilings, and things of that nature, unless they can be broken down into raw materials (for example, the aluminum frames in lowered ceilings), are only going to cost you money and give you a headache. Recycle within your limits, and always be on the lookout about how to expand those limits.

    • 4

      Once you have established yourself, consider expanding. There are great opportunities for heavy-duty recycling of things such as concrete and asphalt, but involvement in these things will require some serious equipment. Another option is consulting; learn the ropes and make the contacts, and you can profit without ever touching the materials.