Given the public outcry against deforestation, the need to recycle paper and save the environment from environmental hazards has risen significantly within the last two decades. Despite the digitization of files and the availability of internet storage platforms, paper still makes up over 40% of solid waste and 26% of overall global landfills. Yet, so many other pieces of papers are burnt at homes and offices across the world. Nothing less than 420 million metric tonnes of paper are used per annum, with over 15 billion trees taking the axe as a result. To save the trees and save the earth, paper recycling becomes a necessity.
In response to this, private, non-governmental bodies and government institutions have been making efforts to collect and recycle waste paper. As of 2020, the paper recycling industry was worth $45.7 million and is projected to reach over $54 before 2026 at a CAGR of 3%. Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the USA, Germany, Finland and China are some of the biggest paper recycling markets.
Nigeria produces as much as 32 million metric tonnes of waste each year, but not as much consideration is given to waste paper as is given to other solid waste materials such as plastic, rubber and scrap metal. There is very little record to tell how much paper is recycled in Nigeria per year, but there are indications that the country has a huge potential for paper waste recycling business, thanks to the volumes of papers lying in shelves in public offices all across the country ranging from the academic institutions to government offices.
Granted the necessary government attention, and an awareness of the business opportunity lying unexplored, the paper recycling industry in Nigeria is bound to yield maximum output both for the state and for interested entrepreneurs. If you have decided to start a paper recycling business in Nigeria or any other part of Africa, you will find this step-by-step guide helpful.
What Is Waste Paper?
Waste paper, otherwise known as post-consumer paper, refers to the material source which can be renewed to make repurposed paper products. Due to its widespread availability, paper is easily disposable and often burned. For all weekly newspapers not recycled across the world, over 1 million trees are wasted!
What Is A Paper Recycling Business?
A paper recycling business describes the steps and process involved in collecting, sorting and processing used papers into raw materials used for production of new paper items. Recycling paper is not only a way of curbing imports for countries that import paper but also as a way of avoiding deforestation and for saving the earth from the environmental hazards that would result from excessive deforestation.
Business Opportunities In Paper Recycling Business In Nigeria And Across The World
1). Paper Waste Collection:
One of the most basic opportunities associated with paper recycling is the role of scouting for papers around town. Collection of papers is not as demanding as collecting other types of waste materials such as scrap iron and plastic but it takes quite some efforts. The main targets are offices, print media houses, schools, computer centres, etc.
2). Paper Waste Processing:
One other vital service required in paper recycling is the actual processing of the papers. Loading the papers into pulpers and further processing at the processing plant are all employment opportunities that keep quite a handful of individuals employed in the paper recycling industry.
3). Export Services:
For waste paper collectors who would rather stick to waste paper collection and have their waste papers exported to other countries for better exchange value, export services become essential. They require the services of trusted export firms to convey the waste papers to recycling companies outside the countries at the most favourable rates.
4). Repair And Maintenance Services:
At the point of sorting and processing the waste paper, certain mechanical devices such as pulpers, real splitters, paper refiner, etc. come in handy. It is necessary to repair and service such equipment in order to get the best of them.
Facts And Benefits Of Waste Paper
- Waste paper can be recycled into tissue papers and paper bags, among others.
- Despite digitization of files, the demand for paper has increased by 400% within the past 40 years.
- More paper is used for packaging than for printing.
- The paper industry consumes 4% of energy produced across the world.
- Almost 50% of all prints done in offices end up wasted!
- Paper constitutes about 26% of global landfills and 40% of municipal solid waste.
- An average household disposes about 13,000 sheets of paper per annum.
- Recycling paper saves energy and water as well.
- Paper can be recycled for about 5 to 7 times.
- Paper recycling helps to reduce greenhouse gases.
- Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the USA, Germany, Finland and China are some of the biggest paper recycling markets.
- The Chinese were the first set of people to produce paper by hand.
- The oldest document ever written on paper was written in Greek and Arabic in 1109.
- Toilet papers were first produced in China in the 9th century.
- Some paper types are made from cloth pieces.
- Paper banknotes are actually made from cotton fibre.
- The first papers invented in 105 AD were made from hemp.
- A single pine tree can produce well over 80,000 pieces of paper.
How To Start A Paper Recycling Business In Nigeria: A Step-By-Step Guide
1). Conduct A Market Research:
A feasibility study or market research gives you an insight into the success rate of your paper recycling business in the selected area. It helps you understand the likely challenges the business will face, the startup budget, the likely volumes of paper no more in use in the locality, etc.
2). Create A Business Plan:
A business plan is basically the framework or guide for your paper recycling business. Using all available information derived through your feasibility study, document your objectives, plan, expectations and timeline of business. A business plan keeps you focused all through the course of the business.
3). Locate Your Business:
Your business site should be located very close to a business area where paper is used consistently.
4). Purchase Necessary Equipment:
Paper collection does not exactly require much equipment other than the pulper and probably a transport means that the business can afford for a start. You can manually sort the paper. However, if you intend to recycle them yourself, you also have to invest in a scale, vehicle, a utility knife for cutting down thick papers and cartons, a storage area and a recycling plant.
5). Register And License Your Business:
After setting up your business, you should register with the necessary authorized bodies and organizations such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to make your business a legal entity. If you plan to do more than just collecting waste papers and you wish to recycle them, you also have to get the required licenses and permits for recycling.
6). Employ Labour:
For a start, you could employ two or three members of staff to undertake the basic roles of collecting, sorting and transporting. However, if you intend to start on large-scale basis, you have to employ more hands.
7). Establish Web Presence:
It is advisable for modern businesses to establish their presence on the internet, especially on related websites and social media platforms through sponsored ads. You should also have your business website and digital platforms.
Challenges Of Waste Paper Recycling Business In Nigeria
- Difficulty in maintaining recycling plant and other equipment.
- Unavailability of loans for interested entrepreneurs.
- Poor attitude to paper recycling in the country.
- Low government support for the paper recycling industry.
- Startup cost could be high especially if you intend to go large-scale.
- Fluctuation in rates of waste paper at the international market.
- Distrust between exporters and paper recycling firms.
- Unfavourable international policies.
- Poor road network
- High cost of recycling equipment.
To Sum It Up
A paper recycling business is not only an avenue for making wealth out of waste but also for saving the planet. The fact that paper recycling is still relatively underexplored in Nigeria makes it a fertile ground for any serious-minded businessperson. The paper recycling business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide network. If you’re looking for a lucrative business to venture into, the paper recycling business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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