How to Choose a Recycling Market

Choosing a market for discarded materials is a critical step in beginning or expanding a recycling program. In all cases, it is a good idea to ask potential markets or recycling service providers a number of questions to understand how the marketing relationship will work. Waste generators often have a choice in who they market materials with, which makes it very important to ask questions and compare markets in order to get the best deal. Below are questions you may want to ask the potential market(s) or recycling service vendors. Although it is not necessary to ask every single question, it is important to ask the same questions to each potential market to be able to compare "apples to apples."

  • Ask about services and logistics
    • Will the market provide containers?
    • Will the market provide any processing equipment (e.g., balers)?
    • What kind of pick-up schedule can be expected?
    • What procedures are in place in the event of a missed or late pick-up?
  • Ask about specifications
    • Must the material be processed in any particular way?
    • What are possible contaminants that cause a load to be rejected?
    • Be prepared to have to send samples
  • Ask about costs and charges
    • Will there be charges for containers or pick-up services?
    • If a contract is required, does it include clauses adjusting charges for inflation?
    • Is there a discount for volume?
  • Ask about revenues for materials
    • Will the market pay for the material?
    • When can you expect payment (net 15 days, net 30 days)?
  • Ask about contracts
    • Is a contract desired by the market?
    • Does the contract require working exclusively with the market?
  • Ask about the company and about references
    • How long has the company been in business?
    • Can the market provide the names and phones numbers of other clients as references?


This directory is produced by the North Carolina Recycling Business Assistance Center (RBAC
in the Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service (DEACS ).
Recycling question or comment?  Send e-mail to:  Recycling Markets Directory Maintainer