Start a Junkshop. Garbage is Big Business.

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 photo junkshop_zps2pnv8byi.jpgGarbage may be a dirty business to some, but for the many people (and communities) who have earned from it, it is big business.

The Recyclables’ Collection Event (of the Earthday Network Philippines, the Philippine Business for the Environment, DENR, and many other organizations) has collected over three milion — P3,143,345.00 worth of recyclables (monetary equivalent) to be exact, from garbage.

Three million is a big amount of money, and though the RCE group is in it for advocacy, you too, can do it, and earn.


Start a junkshop.

Here’s what you might need:

1. A list of recyclers.. or make connections at the Waste Markets in malls

You need to get a list of recyclers since they will be the ones to buy the junk and scraps you would accumulate. Without these buyers, you might end up becoming more like an open dumpsite, rather than a Materials Recovery Facility.

You might want to check here for the list. For waste markets schedule, check the mall websites.

Almost all malls now have their own “Waste Market” fairs. SM has a “Trash to Cash” Program which they started in 2007, and which are now held simultaneously in all its malls every first Fridays and Saturdays of the month.  Ayala does it every Friday at their mall parking lots.


What the Waste Market Offers (SM Malls)


  • scrap paper and cardboard for bathroomtissue, table napkins, bond paper, notebook
  • empty ink and toner cartridge for quality remanufactured ones
  • plastic bottles and plastic scraps for plastic household items like hangers, basins, and pails
  • used lead batteries (from cars, UPS/ voltage regulators), for chack-up coupons



  • used PET bottles (containers of softdrinks and mineral water bottles), aluminum, tin cans, scrap paper, cartons, used ink/toner cartridges, PC monitors, junk electrical appliance, used lead acid batteries (from cars, UPS/voltage regulators, busted rechargeable lamps)


2. A weighing scale

This is probably the most important “gadget” a junkshop operator has, since your income will be dependent on the “kilos” — how much everything weighs. Every kilo has a price depending on the current market value of recyclables. Of course, aside from the calculator where you would compute your earnings.

3. Water/Cleaning Materials

You definitely need to “clean” — scrub and empty bottles and cans, before you store them so your junk shop would not get infested with flies and roaches.

4. An open space

This would be your Materials Recovery Facility where you would have to segregate garbage. If you have no idea on segregation, download this segregation poster guide by the United Nations Development Programme.

5. A simple kariton, an ecobike, or a truck

This is necessary especially if you will be buying waste in bulk. If you are trying to go big time, you would need a truck. This is also necessary if you do not have an open space since you would just have to go from being a junk “shop” to becoming a junk “system” — in the environment sector parlance, this means from operating a “Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)” to implementing a “Materials Recovery System (MRS)”.

With an MRS, you wouldnt be needing an open space. You would just be like a “transporter” of wastes — collecting and weighing segregated wastes from neighborhoods, and then heading to the recyclers to exchange everything you would have collected to cash.

By the way, you could also trade your collected garbage for cash at the waste markets.

In a nutshell: collect-segregate-transport-earn


Iva Maurin

Iva is a Communications Specialist with an over-a-decade experience in environmental community work in the Philippines. As an environment educator, she focuses on events organization and IEC materials development. She’s now based in California and works in publications in San Francisco. She’s also the Creative Content Editor for the Global Filipino Network.

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34 thoughts on “Start a Junkshop. Garbage is Big Business.

  1. Hannah Victoria Loresca

    This is a great blog! In our school, there is this big (as in BIG like 10 students could fit in) “cage” where we put all our empty bottles. I think our school sells the empty bottles every week to a particular junk shop. Also, we do a program every September of the year. This program is all about making recycled materials into a beautiful dress which, in every sections, there is a representative that will wear it. I think, the aim of this program is to make us, the students, realize that not all garbage are garbage. They can still be useful just like what’s all about in this blog! As a student, I appreciate your encouragement in saving our environment from destruction and make our world a better home.

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