Why throw things away when you can recycle them and earn some money along the way? Recycling doesn’t just keep the planet green. It also puts green in your wallet.
You can make extra money or support important causes by diverting specific products from the waste stream and keeping them out of landfills. You can recycle a wide range of items for cash, from car batteries to towels, junk cars to cardboard boxes. For the sake of goodwill, we've also included advice on how to recycle items.
How to Recycle Everyday Items
Begin with finding a recycling facility or pickup location that accepts the items you wish to dispose of. The collection center will also instruct you on how to prepare items according to their requirements.
Find a Collection Point
Go to Earth911.com and enter the item you want to recycle as well as your location to find a recycling center near you. The site provides drop-off places for antifreeze and ammunition, as well as computers and clothing.
Prepare Recyclable Items
Of course, not everything pays off, and it's critical to prepare recyclables in accordance with the organization's guidelines. If you're recycling hazardous materials, this is especially necessary.
Some centers demand that you remove bottle caps, rinse and bag bottles in specific numbers, or sort and bind cardboard together. Checking the regulations ahead of time will help you save time later.
Make careful to properly bag any goods that could cause a mess. Even if you fully rinse all of your bottles and cans, water and other residues can remain, so transport them in bins or bags to protect your car's interior.
If you're donating a mobile phone or other electronic devices, make sure all personal information is removed, including voice mails, contact lists, text messages, passwords, images, downloads, and anything else you don't want random people to see. Back up your data on your new phone, your computer, or a cloud-based service, then restore factory settings on your old phone before recycling it.
Household Goods You Can Recycle
You might be shocked to learn that there are many recyclable items around the house (and possibly in the garage) that might earn money. You can get paid to recycle various items depending on where you live, including:
- Car batteries
- Junk cars
- Bottles and cans
- Scrap metal
- Cardboard boxes
- Ink cartridges
- Cell phones and other electronics
- Wine corks
- Sheets and Towels
1. Car batteries
Customers who bring in their used car batteries will receive a $10 store gift card from Advance Auto Parts (light-duty truck batteries are also accepted). If the company doesn't have a location near you, see if your local car parts shops have similar deals.
2. Junk Cars
Have a rusty old car that you can't sell or trade-in? Even if it's beyond repair, a junkyard will pay you money for it. Vehicles contain valuable scrap metal and parts.
To get a quote, contact your local junkyard or one of the following national car recyclers:
- Junk Car Medics
- Cash Cars Buyer
You can even sell your car online or over the phone. Just enter information about your vehicles, such as their condition and mileage, to receive an offer immediately. If you accept it, you will be required to provide proof of ownership as well as a few other details before getting paid. They'll come to get your car and give you a check or cash right away.
3. Bottles and Cans
Bottle bills, as they are known in some states, are a recycling incentive. You pay a deposit of $0.05 to $0.15 for each bottle or can you purchase. Then you get your deposit back when you return them to the store where you bought them.
These 10 states have bottle bills: Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Maine, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, California, Vermont, and Oregon.
Even if you don't live in a state with a bottle bill, you can still recycle your bottles and cans and earn some money.
Aluminum is valuable in itself. Although prices vary greatly depending on where you live, you could expect between $0.60 and $0.70 per pound on average. Depending on your area, clear plastic is worth roughly $1.20 per pound, whereas opaque plastic is worth around $0.50 per pound.
4. Scrap Metal
One of the more profitable materials to recycle is scrap metal.
Scrap metals such as copper, steel, and aluminum are among the scrap metals that can be recycled for cash. Find a facility that accepts any metals you have by searching for a "scrap yard" in your area and learn about their drop-off procedures.
Once you've rounded up your metal, use a magnet to determine whether it's ferrous or non-ferrous. If the magnet sticks, the metal is ferrous, which means it's most likely iron or steel. Although these goods are often low in value, recycling them is nonetheless beneficial. If the magnet does not stick, you are most likely dealing with aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel, or bronze. These metals have a higher value.
Tubing and copper wire yields between $1 and $3 per pound, making it one of the more profitable metals. Aluminum is worth between 40 and 70 cents per pound, yellow brass is worth around $1.50 per pound, and die-cast metal is worth around 74 cents per pound, however, values vary by region.
Don't ignore old tools as a source of scrap metal. Some old tools are valuable collectibles. Before you decide to get rid of them, do some research online. Those that aren't collectibles, especially those made of tool steel, can be scrapped.
5. Cardboard Boxes
Have you recently moved and have a lot of boxes? Or do you have a small online shopping addiction, resulting in a garage full of boxes? You can trade your boxes on sites like Boxcycle and others. They will take almost anything as long as it is still in good condition and does not smell.
6. Ink Cartridges
Used ink cartridges can be recycled at a number of office supply companies, including Office Depot and Staples. Staples will pay $2 per cartridge, up to ten times a month, if you spend at least $30 on ink or toner within 180 days of recycling.
Each ink or toner cartridge you recycle at Office Depot earns you $2 in program benefits, up to 10 cartridges per month. However, you must purchase ink from them within the same month. There is no limit to how many cartridges you can recycle, but just the first 10 per month will earn you points. You can redeem your points for a variety of benefits and discounts.
7. Cell Phones
Many cell phone companies, like Verizon and AT&T, offer trade-in programs in which you can exchange your old phone for a voucher, gift card, or other rewards. Another option to earn gift cards is through Amazon Trade-in.
8. Wine Corks
Let your wine kind of pay for itself. Used wine corks can be sold on sites like Etsy, eBay, and others. It's not difficult to sell on these sites. Keep in mind that the sites charge minimal fees for both listing and selling products when setting prices.
You should also consider how much it will cost to mail an item to avoid any unpleasant surprises throughout the transaction.
9. Sheets and Towels
It's difficult to find a place to donate stained or hole-ridden home fabrics like sheets and towels, let alone recycle them for cash or a reward.
H&M's Clothes the Loop recycling program, on the other hand, accepts any brand of clothing or textiles in any condition. They give you a voucher for 15% off your next purchase at an H&M store in exchange.
Sites like Decluttr allow you to sell your old laptops, monitors, tablets, and other devices. There's more, though! DVDs, CDs, Books, Games, and Cell Phones are also welcome. You can use the Decluttr app to make selling easier.