We’re huge fans of recycling. It’s good for the planet, the turtles – and aligning our moral compass. But did you know you could also save and, most importantly, make money recycling?
Yup, your plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, old phones, and many others were once-awesome things could be turned to cash that you can spend, save or invest.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s very different from the other ways to make money I’ve shared, and sounds very, well, outlandish.
I get your point – but don’t be fooled. Think outside the (cardboard) box.
You can make good money recycling – and it’s super easy because you already have everything you need to get started. In fact, not doing it would be literally throwing away an opportunity to make money.
Plus, it comes with a boost of happiness and satisfaction since you prevent things from ending up in landfills, break the waste cycle, and promote a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
Interested in learning more? Cool – let’s get to it!
Here’s how you can start recycling for cash.
1. Turn your bottles and cans into cash
No one like seeing empty bottles and cans lying around after a party or a big family event. It’s a sad sight – mainly because you know you’ll be the one who needs to get rid of it all somehow.
Want an easy way to do that – and make money? Cash them in!
Many states will pay you for returning your used bottles and cans.
While we’re not suggesting you go collecting bottles and cans from your neighbors’ gardens (unless, of course, they’re happy for you to do that), cashing in the bottles and cans that have accumulated in your household is a smart way to make money without doing much.
The deposits offered will differ between states. For example, in Michigan, you’ll get 10 cents for most plastic and glass bottles or cans, while many other states offer only 5 cents. Don’t laugh, but the 10 cent deposit has led to some people illegally smuggling in cans! We don’t recommend doing that, though.
Check the bottle and can deposit rates in your local area to find out how much you could get.
2. Make money from used ink cartridges
Got a bunch of empty ink cartridges in your drawer? You can make good money (and get rid of clutter) by selling or recycling them.
Each empty ink cartridge you turn in could earn you $2 store credit. If you use a lot of ink, you could be making up to $20 a month! Just imagine all the things you could buy with that (more ink?).
Alternatively, you could sell your ink cartridges on sites like Craiglist or eBay. Using Craiglist for selling stuff is super easy since you can create a location-specific post and sell to people in your area. Make sure you don’t share too much of your private information on Craiglist and always be cautious. Scams happen, you know.
Selling on eBay may require a little more effort – but you can also make more than just a couple of dollars. We’ve seen 8 empty ink cartridges being sold for nearly $40 – and that’s pretty good.
3. Recycle scrap metal for cash
Metal is definitely one of the most sought-after materials when it comes to recycling. Steel is actually the most recycled material on the planet. Why? Because it can be recycled over and over again without any degradation in its performance.
So, if you’re looking to clean up your backyard, help the environment, and make some money – recycling scrap metal is the right thing to do.
What sort of stuff can you recycle? The list is endless.
Bear in mind that metals that are ferrous (like steel or iron) are worth less than non-ferrous metals like copper, brass, aluminum, bronze, or stainless steel.
A good way to determine whether a metal is ferrous or non-ferrous is by using a magnet. If the magnet sticks to it – it’s ferrous. Non-ferrous is what you want to be going for to make the big bucks – but remember that recycling the ferrous metals is just as good for the environment!
Some examples of items that’ll help you make more money are:
Copper: phones, electrical cords, the clean copper wire inside the wiring of your house.
Aluminum: drink vessels, wheels from your car, cylinders from engines, cores from air-conditioning units, etc.
Brass: sink taps, old plumbing joints, pumps, valves, machinery parts, etc.
Stainless steel: water filters, food container – and many other kitchen accessories and cookware.
So, round up your metal and take it all to the nearest scrapyard for a cash reward. Not sure where to find your local scrapyard? Don’t worry, there’s an app for that! iScrapApp will help you locate your nearest scrapyard in no time.
4. Sell your electronics
If you’re someone who has a couple of old phones lying around “just in case you ever need them,” sorry to burst your bubble – but you’re lying to yourself.
You won’t need them. What you need to do is recycle those phones and make some money you can use towards a new device that’ll be a lot more useful.
Plenty of companies offer cash for tech. Take Gazelle, for example. It’s a platform which allows you to sell your old phone or buy a used phone.
Gazelle takes all the hard work out of selling used tech: all you need to do is tell the site what you want to sell, and it’ll give you a price. You’ll then ship your item off to Gazelle for free in a box the site will send you – and they’ll pay through PayPal, check, or Amazon Gift Card. Ideal.
Another site you could use is Eco-Cell. It accepts old phones, rechargeable batteries, phones, and other tech – whether they’re in a working condition or broken. The company’s ethos is to prevent these items from ending up in a landfill – and you can contribute to that (while making money)!
You can also use sites that have trade-in programs, meaning you’ll receive a voucher or gift card in return for an old phone. Amazon Trade-in is one of such stores – and it could earn you some serious money in the form of gift cards.
Finally, if you think you can get more money by selling your phone yourself, there are plenty of ways to do so. Sites like eBay will be a great platform for that.
5. Wine corks equal cash
Big news, everyone. Your wine corks are worth money! Yes – you can turn your pile of wine corks that have accumulated over the years into cash. I know it’s odd, but corks are a heavily used resource.
While recycling corks won’t make you a millionaire – it’ll definitely pay for another wine bottle (or two).
So, how does one turn wine corks into cash? eBay is a great place to start. You’ll find all kinds of weird items being sold on eBay, wine corks included. You can sell them in lots of say, 10, 20 – or a lot more (depends on how much you have loved wine over the past years!).
6. Recycle your old car batteries for money
There’s no use for car batteries once they start breaking down.
You can get paid as much as $10 per battery. Not bad for something that would have just been left lying around in your garage, right?
7. Make money recycling old books
Got a stack of books you know you’ll never ever read again? Used textbooks, dictionaries – and other stuff that used to be read – but are now collecting dust in your bookshelf?
Then recycle them to make some extra cash!
Sites like BookScouter are great for quickly selling textbooks you no longer need. Enter the book’s ISBN to see how much you can get for it.
DeCluttr is another useful site for book-selling. They buy used textbooks, tech, games, and other stuff. All you’ll need to do is to type in the barcode of the book you want to sell – and you’ll get an instant price. You will then pack the items up in a box – and ship them off using a free shipping label DeCluttr will have sent to you.
The final takeaway
Making money doesn’t have to be limited to the traditional sources.
Original ways to make extra money are all around us, and it’s our job to spot and use them. Recycling things you no longer need or use is a great way to earn some extra money while showing that you’re not indifferent to the waste crisis – and are doing something about it.
So, have a good look around – what can you turn into cash right now?
Tell us what you’ve managed to recycle, and how. How much money did you make? Do you have any other recommendations for recycling for cash? Share them with us. Sharing is caring, after all.
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This article was contributed by Ema Globyte.
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