Did you know that a recycled bin can save enough energy to power a television for three hours? Or that thrifting for a shirt instead of buying a new one can save over 700 gallons of water?
Yes! Your plastic bottles, old books, car batteries, old phones, and many other things can make money for you that you can spend, invest, or save.
This might not be a constant way to make money, but the money can be of great help whenever it comes.
Interested to see what you can recycle to make money? Great – let’s get to it!
At the most basic level, recycling reduces the total amount of waste in our environment. Although a 100% recycled product cannot generally make a product (a certain amount of new material must be added).
However, you can make great money from recycling and it is easy to achieve since you already have what you need to begin.
Here are 15 surprising ways you can make extra money from recycling your old stuff.
15 Ways to Make Money from Recycling in 2022
The different ways to make extra money are all around you, and it’s our duty to help you spot them. Earning money doesn’t have to be limited to traditional sources, it can go the extra mile.
Recycling things you no longer need or use is a great way to earn extra cash.
Recycling is cost effective and you can even make money from it.
#1. Recycle Your Old Car Batteries
Car batteries becomes useless once they start to break down.
Fortunately, you can turn them into cash at your next auto parts stores like Advance Auto or AutoZone.
You can get paid up to $10 per battery. Not bad for something that would have been left lying around in your garage, right?
#2. Recycling Old Book
Your used textbooks, dictionaries, novel and other books at your library busy gathering dust can be of great help to another.
If you have a pile of books that won’t be used by you again, you can auction them and get paid.
DeCluttr is a great site to sell books. They buy used books, technology, games, and other things. All you have to do is type in the barcode of the book you want to sell and you will get an instant price.
You will then pack the items in a box and ship them using a free shipping label that DeCluttr sends you.
Amazon Trade-In is also great for quickly selling textbooks you no longer need. Enter the book’s ISBN to see how many you can get.
#3. Make Money Selling Scrap Metal
Metal is one of the most popular materials in recycling. Steel is toping the chart because it can be recycled over and over again without compromising performance.
So if you have non-ferrous metals that you don’t use such as copper, brass, aluminum, bronze, or stainless steel, you can make good money from it.
So if you’re looking to clean up your yard, protect the environment, and earn money, recycling scrap is the right thing to do.
#4. Sell Your Glass Bottles
Do you want an easy way to do it and earn money? Then sell your used glass bottles.
Many states will pay you for the return of your used bottles and cans.
While we don’t suggest that you go picking up bottles and cans from your neighbor’s garden, you can remove any bottles and cans that litter around your household.
#5. Recycle Your Ink Cartridges
If you have a bunch of ink cartridges in your drawer, you can make a lot of money by selling or recycling them.
You can sell your ink cartridges on sites like Craigslist or eBay. Selling stuff online is so easy because you can create a location-specific post and sell it to people in your area.
Each empty ink cartridge you turn in could generate $2 in-store credit.
#6. Sell Wine Corks on eBay
If you’re a wine fan, you can turn your pile of wine corks accumulated over the years into cash.
eBay is a great place to start selling off your wine cork. You can sell them in a bunch, say 10, 20, – or a lot more.
While recycling corks won’t make you a millionaire, it will definitely pay for another bottle of wine (or two).
#7. Sell Your Electronics
Your old electronics can give you extra cash in your pocket. For instance, if have a few old phones lying around, you can sell them off as scrap and make cool cash from them.
Many companies are offering money for technology. Take Decluttr, for example. It is a platform that allows you to sell your old phone, tablet, watch or even buy used phones.
All you need to do is recycle those phones and earn cash that you can use for a new device.
#8. Recycle Your Used Cardboard Boxes
Used cardboard can serve as another source of additional income.
If you make your orders from Amazon, you probably will have a lot of cardboard boxes. Instead of piling them up for children to play with and litter the place, you can sell them off or recycle them.
What you may not know is that there are places where you will pay for your used cardboard.
For example, BoxCycle allows you to list your cardboard boxes online and then locate buyers willing to stop by and pick up your box and refund you, with the money held by BoxCycle and then returned via PayPal upon pickup.
#9. Recycle Your Disposable Working Fridges and A/Cs
Your old refrigerator in your house can’t be totally inefficient. You can actually recycle them and make money out of it.
For instance, “I recall moving to a new house and I found an old refrigerator in the house for the previous occupant. I was ready to move it out, not until I found out that the local utility around us can pay to take it.
I practically made a $50 gift card from the recycling program.”
These recycling programs also accept working air conditioners, when you recycle a refrigerator, and pay $25 for them. However, not all utility companies offer this, so check yours first.
#10. Sell Your Used Cooking Oil
Biodiesel is a huge industry, and they need to be used as cooking oil.
#11. Make Money Recycling Your Junk Mail
Cooking oil is not the only thing you can recycle. Junk mail is another thing that can generate additional income.
An average American receives up to 30 junk mail years.
This can be an unwanted thing for you but what you call unwanted for you can be gold to marketing researchers studying direct mail advertising.
For example, the Small Business Knowledge Center will pay you to send them your spam and email offers for products and services like credit cards, insurance, telecommunications, and clothing.
#12. Recycle Your Receipts
Market researchers are also interested in receipts for items you buy from the store.
For example, some market research services are willing to refund your receipts.
All you need to do is to Take a photo of your purchase receipt to qualify for cash. Once your account reaches $20, you can request a check by mail. You can also earn money by referring friends who use offers.
#13. Recycle Your Aluminium
Aluminum recycling is one of the most popular forms of recycling. In fact, aluminum is one of the easiest materials to recycle, as well as one of the most valuable.
The energy saved by recycling aluminum can be enough to be able to listen to an entire album on an iPod.
Americans receive $800 million a year from recycling aluminum. Surprisingly, that’s only 67% of all aluminum cans – another billion dollars are thrown away.
If you don’t currently recycle all of your aluminum, returning it is the easiest way to recycle money.
#14. Join RecycleBank
RecycleBank is a program that will give you points for making (and keeping) various commitments, like joining a community garden.
You earn points for all of these activities, and these can be redeemed for local deals. For example, you can convert 50 points into a coupon for $1 off of $5.
#15. TerraCycle Programs
TerraCycle is an organization that works with businesses and other benefactors to create recycling programs for hard-to-recycle items.
These are things your local recycling facility isn’t equipped to handle, like single-serve baby food bags, chip bags, and plastic toothpaste tubes.
The best thing about this program is that you can recycle hard-to-recycle items and you can earn points for a non-profit organization or a school.
The point system gives you 2 points for shipments over 7 pounds and every 1,000 points can be redeemed for $10.
How To Recycle Your Used Stuff
Not all items can be recycled, but there are ways to reduce single-use waste, recyclable or not. Here are a few of them:
Textile factories are among the biggest polluters on the planet, and the average person uses more than 80 pounds of clothing and fabrics a year.
Thrifting can help offset this waste and save you money at the same time.
#2. Donate them
When cleaning your cabinets, don’t throw away that board game, those too-small shoes, or that stack of DVDs.
Instead, set up a donation box for items that can go to local goodwill: clothing, kitchen items, bedding, and even some types of furniture and electronics.
Plus, 90% of the proceeds from your donations will go to nonprofit services in the community – it’s a win-win solution.
#3. Adopt Compost Method
From potato peels and apple pits to coffee grounds, eggshells, and even pizza boxes, a surprising amount of waste can be composted.
If you can install a compost bin or have a community program nearby, try composting. It could cut household waste in half while helping to cut carbon dioxide emissions from landfills.
You can extend the life of an item by finding unconventional ways to reuse it. Use this empty glass candle jar to store rubber bands or cotton swabs.
Transform this worn t-shirt into a dusting cloth, cat toy, or woven rug. Breathe new life into that old patio chair with a coat of spray paint.
If you have children, encourage them to take an active role in recycling and repairing household items.
What You Need to Know About Recycling Companies
Waste recycling is a great opportunity for companies dealing with waste management. To make money from this, you need to know a thing or two about the entire process.
First, you need to determine the correct location for your business – it needs to be built somewhere around a good stash of junk because you want your business to keep running for a long time.
Second, it is always good to partner with local garbage collectors.
Third, find out what licenses you need and the specific legislation. These licenses are a license or an operating permit; inspection and compliance with safety regulations; environmental license.
Fourth, find out about the solid waste management plan of the municipality or region where you are about to start your business.
Making money by recycling waste is one of the most debated topics among waste treatment companies. It is a resource that has accompanied us from the beginning of human activity. You can recycle it or use it to generate energy. Either way, you can turn those tons of junk into treasure.