Recycle, reduce, reuse, and make that paper, booboo! We’ve searched everywhere to bring you the little-known tips and tricks for making cash recycling stuff that other people usually just toss in the bin. Plus, it helps that you’re doing the right thing!
So if you’re looking for how to make money recycling electronics, cans, glass, plastic bottles, used tires, and more, keep reading!
How to Make Money Recycling
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Recycling Metal & Glass for Money
The first thing that people think about when they think about recycling for money is usually aluminum cans and glass bottles. But there’s a lot more to be made from other glass and metal products, as well. So let’s get to it.
Make Money Recycling Aluminum Cans
Turning in aluminum cans is one of the easiest ways to make money recycling. It’s definitely worth it to start collecting cans and making an extra trip to your local scrap metal recycler every once in a while, especially if you live in a state with a higher aluminum payout rate.
Since aluminum is one of the most valuable and easiest types of metal to recycle, it’s also one of the most popular materials to recycle. Because of this, there are many recycling programs around the country that you can use to start recycling cans for money.
On average, you can get paid a little over $0.80 per pound of aluminum, with states like Michigan and California paying out close to $0.10 per can. That’s $3.20 a pound just for recycling a bunch of cans!
In the US, only about 67% of all aluminum cans are recycled every year, but that brings in a total of around $800 million for those taking their cans to be recycled. If all aluminum cans were recycled, that would make an extra $1 billion to split.
Don’t haul your cans across state lines to get a better rate, though. This is considered smuggling in many places and you can be legally prosecuted for it.
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Make Money Recycling Glass Bottles
Just as there is money to be made recycling aluminum cans, there’s also money to be made recycling glass bottles as you can cash them in for money!
If you live in a state with a bottle bill, you can redeem your glass bottles for money in the same way that you redeem your aluminum cans for money. It’s usually about 5 to 10 cents a bottle, but you’ll have to check with your state for more details.
Currently, the following states have bottle bills and will pay you for recycling your glass bottles:
- New York
If you don’t live in a state that offers money for glass bottles, try lobbying them to enact a bottle bill!
Make Money Recycling Scrap Metal
Another material that’s easy to make a good bit of coin recycling is scrap metal. You’ve probably seen headlines or scenes in TV and movies about people stealing or dumpster diving for scrap metal. Because scrap metal is so profitable, this really isn’t uncommon.
Aside from aluminum, copper and brass are the most profitable and easiest to sell scrap recycling metals. These metals are classified as non-ferrous, meaning that they do not contain iron. Non-ferrous metals are the most valuable when recycling metal for cash.
When collecting metal for scrap, you can tell whether something is ferrous or non-ferrous by checking it with a simple magnet.
If the magnet sticks, it’s a ferrous metal like iron or steel. While you won’t be able to make money off of it, it’s still important to have it recycled.
When a magnet doesn’t stick to the metal, it is most likely a valuable, non-ferrous metal like aluminum, copper, bronze, or brass.
You can do a quick Internet search for scrap yards and scrap metal dealers in your area then call around to compare payout rates, find out what they will accept, and what’s required for you to sell your scrap metal to them.
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Make Money Recycling Paper & Cardboard Boxes
One way that market researchers gather valuable data is through receipts for what you buy at grocers and retailers. There are some market research groups that will pay you for sharing your receipts with them.
One way you can make money from your receipts is with the Checkout 51 app. This app rewards you with cash when you shop their weekly offers and upload a picture of your receipt to the app. Once your cashback balance reaches $20, you can cash out and they’ll mail you a check.
Another app that’s similar to Checkout 51 is Ibotta. Ibotta sends you cash back through PayPal or Venmo when you buy featured products at your favorite stores and apps and upload a picture of your receipt.
Another way to make money recycling paper is by recycling your used cardboard, including things like boxes and even toilet paper rolls. This is especially good for those of us who amass tons of cardboard boxes every year from your Amazon orders.
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With the buildup of everyone’s shipping boxes and cardboard boxes used when moving, this makes a lot of the 43 million tons of paper that gets recycled in the U.S. each year.
That’s half of all materials recycled annually. It’s also a lot of cardboard and a lot of money being missed out on.
Websites like BoxCycle and Boxsmart allow you to sell your extra and lightly used cardboard boxes online. They accept just about any kind of box you can imagine. You can even recycle items like wood pallets, mailers, and packing supplies.
Make Money Recycling Ink Cartridges
If you have empty ink cartridges rolling around spare office drawers, you can declutter and make money by trading them at office supply stores such as Staples and OfficeMax. Usually, you can get $2 per empty ink cartridge in-store credit, for a maximum of $20 a month.
You can also sell empty or half-empty ink cartridges on websites like eBay and Craigslist. While it may take a little more work, you can make the most out of it by selling in bulk to get up to $10 per cartridge. If you use a lot of ink each month, before you know it you can have the water bill covered by ink cartridges.
Make Money Recycling Plastic
Plastic bottle recycling for money is a common choice among recyclers, but you also probably go straight to electronics and car batteries when you think of “plastic,” but you can make money off of these two things as well.
Money For Recycling E-Waste
There are lots of companies out there that offer cash for old cell phones and other electronics. Eco-Cell is one of these companies and they accept working, old, and broken phones, tablets, adapters, chargers, and a variety of other electronics.
Because the goal of this company is to keep electronics out of landfills and safely dispose of the dangerous materials inside of them, Eco-Cell will accept just about any electronic device, even if it’s broken or was submerged in water and won’t work anymore.
Many mobile service providers, like T-Mobile and AT&T, offer trade-in value or gift cards when you give your old phone to them. You can also try Amazon Trade-In to earn rewards like gift cards.
Money for Car Batteries
Advance Auto Parts offers a store gift card to customers who bring in their unwanted or used car or light-duty truck batteries.
If there’s not an Advance store near you, call around to other auto parts stores in your area to see whether any of them will give you a similar deal.
Although their prices can be all over the place, some junkyards and scrap metal dealers also buy and sell used batteries, so be sure to check their payout rates as well.
Who Will Take the Leftover Junk?
For all the leftover stuff you didn’t have any luck selling, there’s LoadUp! We’ll pick up, haul away, and responsibly dispose of just about any kind of junk.
When you’re ready to get rid of that leftover junk, give us a call! Don’t like talking on the phone? No problem. You can get an upfront, guaranteed quote any time online by visiting our online booking system, entering your zip code and selecting the items you want us to remove from our easy-to-use drop-down menu.
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