Learn how you can make money recycling waste products.
Though the economy is doing better, there are many of us who still haven’t seen the upswing in our lives.
Have you been struggling lately and looking for a way to earn a little extra dough?
Maybe driving for Lyft or Uber just wasn’t your thing, or maybe that family you babysit for is moving across the country, so you’ve been searching for a different source of supplemental income.
Recycle, reduce, reuse, and make that paper, booboo! We’ve searched everywhere to bring you the little-known tips and tricks for making some extra cash just by doing the right thing and recycling stuff that other people usually just toss in the bin.
Need to get rid of extra clutter?BOOK A PICKUP ❯
How to Make Money Recycling Cans & Scrap Metal
Because 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.
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.
Turning in aluminum cans is one of the easiest ways to make money recycling. 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!
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.
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.
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.
Looking for bulky junk removal?BOOK A PICKUP ❯
Make Money Recycling Paper
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 back when you shop their weekly offers and upload a picture of your receipt to the app. Once your cash back 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.
I’ve used both Checkout 51 and Ibotta myself and found them both a lot of fun and super easy to use. There are plenty of similar apps out there that are similar, so try a few out and find which ones work best for you.
Another way to make money recycling paper is by recycling your used cardboard. If you’re like me, you amass tons of cardboard boxes every year from your Amazon orders.
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, even things like pallets, mailers, and packing supplies.
Not enough time to recycle old furniture?BOOK NOW ❯
How to Make Money Recycling Plastic
Okay, so I cheated on this one a little. You probably don’t go straight to electronics and car batteries when you think of “plastic,” but you can make money off of these two things just as well.
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.
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.
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.
If your home or office is already clutter-free, you can also make some extra cash by becoming a Loader. Fill out an application or learn more about becoming a Loader here.