Making Money

Get Paid to Recycle While Saving the Earth and Your Wallet

To make extra cash, you normally have to put in time and effort. But what if you could make a profit off everyday items you otherwise throw away? You may think this sounds too good to be true, but you actually can! You can get paid to recycle lots of things that you put in your disposal bins. Not only are you helping the earth while recycling, but you’re also giving back to your wallet. Contributing your earnings, even if it’s a few dollars, could free up a few extra spending dollars in your budget each week.

With little effort, you could make up to hundreds, if not thousands, a year on useless items. From your empty cans to used cooking grease, you could rack up some serious side hustle earnings. Keep reading to see what trash items you could earn the most from or skip to our infographic below. Don’t forget to track your earnings using our app.

How Can I Make Money by Recycling?

Now, recycling may not replace your full-time job, but it can earn you some extra “fun” money. For instance, your used cans may earn you about $5 a pound. That $5 a week could add up to an extra $260 a year. Below is a list of items you’re able to get paid to recycle:

  • Bottles and Cans
  • Old Books
  • Wine Corks
  • Trash
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • Ink Cartridges
  • Unused Gift Cards
  • Cooking Oil
  • Old Electronics
  • Scrap Metals
  • Junk Cars and Batteries
  • Clothing, Accessories, and Household Items

Turn Trash Into Cash

1. Recycle Empty Cans

Most of us have plenty of canned pet food, vegetables, and soups. Instead of throwing out each can you use, trade them in for cash. If you stockpile enough cans, you could make up to $100 a week on used can packaging. To earn some extra cash, check out your local recycling center or

2. Profit Off Books Collecting Dust

Calling all the bookworms — this is your time to shine. If you love to read your books in hand, you probably have a stockpile of books lying around. Once you finish a book, consider selling or trading on Amazon, AbeBooks, Decluttr, or Letgo. Each of these apps allows you to take a picture and list your used items at a discounted price. Take into consideration the cost of shipping before you calculate your earnings.

3. Sell Wine Corks Online

Oddly enough, every time you crack open a new bottle of wine, you could be making a profit. Save your corks and then trade them into companies like Yemm & Hart Green Materials that pay the market value for every 10 pounds of pure cork. Corks can be refurbished into various crafts, flooring, tile, and fishing rods products.

4. Your Trash Could Be Your Money-Maker

Simply stated, you could earn cash from your trash can. Companies like TerraCycle pay for trash people produce daily — eliminating the idea of waste. Similarly, Boxcycle collects used cardboard boxes, packing materials, pallets, and mailers in return for cash. Even your ink cartridges can be recycled, reused, and bought off you from companies like Cartridges for Kids, Funding Factory, US Recycling, and Need Empty.

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5. Swap Your Unused Gift Cards For Cash

Especially around the holiday season, you may accumulate gift cards from loved ones. As thankful as you may be for the gift, frequently forgetting to use them is a common occurrence. Around $3 billion worth of gift cards goes to waste each year. Instead of losing track of your gift cards, Cardpool allows you to swap your gift cards for cash.

6. Get Paid To Cook a Greasy Dish

Your regular cooking oil could be recycled into biodiesel — a great money maker. Whether you own a restaurant or regularly cook for your large family, you could profit off greasy food. Biodiesel and Craigslist buyers will pay around 44 cents per gallon for used cooking oil. After you’re done cooking, pour your oil into a used gallon milk jug or a bucket. Once it’s filled to the brim, trade it in for cash.

7. Make Money Off Your Pre-Loved Electronics

Whether you actually want a new tech device or just some spare cash, make a profit off what you don’t use. Companies like Best Buy, Gazelle, SellCell, and Maxback buy and recycle preloved tech devices. Payments for these items may be paid out via check, gift card, or through PayPal. Be sure to backup everything you’d like to keep on another device before turning in your old tech for cash.

8. Make a Profit Off Metal Scraps

Old batteries, steel, iron, and rare metals can be recycled into day-to-day products. Cars, appliances, file cabinets, and much more contain everyday metals manufacturers are always on the hunt for. Trade-in any scrap metal you have laying around and turn them into Scrap Metal Buyers for cash.

9. Car Troubles? Make a Profit off the Unfixable

For junk cars that aren’t resellable or reliable, consider turning them in for cash at the junkyard. Compare junk car buyers like Junk Car Medics and Cash Cars Buyer to see how much you could earn from your vehicle.

10. Spring Clean Your Living Area

When cleaning your living area, list your preloved items on second hand online stores. Poshmark, ThredUp, Swap, Instagram, eBay are a few second hand websites that attract valuable buyers. As you post items to your virtual shop, bundle items to cut your cost of shipping for each item.

11. Turn Unused Lights Off

If you’re already strict about turning the lights off at home, turns out you could earn more than a utility bill decrease. For instance, OhmConnect is an app that pays you to save money on a more frugal lifestyle. Once you set up the app, you earn points when you use less electricity during the peak usage timeframes. Not only are you able to save cash on your monthly bill, but you also accumulate points you’re able to cash out later.

For additional tips and tricks to earn money from recyclables, check out our infographic below.
Carpet Plus | Cash Cars Buyer | CNBC | EPA | Never Enough Bookstore | SBKC | The World Counts | U.S. Global Mail

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