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Recycling for a Frugal Lifestyle

Updated on March 11, 2022

Reasons to Recycle

  • Environmental responsibility.
  • Earning additional money.
  • Saving Money.
  • To make new items without spending money.
  • Entertaining the Kids

Storage, Craft Supplies and Recycling Bins

Reusing for Storage
Reusing for Storage | Source
recycling as craft supplies
recycling as craft supplies | Source
for the city's recycling bins
for the city's recycling bins | Source

Frugality and Recycling

Recycling is an amazing way to live a more frugal lifestyle. Not only can you save money by recycling you can also earn some money by recycling. How much money is earned or saved will depend on the amount of time and effort that you put into it.

Recycling Can be Repurposing

There are a number of items that can be recycled or reused in the home in order to assist with financial goals. These goals vary depending on the individual. Aluminum, scrap metal, paper, plastic and clothing can all be recycled or re-purposed in order to save or earn money. In some cases you will even make a little bit of money.

The money earned, even the smallest amounts, is often money that you have already spent meaning it is money saved. The items that you can not sell can be put out for pickup or dropped off at designated recycling bins in the city.

Storage Make Simple

Plastic coffee containers can be used as storage for bags of coffee so that you don't have to purchase additional containers to store it in. When candles burn there is always a portion that does not burn. Instead of tossing it and purchasing a new candle you can dig the wick out and store the remaining wax in a resealable container that you have recycled until you have enough to make another candle. The only cost will be purchasing new wicks and candles holders if you do not already have them on hand. You may need to invest in a melting pot or you can make your own. Given the price of candles and your preference you can save a great deal of money this way.

It is important that you always check local recycling policies and disposal requirements for hazardous materials to ensure that you are practicing safety as you recycle.

Old furniture can be recycled too with a little bit of work, some fabric to cover it or a whole new idea.

Cash in Your Pocket

In some areas, even those with curb side pickup, there are centers that purchase recyclable materials. These materials are mostly metals that you can sell for cash. In order to earn the most from recycling the metals need to be separated by type and as clean as possible. Different metals will pay different rates and clean metals earn more due to the total weight being reduced for dirty materials. A small chart can be used to help keep track of recycling earnings.

The more materials that you manage to take to the center in a single load the more you will earn. Some metals such as aluminum are worth more past a specific number of pounds which can vary by facility.

Keeping Track of Earnings

metal type
price per pound
#of pounds
total earnings
exp. aluminum

Saving by Reusing

Cheap Storage. Those plastic containers that the butter and other refrigerated items come in can be utilized to store other items in once they are empty. Ensure that they are washed thoroughly and you can place leftover foods or household items in them. Some can even be used as craft supplies for small children. Egg cartons can be used as planters or in crafts giving children two activities for one container.

Savings Deposits

The money that is earned from recycling can be put into savings accounts or used to purchase certificates of deposits that earn you money. That dream vacation could in theory be paid for by recycling.

Improving Finances

Putting the goals that you have financially onto paper where you can see them will help you to break them down into steps. Each time you save or earn money from recycling you can mark off a small step in your plan because you just came a single step closer to your goal.

Foods can be recycled in the compost pile to use on the garden and save money on fertilizer. The ability to grow your own food inexpensively can reduce your dependency on the grocery store and allow you the ability to become increasingly self sufficient.

Jobs can also be created by simple act of recycling. In areas with curbside pickup someone has to drive the truck. Recycling centers need people to unload and weigh the items that you are taking in.


Overall the act of recycling has numerous advantages. This one simple act can make the environment cleaner while putting additional funds in your pocket. It only takes a minute and you'll feel better when you do it. The more you recycle the more it will become second nature and you will see your efforts pay off as your savings account balance becomes larger from not having to purchase as many new items and the sell of some recyclable materials.

The fact that you can become increasingly self sufficient through the act of recycling is not to be overlooked either. Even rain water can recycled for private use making the water/electricity bill go down in the process.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Laurie Childree


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