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How to Make Money by Recycling

Updated on July 11, 2010
recycling aluminum cans for cash, matei,
recycling aluminum cans for cash, matei,

What if you can make the world a better place and even make some money on top of that? This is all possible if you learn more about what items you can recycle and the places where they actually pay you for doing this. Recycling helps the environment because used materials can be used again reducing the production of new, raw material. Recycling also reduces air pollution,  water pollution and lowers green house waste emissions. The benefits to recycling are indeed many, and getting paid for recycling some items may be a great incentive for people to recycle more. 

How to Make Money by Recycling

A good way to start recycling is by contacting your nearest recycling center.  You can contact 1800-RECYCLE or you can go online and perform a search for the closest recycling center near you by visiting '' Bottles and Cans. com.  Another good place to look in in the local yellow pages under ''recycling centers'' and ask what materials are wanted and what they pay per pound. 

• Recycling  Water Bottles

If you look at your water bottle carefully you may read somewhere something like '' HI, ME, 5 cents''. What does this mean exactly? Deciphering this code may appear challenging to common people, but all it means is that the State of Hawaii and the State of Maine a legislation has passed where consumers must pay a deposit of five cents when they purchase a beverage in a plastic bottle (this deposit is already included in the price) which will be given back if the bottle is recycled. 

Recycling bottles is fairly easy, all you need to do is rinse the bottle of any remaining residue, let it air dry and find a recycling center that takes the bottles. Requirements may vary State to State, some recycling companies may want the bottles crushed while others may not want the plastic cap on. It is best to contact a recycling company before delivering a whole bag of empty bottles. Some major  grocery stores have vending machines where bottles can be recycled for money.

 Recycling Aluminum Cans

If you are an avid Coca-Cola or beer drinker , it may be worth it to start saving the aluminum cans that preserve your precious drinks.  As with the plastic bottles make sure you rinse your cans out well and put them aside. Recycling companies that take aluminum cans many not care if your cans are crushed or not.  If you crush them, you have saved a lot of storage space and therefore can put more into a bag when heading to the recycling center. 

Once there, the cans will be weighed and you will be paid based on the price per pound. Don't try to be unethical by filling up the cans with rocks, the recycling company will eventually discover this and you may get into trouble.

 Recycling Cellphones

If you have a bunch of cellphones you no longer use sitting somewhere in your drawer, why not make some money out of them rather then letting them sit there uselessly? may be interested in purchasing models not older than two years old. Upon searching if your make and models are wanted, they will send you a box with prepaid postage. Then if the cell phone is accepted (it does not have to be brand new but functional and not too worn) a check will be issued within 30 days. It is important to read their requirements carefully before sending out any cellphones, the company also seems to ensure no private data remains in the phone. 

There may be many more items that can be recycled and it may be worth it to inquire with your local recycling center. Other items that may be requested for cash are cardboard boxes, computer ink cartridges, scrap metal and old appliances. Recycling for money may not make you rich, but it will help you get a bit more motivated on getting the planet cleaner. Teens may find this to be a good way to make a few extra bucks if they are eager enough to go to their park or at an empty stadium after a sports event to collect some empty soda cans.

Some helpful items to help you recycle

Organize It All 3 Compartment Step-On 45 Liter Recycling Trash Can, Stainless Steel
Organize It All 3 Compartment Step-On 45 Liter Recycling Trash Can, Stainless Steel

Sorting a pile of recycling can be messy and time-consuming, so this handy divided recycle bin from Neu Home is designed to keep things organized from the start. Fashioned from stainless steel for durability and sleek looks, the piece features three internal compartments for side-by-side collection of different recyclables. Each compartment removes individually for emptying, and bucket handles make them easy to carry.



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    • Sweetsusieg profile image


      9 years ago from Michigan

      Very nice Hub and well put together! Mine is a little different... My brother calls it 'curb surfing'.. LOL

      Voted up!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great information. How nice that you can make a little money while being green.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      9 years ago from Northern, California

      Good information. And a nifty summer earner for out of school kids. In my town, we have to recycle or get fined. It actually feels good to help the earth stay healthy. Thanks for a unique and helpful hub.

    • ocbill profile image


      9 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      I like that sell your cell. Although, i may only get $5 fr mine. My latest cell phone one I just want to pummel into the ground though once I get my 3G/4G w /video calling. Anyway, I used to gather cardboard boxes from my job a decade or so ago and get around $40 to $50 about 5 miles away.


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