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Recycling For Money

Updated on April 18, 2007

When you think of recycling, do you think making money? Most people think about recycling in terms of reducing trash or helping the environment. While these things are true, it is also true that you can make money by recycling.

Save your cans and bottles. Many states charge a deposit when you purchase a can or bottle. Most people don't think of it this way, but this really is part of the purchase price. Many people don't turn in their cans and bottles, but the money can really add up. Five cents a can or bottle can turn into dollars quickly. This doesn't just have to be your cans or bottles. Many people throw them out with the regular trash, or just put them in their recycling bins. Take a drive through your neighborhood on trash day and you could easily gather bags of cans and bottles that you can turn into cold hard cash.

How about grocery bags? My grocery store gives me a five cent discount for each bag that I bring in to sack my groceries in. I save my bags and stick them in my purse before I head to the store. I am saving the environment and making a little money too. It usually amounts to $.40 a week.

Recycling will definitely reduce the amount of trash you generate each week. Many cities charge per bag of trash that they pick up. Reducing your bags from four to two each week, can really save you some money.

Toner cartridges are becoming popular items to recycle. Staples offers a $3 in-store coupon for each cartridge you bring in. This can allow you to purchase what you need, while not spending as much of your money. To me and this article, spending less is like making money.

When we moved I sold, (in other words recycled) all of our moving supplies. We had lots of good solid boxes that could easily be used again, as well as lots of bubble wrap and plastic slip pockets for dishes. It was very tempting to just throw this stuff away and get it out of my house. However I took the time to post it all on Craigs list and within a couple of days I had made money off of it all.

What about recycling clothing and toys? You might not think of these things as recyclable, but really they are. If you sell them when you are through with them, you are recycling them and making money. Whether it be on Ebay, at a consignment store or by having a garage sale, selling the things you are not using anymore is recycling and you can make money by doing it.

Let's not forget making money for other people as well. Our church in CO and our church here, both have huge metal bins in the parking lot. When people come to church they can bring their old newspapers and drop them in the bin. While I personally cannot get paid for the papers and things, the church can sell it and make money. It is based on weight and this has been a good way for both our churches to make some extra money.

Recycling is a great thing to do for the environment and it is why I do many of the things I do. It doesn't just have to be about the environment though. There are many opportunities to make money by recycling. Next time you are going to throw something away, think before you toss, it could be worth some money.


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    • profile image

      bobj 3 years ago

      My county in Maryland charges me to dump scarp metal and other things such as a washer, dryer, etc. Then guess what??? They sell it to a large scrap yard. So, they charge me to give them the items, only to make money from selling them

    • profile image

      Stuart James Fellbaum II 4 years ago

      Help Help I have a San Diego Police tool that keeps them approved to get cans out of trash police say clean up around free and I do TicketSan Diego Police Municapal code to Gov Help 66.0405

    • profile image

      Sam 5 years ago

      Well where can I take my recyclabe glass metal and plastic to get money for it?

    • profile image

      annonymous 5 years ago

      so you're recommending you add extra weight to your church's metal bin, by adding newspaper so they can get more weight for their metal. Yeah, lets rip of the metal bin company by using the church! lol...

    • profile image

      tina 6 years ago

      i want to start recycling my bottles and cans to help our environment and make this a better community so please let me know where i can sell it.i don't really care for the money but please let me know where to sell it!


    • profile image

      Miss Recylcer 6 years ago

      I want to start Recycle the toilet rolls inner cardboard tubes at work. I just would like to know where can i give it in, i also heard you get money for it as well.

      Please let me know


    • profile image

      Sveta 6 years ago

      My mother in law was diognozed with breast cancer. We cannot afford a dicent wig for her, her friend told her that she can collecet plastic bottles, cans, glass bottles and get cash for it. Whenever we go to the parks , I help her with collecting bottles. But now she also started collecting them from our neighborhood trash, you know those blue containers which will be picked up by trucks. I was wondering if it is really illegal to collect them from there.


    • profile image

      Cynthia 6 years ago

      I live in Collinsville IL where would I talk my plastic

      containers to?

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 6 years ago from Western NC

      Nice hub. These are great tips. I have adopted many of them myself. :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 6 years ago from Brazil

      Here in Brazil, we see this all the time. The men who collect recyclables have a large cart and walk miles throwing in plastics, metals and anything else they can sell. It is a booming business here.

      Interesting hub.

    • profile image

      Skyu 6 years ago

      Whoo! Way to be green and save money at the same time! Stay green!

    • profile image

      seawolf80 6 years ago

      My wife and I have saved our and our neighbors newspaper, boxes and tin cans as well as aliminium cans. I have a big box that held an ac unit. Once it is full we load it as well as 20 or so paper grocery bags of newspaper and sell it. We generally make $40 or so for just the paper products. Then when I have 8-9 30 gal bags of aluminium cans and 5 bags of tin cans ready we go sell them for over $150. I am a woodworker and make a lot of wooden toys for church nurseries, day care centers, and the annual "shoe box" program many churches are involved in. 95% of my materials are free from building sights, lumber yards, I even make use of shipping pallets. Nothing is wasted, I make pets nesting for guiena (sp) pigs eyc by running the left overs thru a planer and it is jut like an old wood plane. Saving money is a simple life style once you get used to it. Be careful of Staples, we have taken in cartridges 3 ocassions and some how they "lost" the paper work and we never got our vouchers.

    • jtyler profile image

      jtyler 6 years ago

      I'm going to link to this in my blog entry for today -

    • jtyler profile image

      jtyler 6 years ago

      Yes, that's a pretty good idea.

    • Pdxrecycler profile image

      Pdxrecycler 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      In Oregon, we have to pay a deposit when we buy containers that are eligible for paid recycling. It is just a deposit refund. It is a great program, though. I think it definitely encourages recycling.

    • jtyler profile image

      jtyler 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I knew that you could make money in countries like Germany by taking back recyclables, but I didn't know you could do it here.

    • LRCBlogger profile image

      LRCBlogger 7 years ago

      Great hub, I can add that you can recycle scrap metal. If you are tearing down an old metal fence or an iron gate, you can bring the metal to a scrap yard and they will pay you for the material.

    • kevin.howell profile image

      kevin.howell 7 years ago from Maysville KY

      I suppose recycling is only limited by our imagination. Nice hub, really makes you think.

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 7 years ago from Malaysia

      I recycle for charity. I drop those recycle-able items found at my home to charity organization that have drop boxes around my area. :)

    • shon3n profile image

      shon3n 7 years ago from Surabaya , Indonesia

      Hello Jennifer, I just folowing you. Please folow me back. ;)

      In my country Indonesia , there is some people that take some used garbage like can or plastic bottle. they usually sell it to some factory to recycle. but for most people is not do that. in Indonesia it consider as a low jobs. low standart of life or profession. So no one do that for money. But I think difrent country is difrent ways. :)

    • jewel rose profile image

      jewel rose 7 years ago from india

      really awesom hub!!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Good hub! Learned some new ways to recycle!

    • mindyjgirl profile image

      Mindy 7 years ago from Cottage Grove, Oregon

      Great Hub, I have been recycling for years. My mom and I make "Jean Quilts". We use the pockets to hold the sun tan lotion:) You have inspired me to write a new Hub!!Thanks, I also have a hub on Organic travel if you could check out too.

    • profile image

      jamil 7 years ago

      Handmade items are becoming more porfitable as less people have the time, nor make the time to do them anymore. How are you doing, money wise, doing this? I hope well. Have you set up a website to sell them or do you sell on other places? I am an artisit, as well as a business person. One day, when I have time, I will do a show, they have them online now too.

    • profile image

      makayla 7 years ago

      Thanks 4 the tips I have made a lot of money!

    • profile image

      makayla 7 years ago

      Thanks 4 the tips I have made a lot of money!

    • adorababy profile image

      adorababy 7 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      Recycling not only does good for the environment but it also frees the person some clutter and emotional attachment to things that he or she deems to have no more value.

    • profile image

      cutiepie 7 years ago

      HI!!!!!!!!!! can some one help me on finding where to recycle here in the Valley? I dont know where to go! well thanks for your help

    • profile image

      stephanie 7 years ago

      i love your article but i want to know can you recycle paper for money and where?

    • profile image

      Mig 8 years ago

      Where can I have money for plastic pill bottles around sudbury or northbay, Ontario, Canada?

    • profile image

      meg 8 years ago

      aside from recycling and selling how can we make money out of garbage?

    • JenDobson27 profile image

      JenDobson27 8 years ago

      Great hub! Thanks for sharing. I really do need to start recycling one of these days.

    • figment profile image

      Karli Duran 8 years ago from Texas

      Great information!

    • profile image

      angle 8 years ago

      what can u recycle

    • profile image

      tranica tb 8 years ago

      i need to make me a bought 6000000 dolloars because i have a lot of ....

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 8 years ago from Great Britain

      I've been recycling for quite some time because I care about the environment, but had never thought I could earn some cash at the same time. !! Brilliant ideas. Thanks.

    • Chris EastMan profile image

      Chris EastMan 8 years ago

      Nice article !

    • harrisdy profile image

      hdy 8 years ago from Texas

      great tips!

    • profile image

      naturelover 8 years ago

      we need to look after the world more. It's the only home we have in this empty universe

    • profile image

      hers 8 years ago

      that crazy stealing lady is weird..just letting you know ..but i think this is a great opportunity for your kids to help you too,,,they could make makey with out asking ..that's great! :) smillys...

    • profile image

      web designing 8 years ago

      very useful hub

    • Bmystic57 profile image

      Bmystic57 8 years ago from Sheldon,Tx

      I'm in on the recycle thing here , good read. A+ from

      me.Thanks I like the way you think.

    • PillarComfortenya profile image

      PillarComfortenya 8 years ago

      Hi Sister Jenifer!Great Job. Keep it up.

    • profile image

      Matt C. 8 years ago

      Another way to recycle your old toys and clothes for money is to take them into a local shelter or goodwill. When you bring in your old toys are clothes you can ask for a tax discount and, though it doesn't save you money right away, when tax season comes around there ya go. good chunk of cash avoided. Yay government benefits for giving to charities.

    • profile image

      Matt C. 8 years ago

      Another way to recycle your old toys and clothes for money is to take them into a local shelter or goodwill. When you bring in your old toys are clothes you can ask for a tax discount and, though it doesn't save you money right away, when tax season comes around there ya go. good chunk of cash avoided. Yay government benefits for giving to charities.

    • profile image

      Mary 8 years ago

      I have a xerox copier-it can be fixed, but we no longer need it, but don't know what we can do with it. We hate to have to throw it away.Can you help.

    • profile image

      stace 8 years ago


    • Pinoys profile image

      Marian 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Great hub, thanks for sharing.

    • Drwibble profile image

      Drwibble 8 years ago from UK

      In the UK, a few charities will take donated printer and toner cartridges to recycle. You are doing two good deeds at once, recycling and helping a good cause.

    • LVM profile image

      LVM 8 years ago

      I'm recycling my PC, where do I send it?

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 8 years ago from Indonesia

      A great hub ! I've done some recycling out of polluting bottles too.

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 8 years ago from New York

      Make money and going green at the same time. Way to go!

    • profile image

      jonty 8 years ago

      Very well written hub .....

      very much informative ......

      Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.

    • profile image

      JOE PARNELL 8 years ago

      Making money from your neighbors. The real beauty is they will be more than happy to give you stacks of money. Go to to find out how.

    • profile image

      Alexis 8 years ago

      Hi! I'm a teacher who wants the school to start recycling. We are also in a budget defecit - we would like to raise money by recycling. What is the best way to do this? We work in Brighton, Colorado. Do you know any companies that would assist with this?

    • profile image

      recycle-me 8 years ago

      I have taken a slightly different approach to encourage people to recycle. I believe that there needs to be a stronger incentive for people to start recycling. And that incentive is being able to profit from recycling. So, I have created a website,, where people can make extra cash by selling and by helping to sell, domestic recyclable items like soda cans, plastic/glass bottles, etc. While you are there, please click on the 'Contact Us' link on the website, to provide any feedback that you may have.

    • profile image

      jasmine mae-lee evans 9 years ago

      this is some awesome advice thanks im really gonna listen to it

      your a very helpful lady thank you!

      do you have anymore advise though iv got a lot of money problems sorry to be a bother... thanks love

    • profile image

      jasmine mae-lee evans 9 years ago

      this is some awesome advice thanks im really gonna listen to it

      your a very helpful lady thank you!

      do you have anymore advise though iv got a lot of money problems sorry to be a bother... thanks love

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 9 years ago from Philippines

      It is always good to recycle, thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      Anna 9 years ago

      Hi I am looking for an extra cash doing recycling in chicago, i have collected used magazines and papers but i called a number of recycling office and i was told I need to have 60,000 tons before i can sell them! I saw this article and caught my attention. I would appreciate if you can help me on this.

    • sophieqd profile image

      sophieqd 9 years ago


      Very sensible advice, thanks for your hub.

    • pkoson profile image

      pkoson 9 years ago


      I think this hub is the anti-anti-toxin to anxiety! Help, the verbosity of it is making me anxious!

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 9 years ago

      I live in a relatively small town and we arranged a city wide garage sale. It has become very popular with the communities around us so we get quite a turnaround. Since there are so many of us selling at the same time so close by it makes it worth everyone's time to recycle.

    • profile image

      hangover cure 9 years ago

      Thanks for this advice, I need help with money so this is great advice!

    • profile image

      iMindMap 9 years ago

      Made sense. Tree is getting less.

    • profile image

      Rabbit 9 years ago

      earth911 will tell you where the recyling centers are near you.

    • profile image

      Reserve Fund Study 9 years ago

      Nice articles and need some thinking. Just another way of making money or passive income.

    • profile image

      Terrie Dirickson 9 years ago

      Want to learn how to get into recycling plastic. How and were could I get started, all the pop bottles soap bottles food that is in plastic cleaning bottles

    • Bellemerchant profile image

      Bellemerchant 9 years ago from New York

      Impressive hub, I learnt something new today about recycling and its quite helpful. Keep up the good work Jennifer.

    • starrwriter profile image

      starrwriter 9 years ago from Cottage Grove, Wisconsin


      Excellent article filled with useful information.  Thank you for sharing it with us.



    • profile image

      Nycole 9 years ago

      Just wanted to add a change to that article. The recycling policy for cartridges at Staples has changed slightly. Now you get the $3 coupon if you're a Rewards member at Staples. You can recycle Dell, Lexmark, Kodak, and HP cartridges for this $3 coupon. You can recycle 3 cartridges per day & the coupon is sent to you at the end of each month. However, if you don't use any of those brands, you can still bring in your cartridges to be just won't get the coupon.

      Being a Rewards member doesn't cost you anything. It's pretty much just a "thank you" for shopping at Staples. You get 10% back on all ink/toner, paper, and anything in the copy & print center. As you move up to higher levels, you can start earning rewards on other products in the store. It really is worth it.

    • profile image

      buy amoxicillin online 9 years ago

      Making money and recycling are two good things... If you can get one doing the other, that's amazing! Thanks for the tips!

    • GoodRead profile image

      GoodRead 9 years ago from usa

      thanks i didn't realize i could get that discount with the toner cartridge.

    • profile image

      amoxicillin 500 9 years ago

      If we want our childrens to have a nice future we need to care for the environment. Recycle is one basic thing and is very important contribution for our children best future. Thanks for sharing this info!

    • Starscream14 profile image

      Starscream14 9 years ago

      If every one would recycle, than this world would be much, much better. Thanks for your hub!

    • Siu-Wai profile image

      Siu-Wai 9 years ago from Boston

      We don't make much doing the cans and bottles thing but it's good for the environment. A city recycling truck picks up newspapers and regular paper (yes, they'll take all that junk mail too).

      If your town has a dump, it's a great place to exchange perfectly good items--one person's trash is another one's treasure. It's a form of recycling that keeps things out of the landfill.

      In Boston we see lots of good stuff put out on the curbs before trash night. Over the years we've found amazing things like VCRs, PCs, fans, books, CDs, etc. Talk about saving money!

      So yes, I totally agree with you, Jennifer. There are a lot of positive things we can do for the environment wherever we live.   Great article!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great ideas. I already do a few of those (cans and newspapers) but some of them our area does not pay for at all.

      I would love to know if you know the best way to recycle clothes that are not in condition to sell or old cloth.

    • profile image

      joe joeskey 9 years ago

      will recycling pulltabs from cans get u money

    • hot dorkage profile image

      hot dorkage 9 years ago from Oregon, USA

      The money is chicken feed unless you go gung ho and full time. And guidebaba, it's hardly passive. But it's niice to know you're doing something positive.

    • guidebaba profile image

      guidebaba 9 years ago from India

      Nice articles and need some thinking. Just another way of making money or passive income.

    • hans56 profile image

      hans56 9 years ago from Amsterdam/Chicago

      Great Hub... and I believe Ronalds comment about the guy getting rich. It's as always if you give it all your attention, you can make money in everything.. Even online. Online recycling. :-) Anyway great original approach..


    • profile image

      Ronald Daniar 9 years ago

      I heard there was a guy who took all the recycled trash in New York and turned them into new products. He got rich from doing that. Anyway, it's a nice article that invites all of us to keep clean and green.

    • profile image

      dabblingmum 9 years ago

      I recycle all boxes from media materials and orders that arrive on my doorstep. I save the boex and shipping materials to be reused when I ship out orders or gifts to family members. We also save all our moving boxes, flattened and ready to be reused for another move. Since we moved 5 states in 7 years, this was really a great money saver--$3 to $8 a box can get rather expensive.

      I also recylce glass jars and bottles and other containers and make vases out of them in which I sell and distribute as gifts.

      This year we discovered that our town now offer recycling and there's a huge list of things that can go into one large clear plastic bag. I have to tell you that we cut our trash down to 1/3 of what it was before we began recycling. It's such a HUGE eye opener--how much we sent to the landfills.

      It feels really good to do something good for the environment, too. Especially now that I have a better understanding of the consequences my choices make on the environment and my children's futures.

    • profile image

      jbear 9 years ago

      Just a year ago I started recycling aluminum cans from my classroom and a part-time cleaning job I do.  Well, a year later I accumulated about 80lbs of cans.  I am all about recycling; however, most places only pay 60 cents/lb.  It takes about 30 cans to make a pound, which equates to about 2 cents a can.  This is a terrible incentive.  I'm going to recycle my 80lbs, but I don't think I'm going to spend my time and energy picking through dirty trashes anymore and smashing all of those cans for such a small deposit.  I will, however, continue to recycle my own stuff because I do care about the environment...just don't plan to make a profit. :)

    • bettiegurrl profile image

      bettiegurrl 9 years ago from Portland, Or

      I admit I only read this because it was at the top of the list and (yes) it caught my eye. Plus you reminded me of someone. Even so, great ideas here, makes me feel a little guilty for tossing out my cans last week. :)

    • profile image

      buy absinthe 9 years ago

      great info thank you

    • proudgrandpa profile image

      proudgrandpa 10 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Hello Jennifer,

      I am a friend of anyone who believes in teaching our young people to take care of their own planet. I wrote a hub about Reduce-Recycle-Reuse but I didn't hit the point of reuse as well as you do. Thanks for that.

      I will now become a fan so I get notice as you write your hubs. Thanks, NEIL

    • Michelle574 profile image

      Michelle574 10 years ago

      Interesting and very informative hub! Thank you.

    • AndreRollins profile image

      AndreRollins 10 years ago

      Great Hub with great information. We all could use a little inspiration. There are hundreds of ways to recycle. If everyone made some effort, even a little, we could do wonders.

    • profile image

      jarryal montique 10 years ago

      cool now i can for money now

    • Dauda Idris profile image

      Dauda Idris 10 years ago from Nigeria

      Nice hub. I am impressed by the number of hubs you have published so far in hubpages. I wish I could do the same. Can you assist please?

    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 10 years ago from london

      Very nice and useful, especially in current economic situation, when we need to seek for any opportunity to get some additional income.

    • profile image

      jooles01 10 years ago

      That's a really useful Hub - I didn't know about the vouchers at Staples. Just to think I get rid of things that I could be getting paid for.

      Thanks Jennifer

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 10 years ago from Texas

      This is a good list of ideas. I'm just used to thinking about how much they charge on our garbage for recycling.

    • Rik Ravado profile image

      Rik Ravado 10 years ago from England

      Tesco in the UK are piloting recycling machines which put points on your plastic card for recycling tins or bottles.

    • sudamaprasad profile image

      sudamaprasad 10 years ago

      Interesting idea. We should work more for ongoing process of green earth

    • Evelyn Lim profile image

      Evelyn Lim 10 years ago from Singapore

      Great idea about doing more recycling. We should do more for going green!

    • profile image

      Angel15 10 years ago

      How do you find out if you can get money in your state.

    • The Phantom Blot profile image

      The Phantom Blot 10 years ago

      Another good hub, consider me a fan.

    • Betty Jo Petty profile image

      Betty Jo Petty 10 years ago from Arkansas, U.S.A.

      Some people may be unable to have a garage or yard sale. If people watch and think, though, there are lots of things that can be recycled.

      One thing that can be done with old clothes, is to Sew! Quilting has been made with old clothing for years. Small hanging wall quilts sell for around fifty dollars, sometimes more. (No, I haven't done this, just heard about it, and seen some at Wally-World!). bjp