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Recycle Swap Trade and Paid

Updated on June 11, 2017
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As a lover of the environment, GetFactsnotHype takes a special interest in protecting people and planet with wiser, eco-friendly choices.

Save the planet and make money at times

Put money in your pocket by selling your unwanted, out-of-date, broken or used items for cash and help the planet at the same time. Going green has never been easier than getting paid to recycle your own trash or someone else's.

  • appliances
  • plastic
  • cell phones and electronics
  • hard to recycle misc items
  • batteries and ballasts
  • metals
  • trade, swap or donate
  • printer and fax cartridges

Recycle for money and the planet too
Recycle for money and the planet too | Source
Old refrigerators use 20% more energy.
Old refrigerators use 20% more energy. | Source

Appliance Recycling

Appliance Recycling That Pays:

What could be easier than getting paid for an old appliance, and in some cases having them pick it up too? Arca is a company that partners with many different utility companies in 20 states of the US as well as Ontario Canada with new contracts being proposed to add other states. Most of the participating states only take refrigerators and freezers, but some also take washer and dryers. Most states participating in the Arca utility partnering recycling program will allow 2 appliances per household and pay you between $30 and $50 for each unit. Look up your state here on Arca.

Much of Wisconsin is on ARCA's list, but if your area is not, then contact Focus on Energy's appliance program. Also much of New Mexico is also on the list with ARCA including Xcel Electric company and PNM who previously had cancelled and are back onboard with their recycling program. Florida's Cash for Appliances serves Tampa and the surrounding areas and they also takes dishwashers. Duke Energy covering 7 states has stopped participating, but yet some of their states like South Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana are on ARCA's list, so if you have someone other than Duke, you might benefit. The Money Pantry site lists some other electric companies by state such as CPS, Ameren, Efficiency United and LG&E (a PPL company), so it might be worth checking out.

Recycle pick-up without pay: helps apartment community managers pick up their unwanted appliances both electric and gas, as well as hot water heaters, and air conditioners in 9 major cities over 8 states. They will pick-up for residential (non-apartment) and commercial areas as well, but keep in mind they are one of the companies that charge. You could of course comb through CraigsList in your area by looking for those who engage in the scrap metal business. They won't pay, but they will pick it up for free, and at least you will get it out of your home and not have to load something heavy nor arrange for a truck.

Recycle centers for drop-off:

SA Recycling has many recycling centers across the United States mostly in California, but also 4 cities in Arizona, several in Georgia, two in Las Vegas, and one each in Tennessee and Texas. They remove all CFCs per the EPA's RAD program otherwise known as Responsible Appliance Disposal. Go to their appliances page, and then click on "yard locator." Many landfills will also accept your appliances for a small fee, but you may have to ask first for things like refrigerators and air conditioners that contain chemicals like freon.

Three Other alternatives:

Additionally, if you buy a new energy efficient refrigerator from a participating dealer in the recycling program then when your new refrigerator is delivered, they will carry the old one away. Lowe's does not participate in this program, but generally Home Depot, Sears, Best Buy and Spichers do, which may or may not be brand specific. General Electric refrigerators are definately in the program and they were one of the first companies to jump on board. Check your state here for the GE appliance recycling program and type in your zip code to see if delivery is available for your new frig at the same time.

If you have no pick-up in your area and the item still works, but you still want to unload the item, then you might want to try and sell the appliance at Appliance Exchange. Lastly if the item doesn't work, you could call a shop that repairs appliances and see if they would take it off your hands. They won't pay you, but you probably won't have to pay them either. You donate it, and when they fix and re-sell it for profit, then everybody's happy.

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Nespresso cups are recyclable even if Keurig cups are not.
Nespresso cups are recyclable even if Keurig cups are not.
CD jewel cases are recyclable even if they don't pay
CD jewel cases are recyclable even if they don't pay

Hard to Recycle Plastic

This Plastic Does Pay:

Much of the plastic we recycle doesn't pay, at least not to the average consumer, but there is one place for regular Joes. TerraCycle not only pays, but collects many plastics others may not take off your hands. They take plastic wrappers from some food like protein bars and certain brands of chips. They also take the plastic bags that "Entenmann's Little Bites" comes in, like the snack size pouches of mini muffins, as well as Nespresso capsules of coffee. Also the red and blue plastic solo cups used at picnics, church functions, and frat boy parties are also accepted. The way the program works is easy, which is to simply choose 1 or more than 1 (one) waste collection program formerly called a brigade (recycling program) and pack up each brigade separate, download a shipping label from their site online and just mail it in. You can either take the cash or earn points for charitable gifts. Joining is free and the mailing label and shipping is included with the box kit, sold on their site.

Now, one might not make that much money from this endeavor, but if you drink a lot of coffee and have one of those Nespresso machines, then those individual pods can add up, and joining the Nespresso Brigade might be worth it. Additionally, new ideas are being discovered for the use of recycled plastic, like the rigid plastic "Solo" brand cups are re-used to make heavy duty Adirondack chairs. It's nice to know that you are doing something good for the environment and that new products are being created from your trash. If having a clean conscience isn't important, and the money still isn't enough profit for you to bother with as an individual, then it could be a fundraiser for a church, school, or non-profit organization if everyone in the group collected.

These Places Don't Pay, But are Free:

Another place that takes hard to recycle plastic is the CD Recycling Center of America, although they do not pay. They take CDs, DVDs, HD-DVDs, Blu-Ray, jewel cases, and the paper inserts or artwork covers, as long as each type of item is in separate boxes. The jewel cases are made of a particular polystyrene that's harder to recycle than other polystyrene, because it uses molded polystrene like general purpose (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS), so unfortunately it doesn't have cash value to the consumer. The CD recycling center will accept it and keep it out of landfills. Now this probably would be better for those who have a lot of media and eMedia to dispose of such as recording studios, those in radio and television, and perhaps libraries.

GreenDisk is another place taking eMedia such as plastic films and magnetic tape such as cassette tapes for audio recordings. They also take VCR VHS tapes, black and white film, and other technotrash like floppy disks. They recycle some of the newer stuff too, but they are one of the few companies who take the old stuff and for free.

Related reading:

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Donation box for eyeglasses to the Lions Club
Donation box for eyeglasses to the Lions Club | Source

Recycle Miscellaneous Items

The hard to recycle list:

  • Medical items like eyeglasses and hearing aids can be recycled. Hearing Aid Donations will take used hearing aids, even if in bad condition. There are several places that will take your used eyeglasses, seen here in the eHow article.
  • You can recycle your used fur coats and get paid at Cash for Fur Coats, which goes towards pillows, teddy bears and other crafts.
  • Photo equipment (cameras) and video equipment can be recycled at Adorama using their their quote page.
  • Used trophies and plaques can be recycled at Lamb Awards
  • Carpet America Recovery Effort at Carpet has as locator map for those recycling used carpet
  • Whole Foods Grocery has partnered with Cork Re-Harvest to accept corks for free, (or if you want cash, try selling it on eBay).
  • KnetGolf will buy your golf balls and pay you. They also sell balls at half price. You can also try selling your golf balls locally to driving ranges, putt putt, and golf courses.
  • Many bowling alleys will take your unused unwanted balls not for their inventory but to either give away or sell cheaply to youth leagues ages 8 to 20.
  • Best Buy will recycle most vacuums, fans, dishwashers, many other appliances and electronics. Most things are free of charge with the exception of computer monitors which costs $25 (US dollars) and with a limit of 2 per household per day. They also allow the recycling of TVs, even the big box tvs known as tube TVs (with Cathode ray tubes) up to 32 inches measured diagonally and flat panel tvs up to 50 inches. You can take these to them at any time for a price of $25 or if buying a replacement from them they will haul the old tv out for only $14.99 when they deliver the new one. Here is the Best Buy link for their recycling page for TVs and all the items they will allow.
  • Staples recycles cordless phones, desktop copiers, satellite receivers and even shredders which Best Buy will not take. Here is the link to Staples office equipment recycling page.
  • Recycle a vehicle by donating to: the Lung Association; the Diabetes Association; the Purple Heart Foundation; Make-a-Wish Foundation; or a vets organization. You may compare all of those and more at 800 Charity


Recycle Batteries and Ballasts

Which batteries can you recycle for cash

Some batteries may be free to recycle, while others can have cash value. Lead batteries like 12 volt batteries for vehicles and riding lawn mowers have cash value. Usually the payout is $6 (six USD) per vehicle battery and $1 for lawnmower batteries, but prices may vary at different locations around the country. Sometimes 6 volt batteries for lanterns and flashlights can have value depending on the type, (alkaline vs. zinc carbon), and if they are alkaline they will not pay you for those 6 volts.

Most nickel batteries are rechargeable, but not all are, so if they are rechargeable they can be dropped off for free. Some of the free drop-off nickel based batteries are nickel-cadmium (NICD) and nickel metal hydride (NIMH). Silver oxide or lithium batteries like those found in watches and hearing aids are also free to leave with scrap metal yards.

Dry cell batteries like AA and AAA which run clocks and TV remotes, and the A23 battery which is used for home security and garage door openers do not have a cash value. Size C and D dry cell batteries for radios also have no value. A few places may take dry cell batteries, but the rule of thumb is that non-rechargeable batteries are actually a charge to you of $1.50 per pound. None of the alkaline batteries (to date) are rechargeable and therefore have no value.

Ballasts and their bulbs

Bulbs that are compact fluorescent lights also known as CFLs are free to drop off, although most places will not take broken bulbs, coated bulbs or leaking ballasts. Ballasts can have value as well, because they have copper, wire, and iron. The older ballasts actually are worth more at the scrap metal yard and also have copper, circuit boards and electrical transformers, but they also have that sticky tar that contain PCBs which are dangerous. You might want to take those to the scrap metal yard whole and in tact without tearing it down.

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Up-cycle with a swap or trade
Up-cycle with a swap or trade | Source
Metal Recycling helps clean a shed or garage
Metal Recycling helps clean a shed or garage

Which Metals are Recyclable

Who recycles what

There are some specific places that take ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Some of the non-ferrous metals would be cable wires, insulated cable, ACSR, Aluminum BX, telephone wire, and tech and robot cable to name a few. You can always try your local recycling scrap metal yard first, but if that doesn't work, there are some specialty places that I found online that I've included.

Silver cadmium can be recycled at smelters and refiners, which takes: silver cadmium powder, silver solder, silver oxide, silver brazing wire, and silver forklift contacts. You can see a full list of the recyclable products of Silver Cadmium at "Specialty Metals". This same company also takes Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium.

Scrap silver is taken at refining companies like: RF connectors, silver reflectors, optics, mirrors, silver chloride, silver sulphide, ash, silver flake, shot, bullion, and dust. One such company recycling scrap silver is The Refining Company Inc. That same company also takes Gold Plate items like: connector pins, sheet of spacers, processor cores, fiber optic pick-up cable, and squares from component manufacturing. Their gold plated materials page is here.

Silver plate is a little harder to get rid of, and some antiques are worth more as a tea set than scrap metal prices. If it doesn't have much value, you can still get rid of it, but you need to try to identify what kind of silver plated items you have, because some have a copper alloy base where others have a nickel alloy base, or even a combination of the 2 or even 3 metals. The website at Scrap Metal Junkie should be able to help with that, as well as gleaning some information from instructions provided by eHow on recycling silver plate.

Your local scrap metal yard (not the same as the landfill) will usually take the less specific metals and the more common household items like aluminum wheels, chrome hubcaps, copper, brass, and car parts such as radiators and catalytic converters. Scrap metal yards pay by each number (flat rate) or pay by weight, and some of the specialty places (listed above) pay too.

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Recycle Printer and Fax Ink

Recycle Inkjet and Laser Toner and Fax Cartridges

There are several places that will accept eWaste with regards to ink cartridges and pay you for it, while others may prefer your surplus, new print cartridges. Toner cartridges tend to pay a bit more, however it does however depend on the brand and several other factors. While most companies will pay individuals to recycle, it is probably the businesses with volume that stand to gain from this venture, because there is not a lot of money in recycling just one or two ink cartridges. This would also be great for non-profit organizations, charities and schools if they had a recycling collection drive for a fundraiser. The list includes:

  • Ink Canada recycles empty inkjet and toner cartridges in Canada
  • Ink Guides gives several links to places that recycle cartridges
  • Ink sends you a box and they pay for shipping. You can even look on their website and match up the type of cartridge you have so you know in advance how much they will pay you.
  • U.S. Recycle Ink, a division of US Laser, Inc provides a cash program for ink and toner recycling. They will pay you up to $4 (or four USD) per empty ink cartridge and $20 for unused printer cartridges. They also pay for toner cartridges at the rate of $12 if it is empty and at times up to $100 for unused toner.
  • eCycle Group recycles inkjet and fax cartridges, located in USA
  • Advantage Cartridge recycles inkjet and laser toners; company located in the U.S
  • and lastly Toner Buyer who recycles empty and new surplus cartridges, even if out-of-date. They take inkjet cartridges as well as copier, fax and printer toner. One of the largest cartridge recyclers, they serve Canada, USA, Mexico, Western Europe and the Pacific Rim.

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e-Waste and e-Trash of electronics
e-Waste and e-Trash of electronics | Source

Recycling e-Waste and Tech

You can donate your computer to The National Cristina Foundation which helps disadvantaged persons, those with disabilities and even students at risk by matching them to donated equipment to help schools, public agencies and other charities. One of the things they take is your old working printer. Additionally NCER or National Center for Electronics Recycling, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization will take your old printer that no longer works. If you still need cash for those items, then see the section below.

Cash in on recycling with your trash for cash

There are many places that will pay you to recycle your cell phones, electronics, and eWaste, while putting cash in your pocket to buy new elsewhere or trade-in to get money applied to your next purchase. Some offer same day cash, while others offer gift cards to be used at participating partner sites. While some companies require the item to still be in good working condition, others will take the item regardless of its condition.

Disclaimer: You basic plain flip phone will probably not have much value beyond $1 to 8 dollars, but the PDAs, and Smartphones can be substantially more, sometimes paying out a few hundred dollars.

Recycling in USA (cell phones only):

Other Electronics Recycling in USA:

  • My Boneyard recycles all kinds of electronics including eReaders and even film cameras and lenses
  • Nextworth recycles all kinds of electronics even Blu-ray and DVD Television series collection of episodes
  • Gazelle recycles electronics including cell phones for trade-in
  • You Renew recycles laptops and cell phones for trade-in
  • Eco New Online recycles tech products in exchange for reward card (or gift card at participating partners)
  • Tech Forward recycles electronics for you to then upgrade
  • My Laptop Broke recycles any model laptop including with missing accessories, parts or broken
  • Sell Broken Phones recycles all kinds of devices including broken cell phones
  • Buy My Tronics recycles electronics of all kinds including PDAs, Playstations, and even wireless aircards
  • Sell Cell recycles cell phones including the blackberry (also Microsoft Surface Pro)

Recycling in Canada:

  • Cell Cycle recycles cell phones and smartphones, but only those working get cash
  • Buyback World recycles many electronics
  • Techville buys back netbooks, kindles, game consoles, monitors, TVs and more

© 2013 GetFactsnotHype


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