Everyone knows you can make a few cents here and there by gathering used plastics, aluminum cans, and glass and taking them in to be recycled. But that’s just the beginning! There are hundreds of everyday items you can recycle once they break or run out; just check out this list below to see how you could add to your rainy day fund by recycling.
1. Car Batteries
Once your car battery has seen its last mile, you can take it into the manufacturer or an auto repair shop and they will give you around $5, then refurbish the battery there.
2. Structural Steel
Scrap metal recycling companies will pay a good price for the structural steel that is used in buildings. No matter where you live, you can get a lot of money for brass bearings or stainless steel, from Calgary to Las Vegas, Seattle to Miami.
3. Destroyed Phone/Music Players
Even if your phone or music player has been for a swim or completely shattered, places like BuyMyTronics.com will give you cash for the device. You can get a quote before you send it in, so you know how much you will receive.
4. Gold Jewelry
Gold jewelry that is old or broken could be worth more today than it was when you bought it because the price of gold has gone up. Gold can be endlessly recycled, and you can profit by selling it to a jewelry store, pawnshop, or a refinery.
TerraCycle.com will accept all your food packaging and wrappers. Instead of throwing them in the trash yourself, allow TerraCycle to recycle them and donate the money they make to charity – and you can win cool prizes each month!
6. Wine Corks
Crafters and artists will pay about 10 cents a pop for wine corks through EBay auctions, so it is best to save up a few months’ worth if you are planning on selling your corks this way.
7. Cooking Oil
More viable for restaurants, it is now possible to sell your used cooking oil to companies that will convert it into biodiesel fuel and hydraulic oil. Your restaurant might also get a government rebate for going green on top of the cash you make on the oil.
You probably don’t worry too much about your hair adding to a landfill, but you can make some money by selling your hair to wig companies—as long as it is over ten inches, and does not contain chemicals from dyes or smoking.
9. Printer Cartridges
Staples will buy back your ink and toner for $2 per cartridge (on a Staples card). The store will give you free shipping to send the cartridges back, or you can bring them to your local Staples store.
10. CDs and Video Games
Have you beaten all the levels on LEGO Marvel Super Heroes on Xbox? Have you already burned that Britney Spears CD onto your iPod? Stores like Second Spin will buy your old CDs and games, paying you up to $25 for hot games!
If your clothing has been gently used, you can sell it to consignment shops (if the garb is designer or very high quality) or exchange shops (which look for trendy clothes). Of course, donating your clothing to those less fortunate is also a noble way to recycle your clothing.
Now you have the information and the tools not only to save our earth by keeping your trash out of landfills, but also to make a little cash along the way! What will you spend your well-deserved money on?
Tim Adams has a huge love and passion for culinary arts. He enjoys cooking, baking, food, and gardening. In his spare time, Tim is an activist for protecting the environment and trusts Federal Metals to handle his stainless steel recycling.