How to Recycle your Old Stuff for Cash

by The Greenest Dollar

aluminum cansWhat do you do with all that “old stuff” laying around your home? You can leave it where it is, throw it out, or sell it to make a few dollars. Out of these options, there is one that is head and shoulders above the rest.

You guessed it: selling these items for cash is clearly the way to go. This gives you the chance to cut through the clutter while making a few extra dollars along the way.

Reselling items through traditional outlets like Craigslist and eBay can make sense. However, you’ll need to think out of the box to sell some of the more obscure items around your home.

Recycle and Earn

There are many items you can “recycle” as a means to earn money, help others, and do good for the environment.

Aluminum Cans
Let’s start with one of the most obvious choices: soda cans. Are you the type of person who drinks several cases of soda every month? If so, find a recycling program in your town that pays for empty cans. You may only earn five cents per can, but over time this can really add up.

Ink Cartridges
What about ink cartridges? These programs are picking up a lot of steam. Although you may go through an ink cartridge every so often at home, the real money can be made when you coordinate with local businesses.

For example, is your employer currently recycling ink cartridges? If not, ask for permission to collect these instead of throwing them in the trash. As long as you are honest about why you are collecting them – to recycle – your employer likely won’t have an issue.

Many big name companies, such as Staples, have ink cartridge recycling programs. At this time, Staples is offering $2 back in Staples Rewards for each cartridge. With a maximum of 10 per month, this works out to $20 in savings. Surely, you can use this $20 at your local Staples for something – even if it’s just for the candy next to the checkout counter.

Used Golf Balls
Do you live close to a golf course or driving range? Every day, errant shots make their way out of play. From there, the golfer grabs another ball and never again thinks about the one that was lost. Fortunately, this is a great way for you to cash in.

There are companies, online and off, that buy used golf balls. The more you collect, the more money you are going to earn in return. Plus, picking up these stray balls is good for the environment.

How much can you earn? This depends on multiple factors including the condition, the buyer, and how many balls you are selling. Generally speaking, you will be able to make between five and fifteen cents per ball.

Tip: To get a better deal, sell the balls direct to driving ranges or end consumers.

Final Thoughts
Whether you have these items around your home or need to go out and collect them on your own, you can earn a nice side income from reselling and recycling what you might otherwise think of as trash – or at least you’ll be able to fund your soda habit.

Don’t throw your old stuff in the trash. Instead, recycle it for cash!


Rachel September 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Going to start collecting aluminum now. It’s always nice to have confirmation that “every little bit helps.” Cool post!

Daisy@Everything Finance September 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

We definitely don’t drink that much soda, but we do accumulate wine bottles and other recyclables. I find it more valuable to let them accumulate for awhile before going to the depot. That way, the time taken to drive to the depot is more worth it.

Canadian Extreme Couponer Theresa October 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Here in Canada We have an awesome Recycling system, that pays a lot, but we do pay for it at the till. It’s a great way to get your money back.
In Canada ours include Milk Jugs, Juice containers, including lunch box juice boxs.

Ross December 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Those are some great ideas. Another one people don’t think of too often is cardboard. You need a lot of it to resell it as a commodity, but it can be done. There are a ton of businesses that would rather give away their cardboard than pay for it to be recycled or trashed.

Pam@Pennysaverblog March 21, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Selling recycled material is a great fundraiser for kids. In our small community a lot of the high school kids collect bottles, etc. and then use them towards their grad or prom.

[email protected] May 19, 2013 at 4:30 am

I used to walk many miles collecting cans when I was younger. I would look in parks after events, in trash cans and dumpsters and even walk along the railroad lines. I could often find a few dollars worth of cans with little effort and that would get me a soda and some credits on my favorite video games. I am not so sure that many kids are willing to do the dumpster diving dirty work to look for cans these days.

Thomas @ Expertwager April 19, 2014 at 9:04 am

Those are the product specifications. Another one individuals do not think of too often is card board. You need a lot of it to sell it as a product, but it can be done. There are a ton of companies that would rather hand out their card board than pay for it to be reprocessed or removed. Thanks.

Lisa Campbell June 7, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Intrested in how to make the soda can bracelet

T. Webster August 11, 2015 at 10:42 am

Very frustrating that there are NO DIRECTIONS for making the soda can bracelets. I saw the directions at one time, however, they are not there now. PLEASE ADVISE!

Andrew September 17, 2015 at 11:45 am

Aluminum prices are definitely down, but still worth stockpiling if you have the room. Copper is still relatively profitable, albeit down at the moment too.

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