If you’re looking to save the planet instead of creating waste, there are simple ways to recycle items, such as bottles and cans, electronics and paper — and make extra cash.
“People would be surprised at the number of items that can be recycled, repurposed or reused,” says Alex Wan, a board member of The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials, also known as CHaRM, based in Atlanta. They accept recyclables such as cooking grease, glass and Styrofoam. While CHaRM does not pay consumers for recyclables, plenty of places do.
“If your municipality has a recycling program, they’ll provide a list of items they accept as well as don’t accept,” Wan explains. He adds that if your local recycling center doesn’t recycle something you want to get rid of, if you type “recycle” and the item in a search engine or you use the resource Earth911.com, you can pinpoint nearby facilities and organizations that will accept whatever you’re looking to recycle.
Fortunately, you can protect the planet, reduce your waste and earn some extra cash in the process. Here are some items you can repurpose — and tips on how you can make recycling for money work for you.
Here are recyclable items you can trade in for cash:
— Glass bottles.
— Car batteries.
— Ink cartridges.
Aluminum cans are a popular item to recycle. While you won’t make a fortune, if you drink soda often, collecting your cans and depositing them can be an easy way to collect cash.
Type “recycling center near me” in a search engine such as Google, and you can easily find a nearby facility. Keep in mind, the price of aluminum fluctuates from day to day and depending where you live. Another resource is ScrapMonster.com, which supplies information about the amount you can earn for dropping off aluminum cans at different outposts across the country. For instance, in New York and California, you can earn 5 cents per aluminum can. On the other hand, if you donate your aluminum cans to Capital Scrap Metal, LLC, which has four locations in Florida, for example, you’ll receive 25 cents per pound.
Currently, only 10 states (and Guam) have laws set up for consumers to make money from recycling glass bottles. Those states are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont. You’ll earn 2 to 15 cents per bottle, depending on the state you live in and the bottle you deposit. If you don’t live in one of those states, check if there’s a recycling center near you that will accept your glass bottles (and if they’ll pay you for them). Consult Earth911.com to find nearby recycling center locations.
Some stores will give you money or gift cards if you bring car batteries in. For instance, Advance Auto Parts will give consumers a $10 store gift card in most states — provided they aren’t lithium ion batteries (from hybrid vehicles). Meanwhile, AutoZone will give consumers a $10 gift card per car battery. You might also want to check out scrap yards or recycling centers to get the biggest bang for your buck.
“One thing that people often forget you can recycle and make a hefty amount from is your old car,” says Sean Pour, co-founder of SellMax.com, a nationwide car-buying agency. “Recycling cars is great for the environment, and it can fetch you somewhere in the range of $150 to up to $1,000, depending on the car,” he says.
If you don’t opt to sell your car to SellMax.com or another car-selling service, like Junk Car Medics, you might want to try a scrap or salvage yard. Often, your car will be weighed, and generally the heavier the vehicle, the more money you’ll get.
Alternatively, you could donate your car to charity and get a tax deduction that is typically as much as the fair market value of the car, so that you’re not only doing something good for the environment, but also making a little money off of it.
A variety of companies, including Staples and Office Depot, offer cash in exchange for used ink cartridges. At Staples, for example, you can receive $2 in rewards per cartridge (with a limit of 20 returns a month). Meanwhile, at Office Depot, you can earn $2 in program rewards, and cash in up to 10 cartridges a month — provided you make a $10 qualifying purchase the same month.
Even if you don’t need the money and you want to toss an old desktop or TV, it’s a good idea to recycle electronics to keep toxic substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium from getting into the earth’s soil and drinking water. Some states even have laws that make it mandatory to recycle your old electronics. As an added bonus, you can often make some money off of the electronics you want to discard.
To get an idea of how much you can make for your unwanted electronics, go to Flipsy.com, a trade-in comparison website. If you have a smartphone, a tablet or other device, they may be able to tell you where you’ll get the most money when you trade it in. Otherwise, various companies such as Gazelle, Amazon and Decluttr have buyback programs for electronics. While prices vary depending on the item and its condition, you can receive $100 or more for trading it in, plus the added satisfaction of knowing you did the right thing by recycling the item and caring for the planet.
When it comes to recycling, you may not think of outside-the-box unwanted items, but there are a variety of odds and ends that can be repurposed. “The garage sale is a classic example of recycling,” says Steve Hubbard, the CEO and co-founder of SOBE Energy Solutions, which has built technology plants that will convert trash, such as used tires, plastic and electronic waste, into a synthetic gas that can be used to produce clean energy.
“What may not be of value to you can certainly have a value to your neighbor. An old set of skis, golf clubs or tennis rackets, for instance, may be great to learn on but you will probably never use them again. That old lawn mower or snow blower, covered at the back of the garage, may yet be of use and value,” Hubbard says.
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