How to Make Money Recycling!

Make money recycling? You bet! Just ask Willy.

Everyone in my neighborhood knows that if they have anything (I mean anything) made of metal that they want to get rid of, it’s easy. Broken bike frames, old lawn furniture, a box of aluminum cans, a useless dryer, just set it on the curb and poof, it’s gone. “Willy,” an old fellow who drives a beat-up truck makes his rounds and will scoop it up with a smile.

You don’t have a magic metal man in your neighborhood? Well, that man could be you if you realized how valuable metal is. “Willy” makes about $100 a day grabbing other people’s useless junk.

What does he know that we apparently don’t? There’s gold in junk! Scrap metal is big business and the scrap yard will take anything! Some metals, like aluminum, bring about $1 a pound (at the time of this article). Other metals don’t pay as much but still bring money. Willy knows the value of recycling!

DSC_5866Most people realize that scrap metal can be recycled, but it’s just one example of how to make money recycling. There’s value in recycling just about everything. Take bailed cardboard. It brings about .10 cents a pound in my neighborhood. Not bad!

Now, maybe you’re not up to this kind of recycling for money. There are lots of ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle that save you money. And yes, you can even make money recycling!

So, leave the heavy lifting to Willy. Call your local metal scrap yard and they’ll send someone to pick up your broken washer, or bicycle frame.

Let’s focus on easy ways to save money and make money recycling.

  1. Reuse an item in a new way. My mother could make 25 things from a milk carton. She had some creative ideas, like cutting off the bottom of the milk carton and using the handle to create a giant scoop. One year, she made piggy banks from milk cartons. And, of course, they’re great for storage. Finding new uses for old items gives them new life and keeps you from having to make a purchase.
  2. Compost your table scraps. Not many people think of this as a money saving project, but it is. Creating compost for your garden means you’ll have great veggies without having to purchase fertilizers and bagged compost.
  3. Turn clothing that can’t be used for resale into craft projects. People have been doing this for ages. Teddy bears made of chenille blankets were once quite popular. Quilts can be made of old shirts. I even have a talented friend who dissembles wool sweaters and re-knits them into fashions and household goods. This is a very popular trend for serious knitters!
  4. Use every item completely. The perfect example of using an item completely can be found in copy paper. Reuse the back of your copier paper. Then after the paper can no longer serve that purpose, shred it and use it for packing when shipping items. In an ideal recycling world the person who receives the package would make that shredded paper into a paper Mache piñata for her kid’s birthday party!
  5. Make money with gently used household items in five ways:
    1. Have a yard sale.
    2. Donate the items. Get a receipt and take a tax write off.
    3. Take the items to a resale shop or vintage store to sell them or for a commission.
    4. Sell the items on Ebay or Craigslist.
    5. Trade the items with a friend or neighbor for something you need.

You can even throw a trading party for friends. For a women’s party, have everyone bring their used clothing, shoes and handbags for trade; donate the rest to charity. Or have a block party where you trade your excess items of any type.

If you have more recycling ideas on how to make money recycling, how to reuse interesting objects or how to save money by reusing specific items, share your ideas.

By simply sharing your recycling ideas, you can make a positive difference!

Photo credit: Paul Black 2011

About Jennifer Scheffel

Jennifer Scheffel blogs about saving money, living frugally and how best to save with coupons. Jennifer’s goal in life is to pursue all things, even ordinary chores, with passion and purpose. Her interests include education, classical piano, running, cooking for friends, hosting parties and homemaking.

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