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Recycling- Good for Your Pocketbook?

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The following is a guest post from Kevin at, where he writes about many personal finance topics but focuses on changing your attitude about money.

As you try to reach your personal finance goals, sometimes a little extra money may be the key that you need. When money is tight, an extra $10 or $20 can really make all the difference. If you want a little extra money without going out and getting a side job, recycling is an easy way to start. It is good for your finances and is a great way to do your part to save the planet.

Use What You Have

Many people run out and get extra containers or storage bins before starting to recycle. This completely defeats the purpose. If you are recycling to get some extra money, spending money won’t do you any good. Recycling isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It will take a long time to build up to a small amount of money. Use things you have to maximize your earnings. An old cardboard box or trash can is a great place to start throwing bottles and cans. An empty trash bag will even do the job.

Get What You Pay For

One reason that recycling is such a good idea, is that you really are usually only getting your own money back. In many states bottled goods are charged a deposit. This deposit is encouragement to recycle. You might be paying five cents a bottle at purchase and then have this returned to you when you recycle. By taking your bottles and cans to the recycling center, you are only getting back the money you have already invested.

Little Amounts Add Up

Many people don’t recycle because they feel that the pocket change they are saving doesn’t matter. It is true, you aren’t going to make a ton of money recycling. However, you may be able to get $40 or $50 dollars each year. If you are running low on funds before payday, those bottles and cans might really come in handy. Many supermarkets have recycling centers right outside. This means that you can take your recycling quickly without having to run all across town.

If you are looking for a great way to build up a little extra cash for something you already have laying around, consider doing your part to save by planet by recycling. Don’t just send your extra cash to the dump, take a little time and recycle; it will be worth your effort.

Do you recycle?

Crystal Comments:  We don’t have recycling pick up, so Mr. BFS and I only save up aluminum cans in trash bags and newspaper in a couple of cardboard boxes.  We stopped drinking soda regularly and only get 2-3 newpapers a week, so we have yet to do anything with our cache.  I’m hoping for $10-$20 when I finally drop off the cans.

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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12 thoughts on “Recycling- Good for Your Pocketbook?

  1. I recycle like crazy! We have curbside pick up, so it is easy to do. Our state also gives 10 cents per returnable for certain cans and bottles (you pay for it when you buy the products at the store, then you get your own money back when you return it). As a kid, I used to go to the park at the end of my street and collect all the discarded beer bottles. Disgusting, yes, but I loved the extra cash!

  2. It is so strange that your city doesn’t pick up recycling! We don’t make any money off of our recycling, but I love the convenience of just putting things on the curb and knowing they will be reused. Redeeming our trash! We are starting to compost a bit too, and I love knowing that trash is feeding our garden and will bring new life next Spring!

  3. @Everyday Tips, parts of Houston have recycling pickup but it hasn’t made it to us yet…I cannot wait since that would make it SO much easier.

    Oh, and I would have picked up those beer bottles too. 🙂

    @AJ, Houston has recycling pickup in a lot of areas, but we are right outside the city limits (1/2 mile) and it hasn’t made it to us yet. 🙁

  4. We have curb side recycling for almost all kinds of recyclables plus can/bottle deposits. So recycling is a no brainer for us.

  5. Crystal–I cannot wait til they roll out curbside recycling for you as well–we started it almost a year ago and it is sooo nice! We only takie our trash out once every other week and it’s not even full because of how much we can recycle.

    I’m crossing my fingers for you!

  6. We recycle but I think the thing we do that sets us apart is we make building blocks from our junk mail! It’s called papercrete. You take a mixture of junkmail, water and concrete poured into forms and let dry. Our first complete project were wall for our yurt.

  7. I know I do not recycle enough. At work, we recycle just about everything recyclable, but home is a different story. Any sodas we drink are from a 2 ltr. … would be noce to recycle or find some other use for that plastic.

    For extra spnding cash, we do toss our change into a 5gal. bottle. That really adds up over the year.

    Nice ideas Kevin.

  8. @jim, I cannot wait until we have curbside recycling!

    @etireby40, I’ve been saving up cans for about a year or more and we only have a few dollars worth too. I won’t take them in until I have one full car load, lol.

    @frugalscholar, I haven’t actually been to the scrap metal place yet, but it is only a few miles from my job. I think it would be an economical use of a lunch break. 🙂

    @Jenna, peer pressure can be a good thing, lol.

    @Amanda, me too! I want the kind you have – paid by the pound would be awesome! We would have one bag of trash a week instead of two if we could recycle the paper and plastic containers…

    @Molly on Money, I have never heard of the junk mail concrete thing! That’s very cool. What is a “yurt”? I thought it may have been a mispelling or something but I can’t figure it out even with context clues so I’m guessing it’s an actual thing I just don’t know (does it have something to do with chickens?)…

    @Money Reasons, I would happily donate my 3 bags to his collection if you all lived closer…I’d give up the money to save an errand, lol.

    @ODWO, we don’t either. I am now super jealous of everyone with curbside recycling pick up…

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