12 Things to Recycle for Money : Easy Ways to Make Extra Cash

How many times have you been on the verge of throwing something away, but then thought, Wait! I might be able to make some extra cash with this!? Instead of taking that stuff straight to the trash, here are eight things you can sell for recycling for money.

12 Things to Recycle for Money


1) Mobile phones


Mobile phones don’t have a high resale value, but if you have an old one gathering dust in a drawer or cupboard you could still get some money out of it. You could opt to trade it in when upgrading, sell it privately on sites like eBay, or even sell your phone directly back to your mobile provider. Both Vodafone and EE offer recycling schemes that pay up to £30 for old phones. If you’re going through an operator-based scheme, then be sure that you wipe all data from your phone before you hand it over – they won’t accept phones with personal information stored on them.


2) Clothes


Some local charities are looking for donations of used clothing. In some cases, they will even provide a pick-up service. To find out if your favorite thrift store accepts old clothes, just ask someone who works there or call ahead. If you’re into DIY projects, consider mending or altering your castoffs and reselling them on an online classifieds site like eBay or Craigslist. You can also host a clothing swap with friends—most likely you won’t want to wear everything you own all at once, so why not trade it off?


3) Know what kind of recyclables are worth more than others


Knowing what kind of recyclables you have that are worth more than others is going to be key when it comes time to sort your recyclables. Take a look at your trash can, how much is plastic, paper, cans, and cardboard? Use a recycling cheat sheet like one from Earth911 or make your own list. If you’re looking for ideas on what kinds of items you can recycle then take a look at our list below!


4) Find out what they’re worth


You may not have a lot of stuff that you want to throw away, but what if you could get paid to get rid of it? The best way to do that is by calling around and asking local recycling centers what they’ll pay for your recyclables. Not all recyclers will buy from individuals (because they don’t have time), so be sure you get an idea of what your prices are before going through the hassle of cleaning out a garage. And when all else fails, eBay can be an amazing place to list items – because let’s face it, there are still people who collect VHS tapes and records. It takes time, patience, and discipline but making money on eBay is one of my favorite side hustles as well!


5) Start a collection jar



Selling shoes that you no longer wear is a great way to earn some quick cash. Sites like eBay, Craigslist, and local Facebook groups can help you sell your unwanted footwear. Just be sure you’re honest about their condition—and don’t count on earning much from old sneakers, especially if they’re not in good shape or are years out of fashion. If you want more revenue per pair, look for gently used luxury brands and then clean and polish them up before selling them (or use a professional cleaner like Cash 4 Shoes).


6) Shoes


Whether it’s an old pair of sneakers or a dress shoe that’s still in good condition, there are some places you can sell your shoes. For example, if they’re not brand new and they aren’t dirty or tattered, some websites will pay you top dollar for them. Check out Craigslist and eBay; both allow you to sell shoes (or any other item) right from your front door. You don’t even have to worry about shipping! You could also head over to a Goodwill or other thrift store; many of them accept gently used pairs of shoes as donations.


7) Sell everything that’s not expired/unusable


When you’ve got stuff that isn’t expired or unusable, it’s time to start selling it. You can sell almost anything online—especially if you break it down into smaller pieces and package and ship each piece individually. But even if you don’t want to sell your old stuff, sometimes it’s better to simply get rid of things that you no longer need. For example, there may not be much demand in your city for 20 used pairs of jeans or 20 used shirts in a variety of colors. It makes more sense to donate them or throw them away (or use them as rags). The last thing you want is a bunch of clutter taking up space in your home or garage.


8) Laptops


A laptop can’t be taken to a recycling center, so try one of these websites instead. Make sure you get a fair price in line with how old your laptop is and how much memory it has. A used 15-inch MacBook Pro without a hard drive could fetch $90 on Gazelle, while an older Dell Studio XPS without a hard drive could net you about $100 on NextWorth. But if your computer doesn’t work anymore and doesn’t have any real resale value, see if there are any organizations or charities near you that accept broken electronics as donations.


9 ) Plastic bags


With a little time and effort, you can get rid of all that plastic shopping bag waste. Ask local grocery stores if they’ll buy your bags back. If not, turn them into reusable cloth shopping bags by cutting off handles, stitching up holes, and cleaning out gunk. Sure, it takes some work up front, but in the long run, you’ll be saving yourself some dough as well as having one less thing to throw away. You could also sell your bags online – sites like Plastic2Fabric give step-by-step instructions on how to clean them and break down plastics into something useful again (like new bags). It might not be a lot of cash upfront but do enough of it over time and you could be looking at a substantial side income.


10 ) Amazon gadgets


It’s almost always easier to sell a used gadget than buy a new one, as you can usually pick up older models of tech at greatly reduced prices. Amazon has an entire section dedicated to its trade-in program where it pays you in Amazon gift cards to send in old phones, computers, cameras, and more. Simply fill out your information, answer a few questions about your product and package it up. It will take between two and 12 business days for your item(s) to reach Amazon’s warehouse. Once there, a specialist will determine whether or not your product is eligible for trade-in by reviewing its condition in comparison with the condition guide.


11 ) Toilet roll tubes


You can sell these at craft fairs or through sites like Etsy and Zibbet. If you’re crafty, you can use them to make jewelry or other crafts. You can even use them as gift wrap tubes by wrapping a ribbon around them and then placing a label over it; write your family name on one end, so that each member of your family gets their own roll when they come home.


12 ) Makeup Containers


The next time you finish a makeup container, don’t throw it in your trash. Instead, toss it in a plastic bag and leave it by your back door. On trash day, set that bag out with your other recycling so that it can be picked up and recycled properly. Remember not to include any liquids or aerosols; if you do throw something like that away, consult your local waste management company about how best to dispose of them. If there’s no room left in your regular recycling bin, find one near a collection center.




When it comes to recycling, think about how you can get more use out of something instead of tossing it in a landfill. The problem with buying new is that we often don’t think about finding alternative uses for what we already have and instead immediately reach for something shiny and new. At least when you’re recycling, you may be able to sell some old stuff and put some extra cash in your pocket—not a bad deal if you ask us! Recycling at home has lots of benefits, but if you’re looking for additional places or opportunities, check out our list of where you can recycle your stuff. Happy hunting!

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