How to Make Money Recycling

Whether you returns cans and bottles for their deposits, collect, repair and resell used appliances or locate the appropriate market for selling scrap metal and other materials, there are plenty of ways to make money recycling. If you are creative and persistent, you can earn a decent amount of money. Returning cans and bottles for the deposit will earn a few dollars, but it is not a lucrative endeavor. To make it worth your while, use the Internet, garage sales, flea markets and pawn shops to turn one person’s trash or throwaway object into ready cash.

Recycling Materials

One of the easiest ways to get started recycling for profit is to return cans and bottles for their deposit. Stores may not take cans and bottles from products they do not sell, so be prepared to go to several locations. In some states there are no deposits, but some recycling centers will pay by the pound. Glass and aluminum cans are a source of revenue for the right people, so they will pay you for them.

Appliance and Electronics

Used appliances and electronics are two other options. If you have the mechanical knowledge, you can collect, rebuild and resell washers, dryers and refrigerators for profit. The same is true with electronics. Some businesses will pay you for the material contained within these components. Recycled electronics may prove to be a source of income to the right person. The metal contained in appliances alone is another way to make money. These are possibilities open to you. You just have to discover who will pay you for them.


Many businesses will pay you for used batteries. They have an incentive to get as many as possible, as they turn them around to sell or make money on the components. Thus, they will pay for your old used batteries, even if they don't work any longer.


Online auction websites are a great way to sell reusable objects found for free, at thrift stores, estate and garage sales. If you have an eye for value, you can turn items around for a profit online. You can also consider renting space at a flea market or thrift shop. Your task will be to constantly find new objects to sell for more than you paid for them. It’s not selling the materials for cash, but technically it is recycling. Many thrifty people go well out of their way to find deals on used goods. Oftentimes they are of a better quality than new counterparts. If you have valuable or desirable goods, pawn shops are another option. They will pay you cash straight up for things like cameras, jewelry, power tools, firearms, sporting goods, musical instruments and anything else valuable to them.

It is possible to earn money by recycling. By collecting scrap materials, used appliances and electronics, resalable goods and things returnable for their deposit, you can turn found or otherwise collected goods into cash.