As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
And that still rings true today. Nowadays, there are dozens of ways that you can you trade your trash for cash, meaning that it’s easier than ever to get money for stuff you’d otherwise just throw away.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best methods to turn your trash into cash, and also, lessen your impact on the environment.
What will I learn?
1. Junk Mail
As many people do, you probably get a lot of junk mail in your email inbox and your mailbox.
Rather than simply sending it to the junk folder or recycling it, you can actually earn money by selling it.
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The center generally accepts mail related to insurance, banking, credit cards, telecommunication, and travel and leisure.
All you need to do is register with the site, and then each week, you’ll need to send your qualifying mail in a pre-paid envelope.
The SBK Center is a reputable company that has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
If you’ve got old textbooks lying around from high school or college, you could earn money from them.
If you no longer need a textbook and want to declutter your home a little, then try selling it.
A website called BookScouter makes selling old Textbooks easy.
It’s a comparison tool, which you can use to find the best price for your textbooks. All you need to do is visit the site and enter the textbook’s ISBN. Then they will show you which sites in their database will give you the best price. After that, you simply ship your item to the site you want to sell to, and you’ll be paid in return.
3. Aluminum Cans
Aluminum cans can be recycled over and over again, as aluminum is a sustainable metal.
Within 60 days, your old can is turned into a new can and placed back on store shelves.
Not only is recycling aluminum cans good for the environment, but it’s also a good way to earn money from your trash.
According to the Aluminum Association, people in the US earn almost $1 billion a year from recycling aluminum cans. On average, recycling cans pay about $0.50 per pound and about 34 cans amount to that weight.
To find recycling centers near you, check out the Alcoa website.
While you won’t get rich selling aluminum cans, it can still earn you a little bit of cash, and you’ll aid your environment in the process.
If you’re struggling to fit stuff into your closet, why not sell some items that you haven’t worn in the past year?
If you’ve got items that are in good condition or that you haven’t worn much, then you can sell them.
Look for vintage and second-hand stores in your local area, and see if you can sell some of your unwanted clothing.
There are also websites online, like Recycle your Fashions where you can sell your old clothes.
5. Wedding Dress
If you no longer need or want your wedding dress, then why not sell it?
A platform called PreownedWeddingDresses makes selling your old wedding dress easy.
On this website, you can get 50 to 60% of the value of your dress.
You can also sell bridesmaids dresses there.
The site does not charge commission on things you sell, but there is a $25 listing fee for wedding dresses.
Whether it’s a smartphone or a laptop you no longer need, you can make money by selling your old electronics.
One of the best ways to earn cash from recycling your old electronics is through a website called Gazelle.
All you need to do is find your item, whether it’s a phone or a laptop, and then answer a few simple questions. Next, you need to ship the item to Gazelle, which is free for items that are worth $1 or more.
When they receive it, Gazelle will check the item and you’ll get a payment. The site offers numerous payment options, including check, PayPal, and Amazon Gift Cards.
Gazelle is a reputable platform, which has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
7. Cardboard Boxes
Selling cardboard boxes for cash is a good way to make a little extra cash.
Whether you’ve just moved and are inundated with boxes, or have a ton of boxes leftover from Amazon orders, you could declutter your home and make money.
Many people are looking for cheap boxes for moving, and shipping but finding buyers can be difficult.
BoxCycle, however, makes the whole process much easier
BoxCycle is a website that brings together buyers and sellers, making selling boxes simpler and more profitable. All you need to do is set up a listing, and then when someone in your area wants the boxes, you’ll organize a collection time. After the buyer collects the boxes and verifies the sale, BoxCycle will pay you.
It’s free to put a listing on BoxCycle, and payments are made through PayPal and can be withdrawn at any time.
8. Wine Corks
If you enjoy a glass of wine, then you could make cash from selling your old wine corks.
A company called Yemm & Hart will pay you 1/2¢ per cork. However, your package of corks must weigh at least 15 lbs, which is about 1,500 corks.
Payments are processed within 45 days of receipt of the package and are made via check.
9. Used Ink Cartridges
Did you know that companies will actually pay you for your used ink cartridges?
If you’ve got any empty inkjet or laser printer cartridges, you could sell them to office supply stores, like Staples.
Most stores will pay about $2.00 per cartridge.
You could also sell them on eBay or to an ink-cartridge buy-back website, like Toner Buyer and eCyclce Group.
eCycle Group is a reputable company, which will pay you money for inkjet and laser printer cartridges. They pay out every month, but you must have $25 in your account for payments to be made.
Shipping is free too.
10. Scrap Metal
You can earn money from selling scrap metal and you’ve probably got more metal items in your home than you think you do.
If you’ve got an old bike or BBQ that’s cluttering up your garage, why not make some money from it through recycling.
One of the best platforms for selling scrap metal is GotScrap.com.
You can use their site to find out how much cash you can earn. Simply go to the site, and fill out their online form.
They have dozens of scrap yards located throughout the USA.
Rather than simply throwing out your magazines, sell them to buyers and make some money from them instead.
Back issues of magazines are fairly sought after, especially if they are niche topics, like fashion or crafts.
A great place to sell old magazines is eBay.
12. Glass bottles
If you’ve got glass bottles lying around the house that you don’t need, then you could make money from them.
Colored glass and decorative bottles, sell particularly well, as do wine bottles.
Great places to sell them are on Esty or via Craiglist in the hobbies section.
Buy and sell groups on Facebook are also a great place to find potential buyers. You can often get a few dollars per bottle.
Your old furniture might not be of any use to you anymore, but it could be highly sought after by someone else.
Etsy is also another good option, as is Craigslist.
14. CDs and DVDs
Online, there’s still a big demand for discs, like CDs and DVDs. So, if you’ve got some old movies, games or music that you no longer want, then you could sell them and make a profit.
A great platform for selling old CDs, DVDs and games quickly is Decluttr.com.
On the site, all you need to do is enter your disc’s barcode, and then the site will give you a buy-back offer. After you’ve received an offer you’re happy with, you simply need to ship the item, which is free, and you’ll receive a check.
15. Cooking Oil
Rather than throwing it out, sell your old cooking oil for cash.
Many companies use your old cooking oil to make biodiesel.
One company called EnviroTek will collect your used cooking oil and pay you in return.
The company pays $1 per gallon of oil, but if you refer a restaurant grease account you can earn an extra $25.
The company will then turn your oil into biodiesel.
Currently, the company only operates in New Hampshire and Vermont. However, there are other companies, like the Sacramento Biofuels Network, so you may be able to find a similar program in your area.
Rather than throwing out your receipts, sell them to a company in exchange for rewards, like points, and money.
While you might not believe it, there are actually dozens of companies that are searching for receipts for market research purposes.
The easiest way to sell your receipts to these companies is via apps. Using smartphone apps, all you need to do is scan your receipts and you’ll be awarded points or money.
One of the best apps for selling receipts is Checkout51. It’s a mobile app, which can be used to save money on groceries.
All you need to do is take a picture of your receipt and redeem your offer. It’s a great way to save money on stuff you’re already buying. You can withdraw your money when your account reaches $20. Payments are made via check.
Ibotta is a cash-back app, which is available on both iPhone and Android devices. You can use it to get cash back from your shopping.
All you need to do is check out the apps’ offers, purchase the products you want, and then take a photo of your receipt.
You can earn even more money if you buy featured products, redeem items at certain retailers, or complete tasks.
You need to earn a minimum of $5 in order to make a withdrawal. Payments are made via PayPal.
17. Reclaimed Wood
Whether you’ve just remodeled your home or taken down an old barn, if you’ve got old wood lying around, then you could earn some cash from it.
There are many companies that will pay you money for old wood, whether that’s walnut, maple or white oak wood.
Most companies will give you a quote prior to sale.
One of the best companies for selling wood, which has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, is Antique Beams and Boards.
18. Junk Car
Now, not many of us are that fortunate to have a “junk” car, but for those of us who do, it can be a great unexpected source of cash.
A few years ago the U.S. government had the very popular Car Allowance Rebate System, known better as Cash for Clunkers, program.
Unfortunately, the federal government has ended the program, but there are a few states like California that have their Cash for Clunkers of sort that you can use to sell your junk car to.
For those living in states (and indeed countries) without such programs, there are private companies that you can sell your junk car to, including USJunkCars. You can, of course, use local Yellow Pages to find local companies who may be interested in paying you for your junk vehicle.
So, if you’ve got stuff in your home that you consider “junk”, don’t just throw it out. Instead, find people for whom your trash is a treasure, and make a profit from the stuff you no longer need.