One of my biggest pet peeves is people who litter. I don’t mean those times when a gust of wind blows away your receipt or a candy wrapper from your car and you just can’t catch it in time. I’m talking about those people who literally use the world as their trash can.
Now, not only is just tossing trash on the ground bad for the environment, but it’s also a waste of cash!
We all know you can get paid for recycling paper, aluminum cans, and even glass bottles and jars, but did you know you can also get paid for your empty bottles – and cans!
It won’t make you rich but it’ll bring in a little extra cash, and we can all do with more of that!
If you usually just recycle your plastic bottles, make money from them instead by taking them to a bottle redemption center.
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But, how and where?
Well today, I’m going to tell you exactly how you can make money with bottle redemption. From states where it’s possible, to finding a center near you, I’ll cover the whole process.
I’ll even give you tips for getting more empties, so you can make even more money.
What will I learn?
First Check if Your State Has Can & Bottle Deposit Laws
Okay, so the first thing you’ll need to do is check if your state has can and bottle deposit laws.
Not all states do, unfortunately.
Currently, there are ten states that have bottle redemption laws.
I’ve listed these states below, along with which beverages and containers are covered:
- California: Californians can earn money from beverages including beer, malt, wine and distilled spirit coolers. And you can also earn on all non-alcoholic beverages, except milk. Vegetable juices over 16 oz. are excluded. Containers that are covered include any container that’s made of aluminum, glass, plastic, or bi-metal; Exempts refillables.
- Connecticut: In Connecticut, you can make money from beer, malt, carbonated soft drinks, and bottled water. Any bottle, can, jar, or carton that’s composed of glass, metal or plastic is accepted. Containers that are more than three liters containing non-carbonated beverages, and HDPE containers are excluded.
- Hawaii: In Hawaii, you can get money back for beer, malt, mixed spirits and wine and all non-alcoholic drinks, except for dairy products. Any container up to 68 oz. composed of aluminum, bi-metal, glass, or plastic is accepted.
- Iowa: If you live in Iowa, you can get money when you return beer, wine coolers, wine, liquor, carbonated soft drinks, and mineral water. So basically you’ll get money for anything that’s alcoholic or carbonated, and water. You can return any bottle, can, jar, or carton that’s made from glass, metal or plastic.
- Maine: In Maine, you’ll make money from all beverages, except dairy products and unprocessed cider. That’s awesome. You’ll get money for any container that’s four liters or less and made from glass, metal or plastic.
- Massachusetts: Get a redemption reward in Massachusetts from beer, malt, carbonated soft drinks, and mineral water. You can get paid for any bottle, can, jar, or carton composed of glass, metal, plastic, or a combination; Excludes biodegradables.
- Michigan: If you reside in Michigan, you can get paid for beer, wine coolers, canned cocktails, soft drinks, carbonated and mineral water. You’ll get a redemption reward for any container that’s less than one gallon and made of metal, glass, paper, or plastic.
- New York: New Yorkers can get paid for beer, malt, wine products, carbonated soft drinks, soda water, and water that doesn’t contain sugar. You can earn from any bottle, can, or jar that’s less than one gallon and made from glass, metal, aluminum, steel, or plastic.
- Oregon: In Oregon, you can get a redemption reward for beer, malt, carbonated soft drinks, and bottled water. All beverages are covered, except for wine, distilled liquor, dairy products, milk substitutes (like plant-based milk) and infant formula. Any bottle, can, or jar that’s composed of glass, metal or plastic is accepted.
- Vermont: In Vermont, you can get a redemption reward for beer, malt, mixed wine, liquor, and carbonated soft drinks. You can get paid for any bottle, can, jar, or carton that’s made from glass, metal, paper, plastic, or a combination.
So, those are the states where you can get redemption rewards for your bottles and other beverage containers.
How to Make Money with Bottle Redemption
Let’s take a look at how you can get paid for returning bottles and other beverage containers.
Check bottles for your state’s imprint
The first step is to check your containers for your state’s imprint. It could be your state’s name in full or an abbreviation, so “Maine” or “MN” for example.
For most states, it will be the name of your state and refund that’s printed on the bottle, like “OR 10¢”.
In the case of California, look for “CRV” for “California Redemption Value” or “CA Cash Refund.”
If a container doesn’t have your state’s imprint, then you won’t be paid for it. Just put containers that don’t contain an imprint in your recycling bin.
Find a place to redeem your bottles for cash
Next up, you need to find a place to redeem your bottles for cash.
Now, redemption rules do vary by state. Most of the time though, you can return them to:
- Grocery stores: Most grocery stores have an area where you can find redemption machines. This could be behind the store or in the store’s parking lot. Ask at your local grocery stores to see if they have the machine and to find where it’s located.
- Gas stations and convenience stores: Some gas stations and convenience stores let you return cans and bottles for cash. So ask at nearby gas stations and convenience stores to see if they offer bottle redemption.
- Redemption centers: You can return your bottles and other beverage containers for cash at redemption centers. Below, we’ll tell you where you can find your nearest center.
Where to find a bottle redemption center near me
Lots of cities and towns have redemption centers.
Now, I have a really easy way for you to find one near you.
Open up Google and enter the phrase “bottle redemption near me.”
Then Google will give you a list of nearby centers.
Here’s what I got when I did this:
If I clicked on “More places” at the bottom I got an even bigger list of redemption centers.
You can even get directions – that’s pretty great!
How Much are Plastic Bottles & Cans Worth?
Now you know where you can return your bottles for cash, you’re probably wondering how much money you’ll get.
Like we said above, there are ten states with beverage container laws, and each state has different rules regarding what containers it’ll accept.
The amount of money you get from returning bottles and other containers also varies from state to state.
Here’s how much you can get:
- California: 5¢ for containers that are less than 24 oz. and 10¢ for containers that are 24 oz. or greater.
- Connecticut: 5¢
- Hawaii: 5¢
- Iowa: 5¢
- Maine: 15¢ for wine and liquor and 5¢ for all other containers.
- Massachusetts: 5¢
- Michigan: 10¢
- New York: 5¢
- Oregon: 10¢
- Vermont: 15¢ for liquor and 5¢ for all other containers.
So you’re not going to get rich from this, but you can bring in some extra cash.
If you had 50 beverage containers each month, and you got 5¢ for each one, you could make $30 a year. If you got 10¢ for each one, you’d make $60.
That’s not a huge amount of money. But with bottle redemption, you get money from something that you’d otherwise just throw out.
So it’s sort of like free money!
If you have a large family or you drink a lot of bottled water or wine, then you might have more than 50 beverage containers each month, so you’ll make more money.
Of course, there are ways you can find more bottles to make money from – and we’ll give you our tips for collecting bottles below.
How do bottle redemption centers make money?
When a retailer purchases beverages from a distributor there’s a deposit paid to the distributor for each container that’s bought. Now, it’s the consumer who pays the deposit to the retailer when they buy a beverage.
When the customer returns the empty container to the grocery store, gas station, convenience store, or redemption center, they get a refund.
Then, the distributor will reimburse the retailer or redemption center the deposit amount. In most states, the distributor also pays the center or retailer an additional handling fee.
Tips for Collecting Bottles Redemption
More bottles equals more cash, right?
That’s why collecting bottles in addition to the ones you have in your household is such a good idea.
Below, I’ve listed a few good ways to get some extra bottles.
Now, before we get started on what to do, let’s cover what NOT to do.
You should NOT rifle through people’s garbage can or recycling bin, even if it’s on the curb-side, for bottles.
It’s uncouth and in some states it’s actually illegal to take stuff out of curbside bins without permission.
Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at some legit ways to get more bottles and other beverage containers.
1. Ask friends and neighbors
A really easy way to get your hands on some extra beverage containers is to ask your friends and neighbors.
I know that some of my friends and neighbors just don’t want the hassle of taking their containers back. And yours are likely the same. You are willing to put in the effort though. So ask them if you could have their unwanted bottles, cans, and cartons.
Many people will be glad for you to take their unwanted beverage containers off their hands!
2, Offer to pick up empties from bars and restaurants
Ask whether you can collect and return empty containers at local bars and restaurants. Some places may be willing to partner with you.
All you need to do is go to your nearby restaurants and bars and offer the owner convenient times for pickup. You could put a post on Craigslist as well asking if any local bars or restaurants need someone to collect empties.
The bar/restaurant gets rid of their unwanted containers and you make money, so it’s a win-win!
3. Look out for litter
I said above that one of my biggest pet peeves is littering.
Sadly though, lots of people do it.
It’s sad, but one of the best ways to get extra bottles, cans and cartons is to look out for litter.
You usually find it – look on the sidewalk, under bushes, or on the beach, and you’ll likely find some.
After events, like a marathon or street fair, there’s usually even more litter.
So right after events is a good time to get some extra bottles and cans.
By picking up litter, you’re not only putting more money in your pocket, but you improve the appearance of your neighborhood and town, and you help your local environment too!
4. Take bags with you
Always carry a garbage bag with you, as you never know when you’ll come across litter that you could make money from.
5. Always wear protective wear
My final tip is to always wear protective gear. Wearing gloves is so important.
Firstly, broken glass or the sharp edge of a can easily cut your hands.
Secondly, if you’re collecting extra bottles and stuff, you never know what you’re going to come across. Sadly, things like syringes and other hazardous materials are tossed on the floor too.
So wearing gloves and something with long-sleeves is such a good idea.
Start Making Money with Bottle Recycling
Now you know where to get cash for bottles, how to find redemption centers near you, how much money you’ll make, and how to get extra bottles.
So start making money!
Do you make money with bottle redemption? Let us know about it in the comments section below.
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