Recycling plastic bottles for cash is one of the easiest ways of making money recycling.
Not only is recycling plastic good for the environment, but it can also make you money.
If you live in a state that has bottle deposit laws, usually referred to as bottle redemption , then you could make money recycling plastic caps and bottles. All you need to do is collect bottles and caps, and take them to a local recycling center to cash them in.
There are quite a few different types of plastic you can recycle, such as:
- PET or PETE: Used to make clear bottles. Mostly used in food or drink packaging.
- PP: Type of durable plastic often found in medicine bottles, and yogurt containers and other food packaging.
- LDPE: Used to make squeeze bottles
- HDPE: Used in opaque plastic bottles
If you’ve wanted to know, “Where can I recycle plastic for cash near me?”, then check out our quick and easy guide below.
What will I learn?
How Can I Make Money Recycling Plastic Bottles?
If you live in a state that has bottle deposit laws, you can earn money when you recycle plastic bottles.
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You cannot recycle plastic bottles for money unless your state has a bottle bill. Some states without bottle bills do have curbside recycling programs and recycling centers where you can drop off empty, clean plastic bottles and other recyclables, but, these do not pay you.
So, if you want to make money recycling plastic, then you will need to live in one of the ten states that have a bottle bill.
Depending on the state you live in, you could earn between 5 cents and 10 cents per plastic bottle. You can recycle things like plastic mineral water bottles, soda water bottles, and carbonated soft drink bottles.
Here are the states with bottle deposit laws, and how much you can earn.
If you live in California, you can get 5¢ for containers that are less than 24 oz. and 10¢ for containers that are 24 oz. or greater. Those in California can earn for any container that’s made from plastic, as well as those made from glass or bi-metal.
Earn from any can, bottle, jar or carton that’s made from plastic, glass, or metal. HDPE containers are excluded. You can earn 5¢.
Earn 5¢ for containers in Hawaii. You can get cash for any container up to 68 oz. that’s composed of plastic, aluminum, bi-metal, or glass.
Earn 5¢ for containers in Iowa. You can get cash when you return any can, bottle, jar, or carton that’s made from plastic, glass, or metal.
Maine will allow you to earn money for any container that’s four liters or less, and made from plastic, glass, or metal. You can earn 15¢ for wine and liquor and 5¢ for all other containers.
Massachusetts will pay you 5¢ for any can, bottle, jar, or carton composed of plastic, glass, metal, or a combination. Excludes biodegradables.
Michigan will give you a redemption reward for any container that’s less than one gallon, and made of plastic, metal, paper, or glass. You can earn 10¢ for beverage containers.
In New York, you can earn 5¢ from any bottle, can, or jar that’s less than one gallon and made from plastic, steel, glass, metal, or aluminum.
Oregon will pay you 10¢ for beverage containers. Any bottle, can, or jar that’s composed of plastic, metal, or glass is accepted.
Vermont pays you for any can, jar, or carton that’s made from plastic, glass, metal, paper, or a combination. You can get 15¢ for liquor and 5¢ for all other containers.
Where Can I Recycle Plastic for Cash Near Me?
You can recycle plastic bottles for cash in those states above that have bottle bills.
There are lots of places to recycle plastic for cash, including:
Bottle and can redemption centers
You can also return plastic bottles, and other recyclables, for cash at redemption centers if you live in a state with bottle deposit laws.
All you need to do to get started is open up Google, or whichever search engine you use, and enter the phrase, “bottle redemption near me.” You’ll get a list of nearby centers where you can get cash for bottles, cans, and other containers.
This is a great way to make money recycling plastic.
Many grocery stores and supermarkets in states that have bottle deposit laws have machines for plastic bottles and other recyclables. These machines can typically be found behind the store or in the store’s parking lot.
You can use these machines to get cash for your plastic bottles.
Ask your local store whether they have a machine for recycling bottles. After you have loaded all of your recyclables into the machine, most stores will give you a slip of paper. You can redeem this slip of paper with a cashier.
If you’re at the grocery store anyway, you may as well take your plastic bottles with you and make some extra cash on your regular grocery shopping trip.
Gas stations and convenience stores
Many gas stations and convenience stores in bottle bill states will allow you to return bottles, and other items, like cans, for cash.
All you need to do is call or visit your local gas station/convenience store and ask if they offer bottle redemption.
How Much Money Can I Make Recycling Plastic?
If you live in a bottle bill state, you can earn from $0.05 to $0.10 per bottle.
This means that if you have 50 plastic bottles to recycle, you’d earn $2.50 in a state that pays 5 cents per container and $5 in a state that pays 10 cents per container.
That’s not a ton of money, but it is extra money for what is essentially trash.
The more plastic bottles your house goes through, the more you will make. If your family drinks a lot of bottled mineral water or bottled soft drinks, you could make more.
If you are looking to earn extra though, you will need to source bottles from places in addition to those you collect in your own home.
How to Find Extra Plastic Bottles to Recycle
If you are just looking to make a little extra cash from the bottles you already have at home, then you’re all set. You can make money from something that you’d otherwise just throw out.
If you’re looking to maximize your income though, you’ll want to get your hands on as many plastic bottles as you can. After all, the more plastic bottles you have, the more money you will make.
Here are some places where you can find extra plastic bottles and other recyclables, because, remember, you can get paid for aluminum cans and glass bottles too.
Friends and family
Simply ask friends and family if they have any plastic bottles they would be willing to give to you. Most people are happy to have someone deal with their unwanted bottles for them.
Ask your neighbors if they have any plastic you could recycle for them. It’s likely you have neighbors who don’t recycle their plastic, and they would be happy to give these unwanted recyclables to you. Just make sure you get your neighbor’s permission to get their plastic and don’t just go rooting through their trash without asking. It’s illegal in many states and it’s poor etiquette too.
Bars and restaurants
You could offer to pick up empties from bars and restaurants. This is a good way to get extra plastic bottles, as well as other recyclables, that you can cash in.
Simply contact local bars and restaurants and ask if you can collect their empties to recycle them.
Some places might be willing to partner with you, especially if you offer the owner convenient times for pickup. It’s a win-win since the bar or restaurant gets rid of their unwanted containers, and you make money.
Ask management if they’d mind you collecting discarded plastic. Many places would be happy to agree since you’re helping them to recycle. Set up a separate bin in the break room with a note that says, “plastic recyclables only.”
Make sure you stay on top of your plastic collection and don’t let the plastic pile up. It’s important to keep your workplace neat, and, therefore, management happy. So, check the bin daily either during lunch or after work each day.
Unfortunately, many people litter, meaning you’ll often find plastic bottles just scattered on the floor in outdoor areas. If you’re looking for extra plastic bottles, check the following areas:
- Parking lot
- Under bushes
- The beach
After events like a street fair, concert, festival, marathon and other sports events, there’s usually even more litter. Picking up litter not only gives you extra cash, but it also helps the environment and makes your town look better.
No Bottle Deposit Laws in Your State? Recycle Aluminum Cans!
What if you don’t live in a state with bottle bill laws? After all, only 10 states in the country actually do bottle redemption. That leaves 40 states without a way to make cash recycling plastic bottles.
As I said earlier, you can take your plastic to a recycling center, but most of these don’t pay you. There’s a company called TerraCycle, that was previously reported to pay for recycling, but now it simply gives you points for qualifying waste that you can redeem for a donation to charity.
Does this mean that you are left without a way to make money recycling?
You can still make money from recycling, but not plastic. Instead, you will want to try recycling aluminum cans.
You can still get cash for aluminum cans, even if you don’t live in a state with bottle deposit laws. Outside of bottle bill states, you won’t earn money per can, but will instead be paid for cans based on their weight.
The market value for aluminum changes all the time. You can use iScrap App to check current prices for aluminum cans.
Currently, the price for aluminum cans is $0.64 per pound. Make sure you have a read of my guide on how to make money recycling aluminum cans to learn more.
If you live in one of the ten states that have bottle redemption laws, you can make some extra cash recycling plastic. You can earn anywhere from 5 cents to 10 cents per plastic container.
You can also get paid for other recyclables too, such as aluminum cans and glass bottles.
So, start earning money from recycling!