6 things you didn’t know you can recycle


Many of us routinely recycle plastic, paper, glass, and metals. However, there are many other things that you probably did not know that could be given for cash or a tax deduction. Plus, you’ll feel good about helping save the planet.

Here’s a list of six items that you can recycle or donate, for money or just because it’s the right thing to do.

# 1. Trash

A company called TerraCycle will pay for your garbage. This program works best for schools, small businesses, and nonprofits that collect a lot of trash. The company will donate money to your cause for every trash you send to the organization. According to its website, the company will take everything from empty tape rolls to energy bar wrappers.

Key takeaways

  • If you have a small restaurant, you can make a few bucks selling your used oil and popped wine corks.
  • If you have old gift cards, you can redeem or recycle them.
  • If you’re going to cut your hair, you’d better save it for someone else.

TerraCycle will even pay for shipping. If you have a cause or a school program that needs some extra money, this could be a great way to raise money.

# 2. Wine corks

Recycling wine corks won’t make you rich, but you could definitely afford a free bottle of wine. There are a couple of places to make money on wine corks.

The first source is eBay. Some very unusual products for sale are on eBay, including corks. Artisans, manufacturers and other companies use old corks and are willing to pay for them. The price is not much, usually around five cents per cork.

Most prefer to buy corks in bulk, which means they want a box of several hundred.

The second option is to send them to Yemm & Hart Green Materials. This eco-friendly manufacturer is a leading cork recycler and pays for them. Yemm & Hart requires a minimum of 10 pounds of corks and they must be pure, not synthetic or plastic. The payment rate is determined by the current market value of the cork.

# 3. Gift cards

Many of us receive gift cards on a birthday or holiday and never get to use them. If you have a few of those in a drawer, you might consider swapping them out. Cardpool will take your unused gift cards and send you a check for them. While the amount is less than the face value of the card, it is more than what is in a drawer.

325 million

The number of tennis balls that are manufactured each year.

Gift cards, gas cards, grocery store savings cards, even student ID cards and driver’s licenses are made from PVC, a recyclable plastic. If you’ve used or expired cards, you can at least package and recycle them. Earthworks Systems is a company that will find a use for them.

# 4. Cooking oil

Many recycling centers, biodiesel companies, and small businesses pay for used cooking oil. And if you have a restaurant or a school cafeteria, you may have a lot to sell.

Companies like SeQuential, Southern Green Industries, and Maine Standard Biofuels are some companies that buy and recycle used cooking oil.

Winter is often the best time to get cash for oil, as it can be used in home heating systems. Several cities in the UK will exchange used cooking oil for bus passes, movie tickets and cash. US cities are starting to do this too, but it’s a fairly new practice and you’ll have to search for places locally through the newspaper or the internet.

# 5. Tennis balls

A staggering 325 million tennis balls are made each year. They are made of a rubber that is not biodegradable. That creates more than 20,000 metric tons of rubber waste a year.

A small company, Rebounces, has found a solution. You have created a machine that “bounces” or renews old tennis balls, and you will pay for the shipping of the donated balls.

You have specific requirements for the tennis balls you will carry. They cannot be missing felt or have been wet, for example, but there is no minimum for the amount they accept.

Although this is probably not an option for the normal individual, if you belong to a tennis club or your children are on a tennis team, you might consider it. Keeping that amount of rubber out of the landfill is a winning proposition.

# 6. Human hair

There is a lucrative market for human hair. Fees for unbleached natural hair can range from $ 500 to over $ 2,000, depending on shade, length, and condition.

Hair extension companies, wig manufacturers, and even traditional hair weavers pay for the hair. Sites like buyandsellhair.com Y hairsellon.com are just some of the sites that will buy your hair.

You can even find hair buyers on eBay and Craigslist. Before you get out of your locks, do your research and make sure you are dealing with a reputable company. There are a lot of fraudulent buyers out there.

If you don’t need the cash but would like to help a child, you can donate their hair to Locks for Love. This renowned charity makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to illness.

The bottom line

If you look around you, almost everything we use can be recycled. Most of it won’t bring you much compensation, but with a little effort, you can keep it out of our overloaded garbage piles.

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About the author

Mark Holland

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