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5 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle For Money

Recycling is great for the planet, saves resources and basically helps clean up our world. Many of us know that we can recycle things like plastic, paper, glass bottles and metals. However, there are many other items that you probably didn’t know could be turned in for cash or a tax deduction. Here’s a list of a few of them.


A company called TerraCycle will pay for your trash. This program works best with schools or other non-profit organizations that can collect a lot of trash. The company will donate money to your cause for every piece of trash you send the organization. According to its website, the company will take everything from empty scotch tape rolls to energy bar wrappers. TerraCycle will even pay the shipping. If you have a cause, charity or school program in need of some extra money, this could be a great way to go about raising some funds.

Wine Corks

While this may seem a bit odd, cork is a heavily used resource and recycling them won’t make you rich, but they could definitely pay for a free bottle of wine. There are a couple of places to make money on wine corks. First, is eBay. Odd products for sale are very common on eBay. There are many crafters, businesses and others that use old corks and they are willing to pay for them. The price isn’t much, usually around five cents per cork. Many also prefer to purchase corks in bulk, meaning they want a box of several hundred.

Gift Cards

Many of us receive gift cards for a holiday or a birthday to a place we will never shop, eat or visit. If you have a few of those lying in a drawer you might consider trading them. Cardpool will take your unused gift cards and send you a check for them. While the amount is less than the face value of your gift card, you aren’t getting any money with that card sitting in a drawer. It would be wise to trade it in for some cash that you could use.

Cooking Oil

As odd as this seems, there are many recycling centers, biodiesel firms and individuals that will pay you for used cooking oil. Scan Craigslist in your area. Many of these places have a continual ad soliciting oil. Winter is usually the prime time for getting cash for your oil because a number of people use this to heat their homes. Several cities in the U.K. will trade used cooking oil for bus passes, movie tickets and cash. U.S. cities are beginning to do this as well, but it is a fairly new practice and you will have to find places locally via the newspaper or Internet.

Human Hair

There is a lucrative, high-paying market for human hair. If you have long hair or the ability to grow it fast, you could be looking at some serious cash. Rates for unbleached, natural hair can range from $200 to well over $1,500 depending on shade, length and condition. Hair extension companies, wig makers, and even heirloom hair weavers will pay you for hair. Sites such as buyandsellhair.com and thehairtrader.org are a few sites that will purchase your hair.

You can even find buyers of hair on eBay and Craigslist. Before you buzz off your locks, do your research and make certain you are dealing with a reputable person or business. There are lots of fraudulent “buyers.” If you don’t want the cash, but would really like to help a child, you can donate your hair to Locks for Love. Locks for Love has been collecting hair for years, is a reputable charity and gives locks to youngsters who’ve lost their hair due to a variety of illnesses.

The Bottom Line

If you look around, almost everything we use can be recycled. Most of it won’t bring you any cash or compensation, but if you take a few minutes to recycle it will save the planet from being overloaded with debris. There is approximately 2.5 million pounds of e-waste created per year from our cell phones, computers and other electronic devices. It is becoming necessary for everyone to seriously consider recycling electronics. All of us should recycle as part of our daily routine whether it is for cash or for the sake of the environment.