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How to recycle cans & bottles for cash

Updated February 21, 2017

Earn extra money by not throwing away bottles and cans. Recycling instead of tossing these items can earn cash and help the environment. Recycling has become popular as the go green movement continues expanding. Recycling aluminium requires only five per cent of the energy it takes to manufacturer it new. And with enough plastic bottles thrown away annually in the United States to circle the Earth four times, according to Benefits of Recycling, it makes a lot more sense to add to your wallet instead of adding trash to a landfill.

Call your local recycling centre to find out what materials they accept. For plastic bottles, refer to the code on the bottom of the bottle with symbols and a number. This information tells centres what type of plastic you have. Finding one near your local grocery store or super centre allows you to save gas by combining your recycling trip with your shopping trip.

Ask and note how much they pay for the types of materials you're turning in. State governments post information online about state recycling programs, but typically don't list commercial locations. While glass and plastic container prices vary depending on the type of glass or plastic, an estimate of one to two cents per eight-ounce can for aluminium is typical, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.

Collect bottles and cans into separate recycling bins. This speeds up both the processing at the centre and the sorting you do before taking the disposables in.

Sort your items. Glass must be sorted by colour to ensure new glass is not made of mixed colours, according to Earth 911. Rinse the disposables. Sort plastics by the number on the bottom of the bottle. Load each sorted type into separate containers.

Take your items to the centre. Stock up on disposables to decrease the amount of money spent driving back and forth to the centre.

Collect your money then start the process over again. More recycling means more money and more feeling good about earning smart while helping keep the Earth clean.

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About the Author

Rose Smith has been writing professionally since 1992. Her how-to and relationship articles have appeared in "Family Circle" and several other national publications. She has also written the books "Sizzling Monogamy" and "101 Ways to Date Your Mate." Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Illinois State University.