Make Bank Not Waste! Turn Your Garbage Into Cold Hard Cash

A wide row of plastic water bottles of various brands
Mali Maeder

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? Well, it turns out, you can turn your own trash into your own treasure! If you know how to, you can actually turn your trash into money.

The average American produced 4.4 pounds of trash each day. Over a year, that adds up to weigh more than a polar bear! Don’t let your garbage go to waste.

Instead, profit off it! If you wanna turn your trash into cash, check out these tips. You’ve probably heard the saying “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but this is more like “sell, reuse, recycle.” Here are some tips on how to turn trash into money.

Sell Your Trash For Cash

A lot of what you throw away every day could be worth more than you know. For example:

  • Stacks of egg cartons can land you about $12 per dozen. I have no idea why either.
  • Beer bottle caps can be used as art, so people will pay $10 for 100.
  • Your charger from a phone you already sold can net you an extra $10 on eBay or Craigslist.
  • Cut out the Box Tops for Education you see everywhere and you get around $15 for 50!

Get Creative and Reuse

Just because you’ve used something once doesn’t mean you have to toss it away. Save some cash by holding onto things you wouldn’t usually.

See if your grocery store has reusable bags, so you have the option to use the same bag multiple times.

Plastic water bottles can be filled up endlessly, and you can help the environment by sticking to one for a while too. The same goes for other items like shampoo bottles and shoe boxes too, so you save money and the earth!

Turn Metal Into Money

Quick: How much scrap metal do you have? The answer is more than you think. You don’t need something huge like old cars or pipes to turn scrap metal into cash.

Try this with any cans or metal junk you might have in your trash. If you hold a magnet to it and it doesn’t stick, you can sell it for cash at a junkyard. 

If it’s not magnetic, it means the metal is non-ferrous, which can be valuable if you recycle it!

You can turn soda cans and bottles into money too. If your state has a bottle deposit law, you can get 10 cents for every bottle and can you return. Not bad for a bunch of junk!

For other random recyclables, use Recyclebank! It partners with communities and gives you Recyclebank points based on the weight of what you recycle. Those points can be used for stuff like magazine subscriptions, discounts at stores or charitable donations.

If you’d rather just give back to charity, check out TerraCycleThey’ll send you a box to load your trash in that you can ship back in exchange for points redeemable for charitable donations! Help the earth and a charity of your choice!

Now you can be like King Midas: everything you touch will turn to gold (or green).