Easy Ways to Make Money with Everyday Garbage

Ashwin Honawar

Updated on:

trash for cash

After all, garbage is garbage. Therefore, most of us would dispose of it without much thought. Possibly, most of us don’t even know what happens to our garbage once the cleaning company takes it away.

What Happens to Our Garbage?

Actually, a lot of things happen to our garbage. In most places, we’ve to sort out the waste according to its nature. And a lot of the stuff we throw away lands at recycling companies and composters. 

Kitchen waste and food that we dispose of end up as high-quality fertilizer. Metal, glass, and paper usually go for recycling and come out as new products, which you’ll pay to buy.

Some garbage, especially electronics and household appliances, are cannibalized. This means they’re dismantled to remove parts that are reusable or recyclable. Other gets incinerated or buried in landfills.

8 Ways to Make Money from Garbage

Now, think about a scenario where you could actually make money from garbage without throwing it away. Yes, you can turn your trash for cash. I’m not implying that you collect all garbage in your backyard or open your own scrapyard. 

Instead, I’m talking about sorting out some elements from your everyday garbage and making money out of it. Provided you’ve enough spare time, you would like to help save the environment against air, water, and soil pollution.

Should this sound attractive enough, and you’re ready to make a few extra bucks by exerting some effort, continue reading.

1. Recycle Cooking Oil

Recycle Cooking Oil

Solid Waste Authority says that cooking oil dumped by households in America ranks among the topmost reasons for drainages and sewers to clog during winters.

Authorities spend millions of Dollars every year to clear these drainages. Accumulated fat also provides ideal breeding conditions for disease-causing pathogens.

You could make money from such used cooking oil easily. The filter used cooking oil and allowed all solids to settle. You can use this oil to make lye soaps and washing soaps at home.

These soaps are very useful for cleaning purposes. You can sell them online through Facebook Marketplace or an online store on Shopify.

Refer: Recycle for Money: 29 Things You Can Recycle Near You for Cash

2. Aluminum Cans

Aluminum Cans

Beer and soft drink cans, tins of foodstuff, and similar stuff sell for a lot of money. Depending upon the size and weight, aluminium can fetch you as much as five cents each.

You can easily collect these aluminium cans and sell them to scrap metal dealers in bulk. And if you choose to sell by weight, expect about $1 per kilo of these aluminium cans from a scrap dealer.

Storing aluminium cans isn’t very difficult. You can press and flatten them for easier storage that requires less space. Aerosol canisters, cans of engine oil and automobile lubricants weigh more.

Collecting these, too, along with beer and soft drinks or food cans, adds to your weight. This translates directly as extra income.

3. Glass Bottles

Glass Bottles

According to various sources, glass recyclers are willing to part with anything from two Cents to $0.25 for every glass bottle. This depends upon their size and weight.

But the price can go down, or you might not find buyers if there’s fungus or insects, mud or dirt inside these glass bottles. This means you’ll have to wash glass bottles and keep them clean and safe to sell.

Just take a look around your house and in the fridge. You’ll surely be amazed at the number of glass bottles that we use and take for granted. And that’s the reason we dispose of them in the garbage without a second thought. 

On the other hand, recyclers find such discarded glass bottles very useful and actually buy them from scrap dealers and cleaning companies. They crush and add pieces of your bottles to the compound to make more glass. Glass powder and shards also find uses in various industries.

4. Paper & Cardboard

Paper & Cardboard

Newspapers, magazines and cardboard cartons account for a lot of garbage from American households. For obvious reasons, too. We love reading newspapers and magazines.

And when we order stuff from online stores such as Amazon, a lot of things come carefully packed in cardboard cartons.

Understandably, there are buyers for old newspapers and magazines who, in turn, sell them to paper mills for recycling. 

But there are many ways you can make money with paper. One of them is making Chinese paper lanterns that people love to fly at night with a burning candle.

The other is making paper bags and envelopes that can help reduce the use of plastics. Pharmacies, bakeries, greengrocers and other stores will buy these readily from you.

5. Kitchen Waste & Stale Food

Americans waste 35 percent of raw and cooked food. The figure might sound high, but it is consistent with many other countries around the world.

Our kitchens also generate a lot of waste, such as fruit and vegetable scrapings, eggshells, meat, fish and poultry scraps and several other stuff. To make money from such everyday waste, try composting or making compost fertilizer at home.

A home composter kit costs less than $20. And a 5kg bag of superior quality compost fetches around $2.50 in the market. You’ll find quite a few buyers in your neighbourhood itself.

People who own gardens always look for high-quality organic fertilizers. You can advertise and sell your compost through Facebook Marketplace

6. Plastic Bags & Bottles

Plastic Bags ; Bottles

Another waste that’s common to our households is plastic bags and bottles. These also are recyclable and will find takers if you collect and store them properly.

I’m not sure about the price of waste plastic bags, bottles, and other materials in the market. However, plastic is notorious as a non-biodegradable material. Hence, the only option for governments and other organizations that try to protect the environment is to recycle them.

A lot of individual entrepreneurs have set up small plants that make pellets from plastic waste. The process is fairly simple. The machine melts down the plastic and creates small pellets and, sometimes, bricks.

Manufacturers of plastic goods such as sheets and bags buy these pellets and bricks to make finished goods.

7. Wood


By itself, wood is an environment-friendly material since it comes from trees. At the same time, wood is used in lots of everyday stuff, such as wooden crates.

Then we also have useless and broken furniture or wood that falls off trees as dead branches. Add to that all other wooden objects that are no longer useful and are prone to rotting due to moisture or worms.

You can make a considerable amount of money by selling wood to recyclers. Actually, wood by itself doesn’t require any complex industrial processes for recycling.

Instead, recyclers simply use the wood you sell to make more crates and boxes for various purposes. Some of this wood is also bought by paper mills as raw material.

Additionally, wood is in demand among charcoal manufacturers. As you know, a BBQ requires high-quality charcoal.

Since wood can be reused or made into useful stuff with simple processes, you could do so at home and sell things such as crates, stands, charcoal and boxes to nearby businesses and residents.

8. Miscellaneous Household Waste

Miscellaneous Household Waste

Finally, look around the house to find out miscellaneous waste that you can sell directly or recycle yourself to make some money. Car batteries, inverter and other batteries are one. Simply Google ‘used battery buyers near me,” and you’ll find at least a couple of businesses that would buy them for cash.

The same holds true for computers, mobile phones, torn clothes, unwanted and irreparable electronic items and household appliances and toys. You can easily find buyers for this stuff nearby if you simply search on Google.

In fact, some American states have explicit laws that you can’t dispose of some of this stuff as household garbage. Instead, you’ve to hand them over to a nearby recycling facility. As an incentive to hand over such stuff, recyclers pay some money.

Finding Recyclers to Buy Everyday Garbage

As I mentioned earlier in this article, you can find buyers such as scrap dealers and recyclers nearby if you simply Google with the right keywords.

At the same time, the US Solid Waste Authority has a comprehensive list of scrap dealers and recyclers on its database. You can easily find one nearby or call them to take away such recyclable garbage.

Understandably, they won’t come every day. Therefore, you’ll have to collect such recyclable waste till the volumes are large enough for them to send a truck and you to make some money.

Average Income by Selling Garbage

There’re no empirical or exact figures on how much money you could earn every month by selling garbage. However, reports from various sources indicate you could make as low as $10 per week or even $200 per month. This depends on the kind of waste you’re selling and its value to recyclers. 

Wrap Up

Recycling is an evergreen industry. It will grow exponentially in the coming years as people and governments step up efforts to preserve the environment while minimizing pollution. You could also play a role in the endeavour and make some money by selling common and recyclable stuff from everyday garbage.

Leave a Comment

How To Create Google MyBusiness | A Quick Guide On Google MyBusiness Top Credit Cards you can get in 2024-23- Pick the best credit card for you with these details Metaverse- The Future Of Finance | Top Finance Companies That Have Entered Into Metaverse Education Loans Can Be Affordable With This Bank’s Assistance | Loan and Bank Criteria  Trying to expand Your Business? Digital Marketing is Very Helpful