Make Money Recycling: Get Paid to Recycle by 15 Websites

By Elizabeth Lang on 1 September 2009 (Updated 3 December 2013) 33 comments

Tired of getting a small $7 credit (or perhaps no credit at all) for curbside recycling in your city? Or perhaps you have old broken cell phones, laptops, or even golf balls laying around? In writing 26 Green Websites that Save You Money, I discovered these 15 websites that actually pay you to recycle your old stuff.

General Electronics

USell buys your used electronics, including phones, tablets, and computers.

YouRenew pays you to recycle your old electronics. This includes laptops, cell phones, digital cameras, calculators, mp3 players, dvds, and gaming devices. This is one of the most comprehensive sites I've seen. They even send you a shipping label and allow you to donate your proceeds to nonprofits.

Gazelle is similar to YouRenew and also purchases camcorders, PDAs, camera lenses, and more.

BuyMyTronics also buys new, used, and broken electronics.

MyBoneYard allows you to donate the money they would pay you for your electronics to national and local nonprofits such as the Humane Society. (See also: 9 Things Your Office Forgot to Recycle)

Cell Phones

Flipswap pays you for your old cell phones.

As does Cell for Cash.

If you're in the UK, Sell Your Mobile has a directory of sites that will pay you for your cell phone.

Ink Cartridges

Cash4Cartridges pays you for your old inkjet and laser printer cartridges.

With Toner Buyer you get paid for used fax machines, copiers, and printers, and empty printer cartridges.

Advantage Cartridge focuses on fundraising for schools and nonprofits by purchasing ink cartridges.

eCycle Group buys and sells ink cartridges along with mp3 players and cell phones.

Cardboard Boxes

With Used Cardboard Boxes you have to either have a huge move or a business (1000+ boxes) to make money recycling cardboard boxes

Luckily, BoxCycle will buy individual boxes, but only once there is a confirmed buyer.

Golf Balls

While it's a bit random, Knetgolf buys your used (or found) golf balls for up to $0.90 a ball.

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

MyEmissions Exchange is a new website that allows you to earn money for reducing your home energy use.

I have not yet sent any old electronics or other recyclables to these sites (and thus can't vouch for any of them). Though, I'm looking forward to testing a few of them with an old laptop and a few cell phones. Has anyone been paid to recycle through these sites or other programs? What was your experience?

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Guest's picture
Alli

I've had nothing but positive experiences with Gazelle. I have sold them two digital cameras, a cell phone, and a laptop. They offer pretty reasonable prices, pay for shipping (sometimes they'll even send you the box you need), and in all cases I received my money less than two weeks after I shipped them out. Recently they even sent me an coupon code for a $5 bonus on my next sale.

I also like the fact that even if they can't pay you for an item, they're still willing to pay shipping for you to mail it to them. Even if I can't get a cent for it, it's nice to get it out of my house and know it's not ending up in the local landfill.

Guest's picture

I've used flipswap.com and gazelle.com, both with good results. Money came promply and they paid for shipping. It was great! Anyone have suggestions for places that will recycle odd electronics stuff (like a wireless care, firewire card, old modem, etc.)?

Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

I've used Gazelle and wrote a post about it here:

http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-electronics-into-cash-with-gazelle

It's definitely an efficient site and works quite well. 

I've also looked into the My Emissions Exchange site, and it's pretty weird.  It says I have no emissions because my apartment is all electric, so I can't really get any credit. 

The golf balls one is pretty interesting.  I will probably tell my parents since they take walks on a golf course a lot and pick up balls.  They do play with those balls, though. 

Guest's picture

Hey Xin,

Sorry that the site was weird for you. Many of our users live in residences that are all electric, and they most definitely have emissions and are able to generate credits. I am not sure what the problem was with establishing your emissions, but I will look into your account and send you an email, and hopefully we can get it worked out so that you can begin earning for your energy reductions.

Guest's picture

Another possibility on cellphones is to sell them yourself on ebay or Craigslist. Of course you'd only want to do this if the phone is in good working order and good condition.

Guest's picture

I took my old mobile phone, recharger and accessories to my local mobile phone company which advertised that you could bring your old mobile phones in to be sent off for recycling. The customer service person that i dealt with was quite unprepared for the event, but eventually worked out what they needed to do with my old mobile. They will get used to it once more people bring in their old phones for recycling. This one wasn't a paid program.

Thanks for the website suggestions.

Guest's picture
Zengirl

Great to know. I always donated stuff, did not know you can get some money out of it. Cool. Thanks.

Guest's picture
Jogn

Another tip is many times you can get paid for recycling your soda cans. There's a place a few miles away from my place, which pays me for the cans, based on weight and whatever the price of aluminum is at the time. The very first time I turned in the cans I got about $15, which isn't too bad considering all you have to do is save the cans, put them in a bag, and drive down to the center.

Guest's picture
Sarah

Does anyone know how to recycle fabric? I'm talking about old clothes that are too stained/holey to donate to Goodwill. I use them for rags, but is there a program to recycle clothing in general like there is for denim?

Guest's picture
Guest

You can use your old fabrics by cutting them into rags and use them for cleaning in the home, washing your car, washing windows, braiding them into rugs after cutting them into cloth strips (something our grandmothers did routinely), making patchwork quilts or pillows. I use them when I paint my oil paintings ( I am an artist)to clean my brushes.
These are just some ideas.
Use them instead of paper towels, they get recycled, some may even get a new life as a carpet and you are saving trees and saving money.

Guest's picture
Guests criscione

wher do you recycle denim

Guest's picture
Guest

I have 3 Direct TV reciever boxes w/remotes. They would not take them back when we switched to Verizon FIOS. Is there anyone who takes them?

Guest's picture
Guest

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Guest's picture
Michael

You can visit www.mylaptopbroke.com . They pay you cash for your broken and unwanted laptops. They recycle them and you get a little $$$ in your pocket!!

Guest's picture
Jay

You my friend,

You did a really great job with this article. I had no idea that there were sites that paid for your older things. Keep up the great work. P.s. I found you on Google so you are ranking pretty high.

Just though you should know.

Jay's Saving Your Money

Guest's picture

Hello great post. There are many things like this you can recycle now for cash online. Gone are the days when you could throw things away. New law says you have to dispose of electrical waste products in an environmentally friendly way. You can search online to find sites that recycle your old things for cash.

Guest's picture

Hello Again,

I am Jay with Jay's Saving Your Money and I visited this website on Halloween and learned a great deal about how to earn extra cash from my old stuff.

I wanted to let you know that I did have a great experience with Gazelle and YourRenew. I was surprised when I got some cash for the junk in my kitchen drawer!

I wanted to say "Thanks", again.

Note to readers: The whole reason I am posting this comment is to give my statement as proof that you really can get cash for your old electronics!

Guest's picture
kc

no one mentioned big heavy items such as refrigs ovens/stoves, microwaves
does anyone have any suggestions
thanks
please email and post on your site if possible.

kind regards-

kc

Guest's picture
Spax

My sister recently replaced her refrigerator and her local utility company came to pick it up and paid her $50 for the items.

Guest's picture
Guest

I need to find a place that reclcyes aluminum cans and glass bottles. In the Branson Mo. area. So far i haven't found any in my area that i can get money back for recyling. Can anyone help me out?

Guest's picture

If you need a way to manage your recyclables until you get enough and the recycling centers will buy then all at one time. Go to web site and type in
moneybailer.com and see how easy it will be to really make money with your own recycling home business

Guest's picture

Do you understand that it's correct time to receive the personal loans, which would realize your dreams.

Guest's picture
Coach

I've also looked into the My Emissions Exchange site, and it's pretty weird. It says I have no emissions because my apartment is all electric, so I can't really get any credit.

Guest's picture

That's great stuff. Human behavior is all about incentives and by providing people incentives to recycle, the net benefit is surely positive, even with some payouts to the individuals participating (not to mention the environmental benefit).

I recently highlighted another great green initiative that paid me which took me completely by surprise. Our energy company PECO! Through sifting through their website, I found that I was able to submit for a $75 rebate for a fridge I bought that I didn't even know about. Just because it was Energy Star, I still had the receipt so I just submitted the ticket. Boom - $75 I didn't even plan on! Next, they also pay for old air conditioners and will even pick them up, then pay you $25! They have a few other programs that are pretty neat. Regardless of where you live or who supplies your gas/electric, find their website and check out if they have similar programs!

Guest's picture
Diane

Great info, I have retweeted!

Guest's picture

Nice way to make money through re cycle process.

Guest's picture
Steph

Great article Elizabeth. When it was time to trade in my iPhone 3G I got a great price from http://www.selliphoneforcash.com and was very happy that my old phone was being recycled.

Guest's picture
Guest

I recently read an article that told how to recycle old ink cartridges. In attempting to locate the article, found yours. I clicked on the link for "Cash4cartridges". I wouldn't bother. They have only one listed for Epson! (my printer), and most of the few they DO list they don't currently accept. Too bad, I would have liked to recycle rather than put in the landfill.

Guest's picture
Holly

Places like Office Depot and Office Max have a drop box in their stores where you can recycle ink cartridges. I think one of these may give you credit toward the purchase of new cartridges (check their web sites). Keeps them out of the landfill, anyway, even if you don't get any credit or make any money off of them.

Guest's picture
Kori

I have some old modems I'm wondering if I can recycle. Do you know of any place that would take those?

Guest's picture
anonymous

my dad works for a company...that he gets about 500+ boxes a week but there small boxes so,what do u recommend would be the amount for one pallet/recyclable set i give them ?

Guest's picture
Mikaela

Excellent stuff Elizabeth, there is the site I use cashforlaptops back when I need to sell my old Compaq some time when the article was written. I got the money after some weeks and the experience has been nothing but great. Usually these kinds of sites are here to give the users ease of use, instead of of going to a physical store, just do all the transactions online.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have some old pool motors with copper windings sitting in my garage with an old fridge and clothes dryer. I am also getting old AC replaced and will have to get rid of the whole system. Any ideas as to where and who takes these appliances?