How You Can Get Involved in Recycling in Your Area — and Make Money Too

published Jun 22, 2023
2 min read

Recycling is one of many ways we can all pitch in and help take care of our planet.

Unfortunately, many people are too busy to take full advantage of the available opportunities. With the right knowledge and resources, anyone can start their own side hustle in recycling and help reduce waste while earning some extra income.

If you want to help preserve our beautiful Earth and make a little cash on the side, then good for you. Keep reading. We’ll show you how it’s done. From the basics of what you need to know to some ideas to help you get started.

Source – Unsplash

The Basics of Recycling for Profit

What is recycling, and why do we do it? What kind of opportunities were we talking about in the introduction?

Recycling involves collecting materials such as plastic, metal, and glass and then breaking them down so they can be used again in manufacturing. You may see labels in different stores. For example, a new umbrella may say, “Eight plastic bottles were recycled in producing this product”.

The most common way to start a recycling business is to collect discarded items from local businesses and individuals and store them until they can be sold. You’ll also need to determine what materials are valuable and where you can sell them for the most profit.

Idea #1 – Scrap Metal

One of the most popular and profitable ways to get involved in recycling is by collecting scrap metal. Finding scrap metal is easier than you think, coming from a variety of sources, such as discarded appliances, old cars, or broken tools.

You can find these items at local businesses that are getting rid of them, or you can scour your neighborhood for discarded items that may be suitable for collection. You’ll then need to transport the items to a scrap metal yard where you can complete your transactions.

Copper is the most popular metal for small-time scrappers. Other great choices include silver, gold, stainless steel, and brass.

Idea #2 – Plastic Recycling

Another great way to make money from recycling is by collecting plastic materials such as bottles and containers.

Collecting plastics is slightly more challenging than scrap metal because you will need to sort through the material and make sure that it is clean and in good condition.

You’ll also need to determine which types of plastics are the most valuable and where you can sell them for the highest price. Once you have collected enough plastic, you can look for buyers or drop-off locations to exchange your recycled materials for cash.

Idea #3 – Electronics Recycling

Finally, if you want to recycle electronics such as computers and cell phones, you’ll need to invest in additional equipment such as shredders or degaussers. These machines are designed to break down electronic components to be recycled more easily.

You’ll also need to obtain the necessary certifications to recycle electronics, as it is highly regulated due to the potential for hazardous materials. Once you’ve got the right equipment and resources, you can find local buyers or online platforms where you can sell your electronic waste.

Another route you can take here is salvaging computers. Often when one part goes out on a PC, people throw the whole thing away. Replace a few parts, maybe with some upgrades, and sell it on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

With a little cash and some technical know-how, you just turned trash into something refurbished. Which is, in a way, another form of recycling.


Recycling can be a great way to make money while helping the environment. With the right knowledge and resources, anyone can start their own side hustle in recycling by collecting scrap metal, plastic materials, or even electronics.

You can make decent money quickly by understanding what materials are valuable and where you can sell them for the most profit. The key here is that you must be willing to get dirty.