Green Profit: Extra Income From Recycling

As a business owner, I know that overhead has a way of sneaking up on you. But if you’re crafty, you can subsidy your material cost by recycling! (“Turn your trash into cash!”)

Recycling, while good for the environment, is another form of revenue! Whatever your business, you can always find a way to make money from your trash! Just a bit of thinking when it comes to how you dispose of your waste, and you could be making hundreds, even thousands of dollars a week just from selling your trash.

If you are a business that has a fair amount of recyclable waste, you may already recycle it somehow. But do you do it efficiently? Do you sell it to a middle man, or directly to the scrap yard or recycling center? The most important thing here, is to keep your recyclables segregated according to material; So copper in one pile, aluminum in another, paper in one bin, and cardboard in another. Now all of these separated secondhand commodities have value. The value can be reclaimed at a recycling center or scrap yard of your choosing.

Your goal should be to understand the process of getting payed for your recyclables, and then slowly refine your internal collection process. Once you start recycling one type of material, you will notice easy ways to start collection and recycling of another and so on.

Recyclable Materials

Ferrous Metals:

  •  Steel
  •  Cast Iron
  •  Stampings
  •  Borings/Turnings
  •  Plate & Structural Steel

Non-Ferrous Metals:

  •  Copper
  •  Aluminum
  •  Brass
  •  Bronze
  •  Nickel Alloys
  •  Stainless Steel
  •  Precious Metals

Household Electronics:

  •  Computers & Components
  •  Monitors 
  •  All Household Electronics
  •  All Household Appliances


  •  Acrylics
  •  Polycarbonate (Plexiglas┬«)
  •  Carpet Tile
  •  Plastic pallets
  •  PVC
  •  Bubble Wrap
  •  Polyethylene-HDPE
  •  Plastic barrels
  •  Plastic buckets
  •  PET
  •  Styrene (HIPS, MIPS)
  •  Carpet padding (non-rubber)
  •  Stretch/Shrink Film
  •  Breakdown boxes
  •  Polypropylene


  •  Newspaper
  •  Magazines
  •  Shredded Paper
  •  Computer Paper
  •  Ledger Grades
  •  DLK Cuttings
  •  Newsblank
  •  Catalogs
  •  Soft Cover & Hard Cover Books
  •  Junk Mail
  •  Copy Paper
  •  Rolls


  •  Baled
  •  Loose
  •  Palletized
James Richardson October 31, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Is cardboard worth recycling?

ScrapMetalJunkie November 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Yes. But only in large quantities. Grocery and department stores for example use a lot of cardboard, and most of the large ones recycle all of their cardboard.

Joe King March 17, 2012 at 3:57 am

One time I saved about 700 lbs of it and drove out to a paper goods recycling place i found and made like $7 total, I think. Its really only worth it if you can bail it and bring it in with large quantities. I have run a baler for a camp before its not hard, if I could afford one I would probably set up shop trying to make money collecting and doing a better job than the local government run attempts at recycling but it would be that initial investment in the baler that I cannot do yet… one day.
I was told at one point it may have been as much or more valuable than steel by weight. don’t know if thats true or not but… who knows.

kyle March 26, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I was wondering besides bring tubes from t vs to best buy or out to trash is it legal to take a dump the glass into local town DPW station in with glass bottles dumpster.

ScrapMetalJunkie March 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm

No, this glass cannot be recycled conventionally, and cannot be dumped along with glass bottles.

Joe kustra June 21, 2013 at 4:56 am

I work with polyethylene hdpe material and I wanted to know if I could recycle/sell the waste or bad material we no longer need?

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