While some states offer deposit and return incentives to get people to recycle, Pennsylvania isn't one of them. One benefit of this system is that Pennsylvania residents don't need to pay additional money upfront for their plastic bottle purchases. Another benefit is that Pennsylvania residents can still return their plastic bottles and collect both cash payments and reward incentives.
Some states require bottle deposits at the time of purchase to entice consumers to recycle their products. For example, Michigan offers a 10-cent deposit and refund for each bottle, while California offers 5 cents for bottles under 24 ounces and 10 cents for larger bottles. In contrast, consumers in Pennsylvania aren't charged any fees upfront, and are offered alternative incentives to get them to recycle.
In larger cities, such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, consumers have the option of participating in a program called Recyclebank. In this program, consumers earn points for their recycled goods that can later be redeemed for products and gift cards. To participate in the program, consumers place a sticker on the outside of the bin where they place their recycled products at their curb. When the trash is picked up, the recycled goods are weighed and you receive a certain number of points per each pound of recycled materials. Accumulated points can then be redeemed on the Recyclebank official website (see Resources).
Cash Per Pound
If you live in an area where the Recyclebank program isn't operating as of yet, you still have the option of bringing your plastic bottles to a local recycling facility. Many of these facilities will pay consumers a certain rate per pound of plastic. The payout rates will vary depending on the location and the current market value for the plastic. Also, be sure to abide by the rules of your chosen facility -- some will take only certain types of plastic, and others may need you to separate out the bottles according to types and colors.
If you don't personally need the extra cash or incentives for yourself, donating your recyclable goods to a charity drive may be a great option. Local schools often collect recyclables to help with educational expenses and field trips. Also, churches and other charitable organizations conduct recycling drives to help raise additional funds for their causes. This can be a good way to give back to your community without having to take the expenses directly out of your pocket.