How to Get Paid To Recycle Your Old Junk

••• Amos Morgan/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Finding ways to recycle your junk for cold hard cash is a way to make money while keeping the items out of the landfill. Just about any type of junk you can think of has some monetary value, however meager, so take a careful look around your home, garage and property and make a list of your old treasures. Once you figure out who to approach to get paid top dollar, you’re on your way to freeing up some new space and lining your pockets with some cash.

Research Scrap Dealers

Talk to recyclers in your area to find out the types of old junk they pay for. Prices vary depending on how much competition the recycler has, what type of material you have and how many pounds you have to sell. Most junkyards pay for scrap metal, such as stainless steel, brass and copper. Get ready to do some work, such as tearing your junk apart to get to the valuable metal and sorting it by type of metal.

Get Online

Another place to get cash for items taking up space in your home is the Internet. Sites such as YouRenew and Gazelle allow you to review a list and choose the electronic item you want to get rid of. They then give you an automatic quote indicating how much money you can get for the item. You then ship the item to the facility at the buyer's expense. Once it receives your order, it mails you a check. If your junk is more along the lines of old picture frames, books and home accessories, head to sites such as Listia or Yerdle to post your junk and get credit to buy other people’s stuff. To turn those credits into cash, look for items you can resell at a garage sale, on eBay or via free online classified ads.

Check With Utility Companies

In some cities, including Chicago and Seattle, the utility companies pay to haul away your old appliances, as long as they still work. Typically, the utility company arranges for pickup of the old machine and sends you a check within a few weeks. Not only do you save the money you would pay to rent a truck to get the old appliance to the junkyard, but you also make a bit of cash for almost no work. Check your utility company’s requirements for the rebate to make sure your appliance qualifies.

Visit Retailers

A few brick-and-mortar stores, such as Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart, offer trade-in programs. For example, Best Buy offers a program for mobile phones and PC laptops while Wal-Mart takes video games. Target accepts cameras, GPS units and even DVDs. In return, you receive a gift card to use at the store. Some stores, including Best Buy, accept even more electronics through their websites, taking as trade such items as car audio receivers, camcorders, game systems and monitors. Use the online estimator of such stores to see what your item is worth. Mail it to the store and watch the mail for a gift card or a check for the value.


About the Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Amos Morgan/Digital Vision/Getty Images