The U.S. produces 42 million metric tons or 46 million tons of plastic each year, thus making it the biggest polluter in the world. And half of the garbage within its landfills consists of plastic, paper products and food waste.
Texas alone produces 400,000 tons of plastic trash and litter. And by 2030, the state’s four biggest population centers will begin to run out of landfills.
It’s safe to say that recycling is the only way forward. Currently, Texas recycles about 12.9 million tons of waste from municipal solid waste streams. And the good news is that you can take part in recycling various types of plastic scrap, as well as other types of waste, and get paid for it.
For example, you could collect and sell cans for cash. And your recycled plastics could get turned into products such as carpets, plastic lumber, furniture, flooring and garbage cans, among others.
What Materials Are Recyclable?
Many types of materials are recyclable. These include:
- Food and garden waste
Types of Plastic Scrap
Because plastic is so pervasive and comes in so many forms, you need to understand this material to make your recycling efforts much easier. Below are the primary types of plastic that exist.
- Polypropylene (PP), which makes car parts and thermal vests
- Polyvinyl Chloride (P or PVC), which makes items like plumbing pipes and tiles
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET), which makes items such as perishable food containers and beverage bottles
- Polystyrene (PS), which makes items like insulation and egg cartons
- Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), which makes items like squeezable bottles and plastic wraps
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which makes items like body wash containers and milk jugs
- Miscellaneous plastics, which include everything that does not fit into the other six categories and makes items like baby bottles and computer casings.
How to Recycle Plastic for Cash
Below are tips you can implement to help you recycle plastic for cash in Texas.
Identify areas where you could get plastic materials that can be recycled. These include your home, neighborhood, place of work, etc. Check all of the areas you can think of including the attic, garage, basement, office storage bins, etc. If necessary, ask for permission concerning the plastic you want to collect.
Identify the recycling drop-off points in your locale. A recycling facility locator tool can help you with that. And it is also possible that your city could be offering a curbside recycling pick-up service.
You could engage in window shopping of sorts and inquire how much each recycling facility pays for various plastic waste types. Some won’t pay. Also, ask about the kind of plastic waste they accept. If you are not sure what those are, ask them for product examples.
Identify what to sort out and what to throw away. And create separate piles or put the waste in different labeled bins based on the labels on the products, if any. Try to clean your plastic items a little if they are dirty. For example, you could rinse plastic bottles with plain water. And then, you could dry them.
Put your recyclables on the curb or take them to the recycling plant. Get paid if the option is available.
Texas is currently considering legislating payments to those who recycle. Should the law be passed, you would receive 25 cents per pound of eligible recyclable materials. But for now, you have to rely on your own research to get paid for recycling plastic. And remember, curbside plastic material collections are often voluntary and depend on the neighborhood you are in.
- AP News: Science report: US should make less plastic to save oceans
- Big Rentz: American Wasteland: Which States Produce the Most Trash?
- TexansForCleanWater.Org: Plastic Waste in Texas By-The-Numbers
- Resource-Recycling: Report examines how to boost recycling markets in Texas
- Conserve-Energy-Future: What Are Recyclable Materials?
- General Kinematics: Different Plastic Types and How they are Recycled | General Kinematics
- Time to Recycle: How To Recycle
- Time To Recycle: Recycling Drop-off Locator
- Resource-Recycling: Can this deposit-like system fly in Texas?
I hold a BS in Computer Science and have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.