Recycling is something that most people do out of a sense of responsibility and awareness of the impact that us destructive humans tend to have on the planet. It’s one of those things that we all accept is done more for the good of your conscience than as something enjoyable or financially advantageous. However, what if you could actually save yourself money by recycling – making sure that you get both the environmentally conscious halo and a slightly healthier bank balance?
Recycling saves money generally, as it costs around £100 a tonne to collect and process recycled material but £130 a tonne for rubbish disposal – in London last year £30 million was saved by Londoners recycling rather than throwing away old rubbish. On an individual level you can also make your own savings from recycling, either by making use of old items yourself, or passing them on to others to do it.
Whilst in the past you might have dropped off all old clothes and shoes at a charity shop, now there’s a much more cash rich alternative. If you want to make some money from the items that you might otherwise have thrown away then there are options – both online and on the high street – for earning by the weight of what you’re recycling. You simply take in your old bags of clothes, or register on a website for a free bag, and you’ll receive a price in return depending on the volume that you’re passing on. The charity St Mungos runs the website http://www.returntoearn.co.uk, which is a great, organised way to recycle all your old favourites.
The cost of using disposable items is not only felt by the planet but also by your bank account. From batteries, to plastic water bottles, coffee cups, nappies, paper serviettes, cups and tablecloths there are many items that we regularly use and then throw away; and then buy again, use and throw away. Instead of opting for disposables, buy reusable items that you can recycle again and again – swap throw-away water bottles for a good solid flask, use cloth nappies, a fabric tablecloth and take your coffee to work in a thermos cup, rather than buying endless paper cups of coffee.
This could be anything from the food scraps that you would usually chuck out to the bottles, jars and packets that normally go straight in the bin. Instead of binning food scraps – going through endless plastic bin liners along the way – turn your chuck outs into compost and save yourself money on garden supplies whilst cultivating beautiful plants at the same time. If you don’t have a garden then try and turn items you’re about to throw out to a new use – use empty wine bottles as vases, turn old boxes into inexpensive document storage and use jars to hold everything from sweets to cereals to pens.
Rather than chucking an old phone, laptop or TV when it reaches the end of its life, why not opt instead for one of the many recycling options, where you are paid for passing over old electronic equipment. The price you will get varies depending on the item and how old it is, but you can usually make something to put towards the cost of a new one and save yourself paying the full price.
The idea behind Freecycle is that items that one person may no longer want or need might come in very useful to another. If you are looking to get rid of an old piece of furniture then rather than paying for someone to come and take it away you can hand it on to another person who needs it through an organisation like Freecycle. Selling items on eBay, through Gumtree, or simply passing on to friends and family is also a great way to save yourself removal costs whilst recycling, and also to make a bit of money at the same time.
If you’ve never been particularly keen on recycling then perhaps the added incentive of saving – or even making – some cash might be enough to get you interested. These genius ways for generating positive financial health from recycling will keep your bank balance in good shape, as well as your conscience.