Get paid to recycle, eg, £1.50 per printer cartridge

Clean up by cleaning up

We're all for environmental MoneySaving at MSE, so we've listed a few ways of the best ways to get rewarded for your recycling efforts...

Some of these will depend on your local area being equipped with the right amenities – eg, reverse vending machines, bottle return schemes – but there are hopefully tips here that mean everyone can get involved in one way or another.

While none of these will change the world overnight, we've rounded up some quick and easy ways to earn cash or freebies from recycling stuff you may have at home:

  • Printer cartridges – get paid up to £1.50 per cartridge. A number of sites do similar, but The Recycling Factory is one of the biggest (see its site to check what your cartridges are worth), and it allows you to post in and exchange used cartridges for cash (or up to 125 Tesco Clubcard points). Postage is free, but how much you'll get paid depends on the make and model of the cartridge.

  • Trade in old mobiles – get up to £450. While you normally earn more selling on eBay, they're usually easier to offload via mobile-reselling sites, eg, £450 for a 64GB iPhone X. Plus specialist sites often test them & sell them on in the developing world at reasonable prices, reducing e-waste (discarded tech). See how to sell old mobiles.

  • Aluminium cans – get paid up to 50p per kg (approx 72 cans). How much you'll get back and whether you can do this at all will totally depend on where you live, but Thinkcans has an online list of many such recycling points. You can also contact your local authority to find out if there's a cans-for-cash exchange point near you that might not be listed.

  • Clothes, books, toys etc – get paid up to 50p per kg. If you’ve an abundance of clutter, there are schemes such as Cashforclothes (check its site for your nearest exchange point), which weigh and pay for bags of old clothes and household items.

    It won’t make you rich - Cashforclothes pays 50p/kg for clothes, 30p/kg for toys, and 5p/kg for books, CDs and DVDs – but it could be a winner if you’ve a shedload of stuff you want rid of quickly. With a bit more time and effort, you could earn more if you sold these items on eBay (for tips, see our eBay selling guide).

  • Flog your rubbish – get up to £8 back selling old perfume bottles etc online. Own up - have you ever accidentally hoarded toilet roll tubes? You're in luck, you could try selling them in bulk and making a few bob. You might wonder why people buy them, but crafters and collectors alike have been known to buy all sorts that others discard. For more tips, see our Flog your rubbish for cash guide.

  • Any old textiles – get a £5 off H&M voucher. If you've any textiles items, including socks with holes etc, which are unsuitable to sell or give to charity, take a carrier bag full to H&M to exchange for a voucher that’ll give you £5 off a £25 spend. It can be any fabric, and not just H&M clothing.

  • Beauty product containers – get freebies, eg, £17.50 MAC lipstick. You can turn your empties from Lush, MAC and more into freebies. For example, return six used MAC containers to a MAC counter or send in the post to MAC to get a free lipstick, normally £17.50. See how to bag FREE £17.50 lipstick and other skincare rewards for recycling.

  • Carrier bags from Ocado or Morrisons – get 5p off your shopping per bag. See MSE Kelvin's blog on 13 ways to use less plastic AND save cash for this and more tips on plastic.

  • Reverse vending machines – earn coupons by recycling. Tesco, Morrisons and Iceland have trialled these in a few of their stores, and theme parks including Alton Towers have set up a machine issuing 50% off vouchers in exchange for empty plastic bottles. If you’re in Scotland, see our news story to learn more about Scotland introducing a 20p deposit on bottles and cans.

  • Recycling on the go – clean a beach and bag a discount or freebies. If you live near the coast, look for organised beach cleans – sometimes set up by local charities or businesses – where you may receive a discount or freebie for your hard work. For example, there are pubs in Exmouth and Newquay that’ll give you a free drink if you collect one of their yellow buckets and fill it with litter from the beaches nearby.

It's also worth noting if you recycle at home – DON'T get caught out with a £60 bill. If you're not recycling the correct items kerbside, your local authority could fine you up to £60.

For further inspiration, see MSE Kelvin's blog on 13 ways to use less plastic AND save cash.

Has this inspired you to declutter and get recycling? Have you any other recycling tips? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.