Redeeming Recyclables for Cash

I haven't taken my empty cans and bottles to a recycling center since I was about nine years old. Igot into both environmentalism and thrift at a young age (I had my very own copy of 101 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth), so what could be better than turning used cans into cash? We received so little for them though that it was depressing and didn't seem worth the effort. Our community implemented a recycling program around the same time, so we just put our cans and bottles out on the curb with the newspapers.

My boyfriend doesn't have recycling bins at his apartment complex, so he's been saving cans and bottles for months to take to his parents' house where the city will pick them up. Well, we went on a cleaning spree this weekend, and one of the easiest ways to declutter and make more space was to get rid of all the bottles and cans that had invaded the kitchen counter, the space underneath the kitchen sink, and even the balcony.

We took four bags full to a recycling kiosk in a nearby grocery store parking lot. We fed cans and bottles into an automated machine that whisked them down a conveyor belt, counted them with surprising accuracy, and then gave us a voucher to redeem in the store. We got 5 cents for containers under 24 ounces, 10 cents for containers over 24 ounces, and found out that the machine won't take empty sauce jars, champagne bottles, or wine bottles (even though they're made out of perfectly recyclable glass). Our total haul was $8.40, which we were able to use as a coupon to reduce the cost of our groceries. We could have also exchanged it for cash. We had so much fun feeding the bottles into the machine and getting a cash discount on groceries that we plan to continue this method from now on.

To find out where you can recycle cans, bottles, and all sorts of other items that you probably didn't even know you could recycle, visit Earth 911.


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