Earth Day is a global celebration that started back in the 70s to bring attention to our environment. The good news is that since that first Earth Day, things have gotten a lot better but there is still work to be done. Most major cities in the country have some form of recycling plan. There are other burgs who are reaching for the lofty goal of becoming “zero waste.” That means everything that is thrown out will be recycled, repurposed and reused. That’s the kind of goal we can all get behind. If you are currently recycling your papers, plastics and aluminum containers, then good on ya! It’s easy to get into the separating habit once you start. However, there could be “gold” in that recycling that you’re “leaving on the table.” With a little extra effort, you could not only recycle to save the planet but also save you money.

Cash In The Plastic

Most cities have a recycling program for plastic. That’s not just about getting it picked up on trash removal day but about having the ability to cash in. For instance, in Los Angeles an empty water bottle is worth a nickel. A case of empty bottles can earn $1.20. Two cases of empty bottles are enough to actually pay for a case of water. Instead of automatically surrendering your plastic bottles, you might want to bag them up and engage in some serious cash recycling.

Cash In The E-Waste

E-waste or electronic waste is another way to earn cash. There are many big retailers like Best Buy who will actually buy back your old computer stuff. We’re talking about desktops, laptops, monitors and printers. You’re not going to get anywhere near what you originally paid for those items but earning enough for a nice lunch is worth the effort of dropping it off, right? Check those stores and go through your closets for all your old e-waste. It can certainly add up.

Reuse Boxes, Paper And Wrappings

Around the holidays, there is a lot of waste and it’s not just fruitcakes. All those boxes, ribbons and wrapping papers could have been recycled. Anytime you get something in a box, save the box. If you can save the wrapping paper on a gift, then even better. Perhaps you can use alternative wrapping paper like newspapers. When you get right down to it, does the wrapping really matter more than the gift? As for general paper use, flip before you toss. In other words, use both sides of a piece of paper and you’ll save on replacing that stack.

Turn Your Shirts into Rags

There will come a time when you’ll be done with that old shirt or pair of jeans. Yes, you can donate those items to a thrift store. You can also cut them up to use around the house. You can save a bundle if you turn your old clothes into rags to wash your car and clean your home.

You might not get rich from recycling but a little cash can add up. Plus, helping the environment is always good karma.