One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so the saying goes. What most people don’t realize is that they can be the middle man by bringing the two together and cashing in for it!  Often times the man with the trash is unaware of who is looking for it and the person wanting treasure does not know where to find it.

Today there are more ways to make money from trash than ever before, and one of the ultimate ways to practice waste management is trading trash for cash! Here are 10 easy ways to turn yours or anyone else’s unwanted trash into cash!


1. Aluminum

Aluminum is probably one of the most common items to be found and available for cashing in. Aluminum can go for about $0.60 per pound, but prices change every day and depend on the location, so check with your local scrap yard or recycle center. Aluminum cans are fairly easy to find, but an old gutter or an aluminum door will give you a lot more weight which means a lot more cash, so keep your eyes out.

2. Copper

Copper is a much more valuable metal than aluminum, estimating at just over $2 per pound (again, check with your local facility).  However, people don’t usually know where to find it. If you see or have household items with a cord being thrown away, such as a toaster or coffee pot, cut off the cord.  Once you have a good amount of chords, you can strip off the rubber and you are left with enough copper to take to the recycling center.

3. Clothes

Consignment shops can be found all over and offer easy money for clothes that may otherwise be getting thrown away or donated. If clothes are in style and have no apparent damage or visible wear they are definitely worth the trip.  To ensure you get the best bang for your buck, wash the clothes before you take them to ensure they are clean and wrinkle free and even focus on bringing clothes for the upcoming seasons. Consignment stores will give you cash on the spot, or they will offer you a higher value of in-store credit if you want to use it to shop there.

4. Electronics

Office supply stores will offer you money for bringing in your old ink cartridges to be recycled.  Staples, for example, will offer $2 in Staples rewards per ink. This can be used like cash in their store.  Other companies will pay cash for used electronics such as cell phones, mp3 players, computers, TVs, printers, etc. Gazelle is an online store that will take used cell phones and pretty much any Apple product for cash. They even offer free shipping!

5. DIY Décor/Crafts

Most of the junk, trash, and recyclable items people have can be used to make jewelry and home décor.  Once made, these can then be sold on Ebay, Etsy, or at a local farmer’s market.  Sometimes you don’t even have to make the décor or jewelry yourself because there are people who are just willing to buy the material to make the items themselves. To give you some ideas, bottlecaps can be turned into fun magnets, jewelry, and even belts. A bartender would be a great person to ask for a supply of bottle caps. If woodwork, upholstery, or any type of refinishing is a skill you posses, look for furniture being thrown away that has potential to become like-new and stylish.


6. Craigslist

Craigslist has a “free” section, where people list items they are getting rid of. These can go fast and can often have valuable items so check every day or multiple times a day. You can find items with metal to be cashed in or items that may need little to no fixing that you can resell yourself.

7.Yard Sales

With some planning, and a vehicle suited for hauling away items you can hit the jackpot.  Try showing up when the yard sales are ending, since this is when the owners are ready to just give items away because they don’t want to keep anything.  Newspapers are a good place to find when and where these sales will be held. You can even host your own yard sale to trade would-be trash for cash.

8. Curbside Treasures

If you are equipped with a vehicle that is prepared to transport pretty much anything, you might be surprised what you can find just driving around different neighborhoods and looking out for discarded items.

9. Ebay

Ebay presents the “Reward Points Incentive Program” where you can sell things like food packaging from General Mills, Coca-Cola caps and Campbell’s soup labels in exchange for money. It may not be very much, but a little can go a long way over time.

10. Recycle Bank

You can earn recycle bank points by participating in the Recyclebank program, which offers people money in exchange for recycling. People who participate in the Recyclebank program can redeem their points at places like Best Buy and iTunes via gift cards.