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Recycle your things for cash!

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Last updated on

10 October 2013

From clothes to cans, CDs to cartridges, find out how you can do your bit for the environment and make a bit of money.

1) Clothes

A girl can never have too many clothes. But if your wardrobe is bursting at the seams and you're not sure where all your new clothes are going to fit, recycling your old ones is a practical solution!

One way to do this is to swap your unwanted clothes online. There are several websites which allow you to swap clothes or sell them for cash. Mrs Bear's Swap Shop and Swishing.com are both worth investigating. Both are free to join. Mrs Bear's holds events where you can swap your clothes with other likeminded people, while Swishing lets you advertise your wares online.

Fashion site ASOS also has its own Marketplace where you can buy and sell second-hand clothes.

If you have some designer clothes in your wardrobe, try hardlyeverwornit, but you must only have worn them once or twice).

Or you could try good ol' eBay.

Alternatively, if you want to feel extra good about yourself, you could donate your unwanted clothes to charity. It's worth noting that if you have any old clothes from M&S, you can take them to Oxfam and receive a £5 M&S voucher in return!

Only one voucher will be given per donation – so if you want to be extra cunning and you have several items to donate, take them separately! What's more, your voucher will only be valid for one month and you'll need to spend at least £35.

2) CDs, games and DVDs

If you've got a stack of old CDs/games/DVDs at home and you're wondering what possessed you to buy them in the first place, it's easy to get rid of them and earn some cash at the same time.

MusicMagpie is one website that allows you to sell your old CDs/games/DVDs. Simply enter the product's barcode onto the site and receive your quote. If you're happy, you'll be sent a freepost label so that you can post off your items, before receiving your money.

But don't think you're getting to get rich – prices generally range from 30p to £3 depending on the quality of the item.

Another option is CeX, which now has shops in most major UK towns and cities or you can sell to them online. Again, the prices aren't high, particularly for popular titles. There are also Cash Converters shops.

You could also take them to your local second-hand music or game shop and see what they'll offer.

Alternatively, you could try selling them yourself on sites such as eBay or Amazon's Marketplace. But bear in mind that you'll have to pay insertion fees and postage costs.

3) Books

Greenmetropolis.com is a great little website for recycling your unwanted books. If you're an avid reader and have stacks of books you no longer need, why not sell them on? All you have to do is log on and enter the book's ISBN number (usually found on the back of the book) and state what condition it's in.

For every book you sell, you'll receive £3. You can also purchase other books for £3.75.

Another site to look at (as recommended by lovemoney.com reader dianal below) is webuybooks.co.uk. You could also try eBay or specialist secondhand shops (do a web search for shops near you) if you think your books are worth more than the average.

If you prefer, you can also swap books on BookMooch (which is international) or ReadItSwapIt (which is UK-based).

4) Mobile phones

Many people have an old unwanted mobile phone knocking around somewhere.

There are lots of websites that will offer you cash in return for posting off your phone to be recycled, but prices do vary considerably – so have a good shop round first. Websites include Envirofone, Fonebank, Love2recycle, Mazuma Mobile, just to name a few. 

However, if this sounds like too much hassle, websites such as cellzone.co.uk and Omio.com will do the hard work for you. Once you've typed in which mobile phone you have, these websites will hunt around for the best deals for you.

Don't forget that the amount you receive for your mobile will depend on how old it is and whether it functions properly or not.

Again, eBay is another option.

5) Aluminium cans!

How many cans of drink do you and your family get through each week? If you're addicted to Coca-Cola, you could be building up a nice stash of aluminium cans – and these could actually be worth something!

If your local recycling point won't accept drinks cans, there are special centres dotted around the country that will pay you for recycling aluminium cans in bundles. Thinkcans.com will show you where your nearest recycling point is.

Just don't expect to be jetting off on a trip round the world with your earnings. You're only likely to receive 30-50p per kilogramme of cans – that's around 72 cans!

But if you're not terribly impressed by the amount of money you'll earn, at least you'll be helping the environment. In fact, recycling aluminium drink cans saves 95% of the energy needed to make aluminium from raw materials!

6) Ink cartridges

You can also earn a few pounds by recycling your own ink cartridges at websites such as CashForCartridges.co.uk or CartridgeCo.co.uk. The maximum you can earn is around £3 per empty ink cartridge.

It's worth noting that CartridgeCo will only allow you to recycle a minimum of 25 cartridges, whereas CashForCartridges has no minimum. You should also check that the type of cartridge you use can definitely be recycled.

Admittedly you're not going to become a millionaire in a hurry if you choose to recycle all of these items. But every little helps! And at least you'll be doing your bit to protect the earth!

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