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Recycle your things for cash!

lovemoney staff
by Lovemoney Staff lovemoney staff on 10 October 2013  |  Comments 18 comments

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

Recycle your things for cash!

Christmas is coming and you need some extra cash. Have you thought about making some money from the old or unused items lying around your home? You could get a nice little Christmas bonus.

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 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 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 reader dianal below) is 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 and 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. 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 or 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!

If you've got any more recycling ideas, you can share them with fellow readers in the Comments section below.

This is a classic lovemoney article that has been updated (see, even we recycle!)

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Comments (18)

  • maxstar
    Love rating 0
    maxstar said

    If you're like me and never actually get around to selling your items and now just want to get rid of them, you can join your local freecycle community online using The takers are more than willing to collect items from you which saves you the hassle of packaging and posting. You don't receive any money, but you never know what you can get rid of rather than just binning it!

    Report on 26 April 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Concord UK
    Love rating 4
    Concord UK said

    Of course you can just drive round to the local tip (poshly and politically correctly termed a recycling centre) and chuck it all in the appropriate skip. Most waste can be burnt to produce heat or electricity. Plastics help the mix to burn so helping reduce landfill tax just as much as sorting through, seperating and rinsing your refuse. Metals such as aluminium are exceptions but modern plants can extract these for recycling before incineration anyway.

    Pity we lost the old Rag and Bone man who was the early recycler and the kids used to get balloons for the rubbish too. For the amount of money / effort involved the article will not give you much income unless you wish to be a latterday 'rag and bone' merchant yourself.

    Report on 26 April 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Concord UK
    Love rating 4
    Concord UK said

    Quote from article: "But every little helps! And at least you'll be doing your bit to protect the earth!"....How exactly? Sounds more like Green propaganda to me.

    Report on 26 April 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • bazza1212
    Love rating 0
    bazza1212 said

    My wife decided to sell a few items of gold left to her by her mum some years ago,we took it to a dealer in Birmingham,it was only a small handful,to our delight,they said it was worth£540,we looked at each other in amazement,how much,my wife asked...are you sure,yes said the chap behind the counter,there will be a £55 payment towards VAT...Oh said my wife...only joking said the chap..only joking..we all had a good laugh,when our feet hit the pavement,we laughed all the way to the bank..

    Report on 27 April 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Nigellc
    Love rating 1
    Nigellc said

    However much you stick your hand down the back of sofas &c, there is always something that evades recovery. So I suggest slashing open the underside of any (upholstered) furniture before your trash it.

    We did so and found not only lots more coins, pens, bits of lego, even pizza crusts but also my Rolex I was adamant the scaffolders had nicked 10 years previously.

    I see at the tip, sorry re-cycling facility, the lads there do just that. No wonder they eye up incoming furniture with the greatest of interest.

    Report on 29 April 2009  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • rbgos
    Love rating 84
    rbgos said

    I sold my old mobile (and it was a pretty basic model) on eBay, and got precisely twice what I'd have got from the likes of Mazuma etc. For the little extra effort it involves, eBay is a better option. I'd expect it to be a similar story for CDs, DVDs etc too, compared to Music Magpie.

    Report on 21 November 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Tamara
    Love rating 20
    Tamara said

    If your cartridge works, CartridgeWorld shops will buy them off you or give you a discount on a refilled one if you give them your empty, or they will just clean, fill up and test your one if you need a "new" one.

    Quality depends on the franchise owner, so you have to try it first, but they all seem to have offers on the go.

    Slough's branch is fantastic, since the new guy took over last year, the quality has improved tenfold and he's lovely! I now pay £6.99 for my HP instead of the £10.77 discounted on Amazon. And you get proper customer service and technical knowledge, which I believe, is in short supply now a days. And the cartridges fit my printer all of the time! (Major problem on Amazon and with HP wireless photoprinters B series)

    Report on 22 November 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • dianal
    Love rating 0
    dianal said

    I found the ink cartridges tip extremely useful - did not have a clue that you could get money back from your old cartridge!

    Green Metropolis is a good idea, but I find there are better sites who will pay higher prices for your books! I have used in the past, unlike GM they don't give you a fixed price per book - so you can make more money if you have higher value books.

    Report on 21 December 2011  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • alldav
    Love rating 4
    alldav said

    You didn't mention scrap metal. I've just returned from a recycler with £80 in my pocket for a storage box full of old bits of copper piping that have festered in my garage for years, together with a box full of old electrical cable, wires and the like. That worked out at over £1700 per metric tonne, even with the insulation still on, the pure copper itself is around £4500 PMT. No wonder Network Rail have a problem!

    Report on 20 March 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    Don't buy a printer which needs a second mortgage for cartridges. If you're smart you will buy one which has been out for at least two years and which has replaceable tanks (often very easy to refill). Many models even with chipped tanks can be reset or non-original tanks purchased. I did some consultancy for a company and saved them £60 a week on cartridges simply by refilling rather than ordering through stationery supplier. Brother and Canon printers are some of the easiest to use with non-original ink supplies or to simply refill. Avoid Lexmark like a plague.

    Report on 21 March 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • SallyG
    Love rating 1
    SallyG said

    Why not keep a few chickens and recycle some of your food waste to them in return for tasty eggs if you have the space. Also some other people that recycle empty cartridges fairly near me in Somerset are

    Report on 20 July 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • andrewjameshowar
    Love rating 26
    andrewjameshowar said


    Are you really so stupid that you need the "how" explaining? If I recycle an item, someone else uses it instead of buying a new one. Raw materials are not consumed in manufacturing the new item. Energy is not used in its manufacture and thus additional greenhouse gases and pollutants are not released into the atmosphere. Until the item's eventual demise, it does not take up space in a landfill site or otherwise rot/decay/degrade releasing pollutants/greenhouse gases. Nor is it incinerated, producing the same, alongside a small amount of energy (household waste is not a fuel of choice). Extending the life of products reduces the rate at which raw materials are extracted and the rate at which greenhouse gases and pollutants are released.

    Report on 23 November 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    Another recycled article? How appropriate !

    Report on 26 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • JRAY100
    Love rating 66
    JRAY100 said

    Companies are cropping up giving ~50p per kilo for servicable clothes, shoes and bags... others give 30p per kilo for bric-a-brac... we've taken 35 kilos so far... much more in 2013! Easier than car booting unless the items are special and could go to a gear exchange shop... no entry fee... try it!

    Report on 26 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • shortchanged
    Love rating 18
    shortchanged said

    I only wish these ideas worked. I have tried mobiles, clothes, CDs and books, both on sites such as those above and on eBay. No-one wants what I have even if the books are rare and being sold at a high price such as on ABE books.The few that might fetch 25p are not worth sending as it would cost me more to post than I would make. So everything just goes for charity which is great for them but is not helping my meagre income one bit.

    Report on 26 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • jennysue19
    Love rating 6
    jennysue19 said

    Just as you can buy second hand books on Amazon, you can also sell them, so it is worth checking your ISBN number there as well. Some books will only pay you pennies, popular titles can go for much more.

    You can also make a little extra because you get a standard amount for postage and packing from Amazon and the actual cost of sending a book recorded delivery second class is less than what you are paid if it is a fairly standard size paperback. So, shortchanged, check out Amazon again. A friend of mine specializes in childrens' books which seem to go for premium prices so if you have a family, recycling books they have grown out of, could be a good idea.

    I scour the shelves of local charity shops and jumble sales for popular paperbacks in excellent condition, you don't want dog eared items with coffee cup rings on the front for re-sale.

    I do like the idea of some of the money going to the Woodland Trust though and will definitely check out this option. And I will dig out my old mobile phones!

    Just the other day, I heard about a great new business in Hampshire that re-sells top-end brand and designer label childrens' clothes and gives you 50% of the re-sale value - here is the link - if your little darlings are running round in GAP and Timberland, you could help the cost of up-sizing as they grow.

    Report on 17 January 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • cons
    Love rating 0
    cons said

    Try for DVDs, I think they pay out better than any I have found before.

    Report on 13 January 2014  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • John.S
    Love rating 0
    John.S said

    Swapping is by far the best and fun way to get rid of unwanted items for something new. If you are looking to buy, sell, swap or wanted almost anything, please check out

    Report on 16 February 2014  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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