It’s so easy to recycle these days – there are no good excuses for throwing your rubbish in the wrong bin now that local councils make the process so easy. But while we caught the recycling bug quite a few years ago, it’s only recently that we’ve discovered that there are some items you can recycle for a reward. So although we definitely don’t need any incentive to do our bit for the planet, it’s always nice to find new and sustainable ways to refill your wallet.
Cash in your clothes
There are a few different options for getting rid of last year’s wardrobe. H&M are quite generous with their current clothes recycling programme: for every carrier full of clothes that you hand in, you get a £5 voucher to spend in one of their stores. You can donate any textiles from any brand, even if it’s past it’s best: they’re able to find a new home for unwearable items, too. The catch is that each fiver you earn comes with a minimum spend of £25.
You can also look at schemes like Genie Recycling. They’ll send you large plastic sacks to fill and then come and collect them for you. Once they’ve been weighed, you’ll have money deposited straight into your account. The rates are usually less generous, and they’re a lot more picky about what you can donate, but you can spend the money wherever you like.
Don’t lose your bottle
Several brands have started offering discounts on their products if you bring back your old packaging to be refilled. We’re particularly keen on Ecover, a company making environmentally friendly washing-up liquid and laundry detergent. These guys have refill stations in some stores, where you can simply pump your favourite item right back into the bottle. You won’t make money, but you’ll save precious pennies on a quality brand. Check out their refill store locater here.
Luxury cosmetics brand Lush offer free face masks if you return five of their black plastic pots to the store for recycling. Lush isn’t exactly a budget-friendly brand, but they do offer ethical products that are a good option if you can afford a treat.
Fashion and beauty brand & Other Stories also offer a reward for customers who return their old packaging. Return one or more containers for a 10% voucher valid for the next three months.
Get cash for cans
If you get through a lot of tin cans then simply throwing them into the recycling being could be costing you cold, hard cash. Across the UK, you can find recycling centres and scrap dealers willing to shell out around 50p kilo. Alupro, an organisation dedicated to recycling aluminium, have more info on their site and say that they can help you find a company who will pay for tin cans if you get in contact.
Money off at M&S
Here’s one for anybody with an old, unloved M&S cardigan lurking at the back of the closet: Oxfam may be willing to pay you for it. In fact, they’ll give a £5 M&S voucher to anyone who donates a bag of clothing containing at least one saleable M&S item. A minimum spend of £35 applies.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to rake in a lot of money this way: we’re yet to hear of anyone funding their next holiday through recycling schemes. However, it’s a great way to get some decent discounts, and a good opportunity to make recycling that little bit more rewarding.