Looking For Extra Money? Teach Your Kids How to Recycle

kids recycling

I love teaching my son about money. Usually, I allow him to earn money with an allowance by doing certain things around the house. However, it’s not uncommon for my son to ask me about more ways that he can make money — especially if he wants to save up for something.

We moved into our starter home almost three years ago and around that time, I remember telling my son about recycling. I’ll never forget how he was so diligent at picking up everyone’s soda cans and plastic at our housewarming party. Free cleanup is always nice. Plus, my son had a ton of stuff to jump-start his recyclables stash.

Recycling Is Not Just About Money

Recycling is not just about money; it’s about helping the environment. So many things that we use each day come from recycled materials. Recycling helps prevent emissions from many greenhouse gases as well as water pollution and energy waste.

Anyone can recycle, and to promote this important habit, others are willing to pay people who turn in recyclable materials.

What Can Kids Help Recycle?

If your kids would like to help recycle, they can start by collecting most reusable items that are easy to store like plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and soda cans.

When selecting items, realize that one of the most important factors is the material the item is made up of. If this material can be reused and shows up in a lot of other things people use each day, it might be a good idea to try to recycle it.

Some examples:

  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Paper
  • Electronics
  • Cardboard

Are all great materials to consider. Get a box or separate bin that your kids can collect all their recyclables in.

How to Make Money by Recycling

If your child wants to earn extra money by recycling, the best way to start is by collecting aluminum cans. We don’t drink a ton of soda in our house, but I do drink sparkling water drinks and those come in aluminum cans.

Different types of metal are very valuable, so there might be a recycling program in your area that will pay you depending on how much your haul weighs each time you make a drop-off. Do a quick search on Google to see if there is a metal recycling yard in your area. Check out Earth911 to find a recycling bank near you. On average, you can earn anywhere from $0.80 to $1.50 per pound of aluminum cans. You may also earn around $0.05 to $0.10 per glass bottle that you are able to recycle. It all depends on where you take your items and what rates they offer per pound or unit.

Recycle Electronics

Kids have a lot of electronics these days, ranging from tablets to smartwatches and even a cellphone if they’re older. Help your child make use of their own electronics by recycling them for parts. Decluttr is one of the best sites to help you do this and they offer a free quote online.

You can sell CDs, DVDs, and other devices for extra cash along with books, game consoles, and LEGOs. Just enter the barcode for your item and Decluttr will give you a quote and allow you to ship your item for free. If your item is accepted, Decluttr will send you the payment outlined in the quote.

Pick Up Items Locally

Another fun project we tried when my son was in Cub Scouts was picking up litter at parks and schools in our area. This is a great way for you to encourage your child to serve the community. Plus, they may find some items they can recycle for extra cash.

Recycling Together

Of course, you’ll need to help monitor your child and possibly even set up any transactions when helping them recycle for extra cash. However, it can be a fun and educational experience that teaches you both about the power you have to protect the environment.


CircleAround is operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA. The site serves adult women nationwide by providing content that is uplifting, thought-provoking, and useful. We make revenue distributions back to GSUSA so they can further their mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

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