How to Recycle Glass Bottles and Jars for Money

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Just as you can make money recycling aluminum cans, it is also possible to make money when you recycle glass bottles and jars as well.

If you go through a lot of glass containers in your house, such as soda, beer or other glass beverage containers – or if you know others who buy a fair number of bottled beverages – this could be a good way for you to make some extra cash.

Recycling glass bottles and jars isn’t a side hustle you’ll get rich off of, but it will help you earn some extra cash and help the environment stay a little greener at the same time.

Here is some info on what companies pay to take your glass recyclables and other information that is need-to-know if you are thinking about starting a side hustle recycling glass bottles and jars.

How Much Will I Get Paid When I Recycle Glass Bottles?

You won’t get rich if you recycle glass bottles. The per-bottle recycling price in most states isn’t huge: usually between five cents and fifteen cents per pound. So, at the minimum, you’ll earn five dollars for bringing 100 pounds of bottles to a recycling center.

While that’s not a ton of cash, five bucks a week adds up to $260 a year. That could be money you could use toward part of a nice little vacation or extra savings.

What Types of Glass Bottles are Recyclable?

Now, recycling glass bottles is a bit different than recycling aluminum cans. There are certain types of glass bottles that are acceptable at recycling centers and others that are not acceptable. And the laws vary by state.

The “NO” List for Glass Recyclables

Because different types of jars are made of different kinds of glass, not all are recyclable. However, most glass bottles are acceptable for recycling. Here are some of the types of glass items that recycling centers will probably not accept:

  • Frosted glass jars
  • Pyrex dishes
  • wine glasses

Most states that allow residents to recycle glass bottles and jars primarily accept the following types of bottles, although you may find some exceptions:

  • Beer bottles
  • Soda bottles
  • Malt liquor bottles
  • Wine bottles
  • Other types of beverage bottles such as mixed drinks
  • Some types of glass water bottles
  • Food bottles such as pickle jars and applesauce jars

Since each state accepts different types of glass bottles for recycling, you’ll need to check your state laws to see which glass products are recyclable for cash in your area before collecting bottles and bringing them in for recycling.

This leads me to the next thing you need to know about recycling glass bottles and jars: Not all states allow residents to bring them in and get paid to recycle them.

Which States Allow People to Bring in Glass Bottles for Recycling?

Although most states allow people to put glass items in their curbside recycling containers, not all states allow residents to bring glass bottles in and get money for them.

Why? I’m not sure, and since this glass recycling stuff is government regulated I’m not even going to ask.

What I can tell you is that in order to get money for the glass bottles and jars you collect, you have to bring them to a state that has what’s called CDL: Container Deposit Legislation.

Container Deposit Legislation: Bottle Bills

In layman’s terms this is called a Bottle Bill. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition of what a Bottle Bill or CDL bill is:

“Container-deposit legislation is any law that requires collection of a monetary deposit on soft-drink, juice, milk, water, alcoholic-beverage, and/or other reusable packaging at the point of sale. When the container is returned to an authorized redemption center, or to the original seller in some jurisdictions, the deposit is partly or fully refunded to the redeemer (presumed to be the original purchaser). It is a deposit-refund system.”

Only ten states currently have active Bottle Bills on the books. The states where you can bring glass bottles to be recycled and get a deposit refund for them are as follows:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

Why do only ten states currently have bottle bills that allow for deposit returns? The Wikipedia website page on the subject says that the beverage container industry is to blame, but that’s a whole other topic we won’t bother to delve into right now.

The point of this article is to tell you how you can earn money by recycling glass jars and bottles.

SO, if you do live in one of the states that offer recycling refunds for glass bottles, here’s what to do next.

How to Make Money When You Recycle Glass Bottles and Jars

There are just two steps for making money by recycling glass jars. The first step is to:

1. Collect the bottles

You can do this by collecting the bottles you use at home. You can also ask friends, family members and neighbors if they wouldn’t mind if you collected their bottles. Make sure the jars are rinsed clean.

Just like with aluminum cans, many people don’t take the time to bring the bottles in for a refund, they simply throw them in the regular trash or put them in the curbside recycling bucket their trash pick-up service provides for them.

If they don’t plan on returning them for a deposit refund, you may as well do it for them and earn some extra money.

You may also be able to collect some glass bottles by contacting local bars and restaurants.

Restaurants and bar/grills that serve alcohol probably amass quite a collection of glass bottles on a weekly basis and would be a great place to find more recyclable glass.

If they don’t object to you collecting their recyclable glass, you can place a container where it is convenient for them and collect the recyclable contents on a regular basis. With restaurants, you’d probably need to collect once or twice a week.

2. Bring the bottles in for a refund

Most states that have CDL or bottle bills have several recycling center locations around the state. There is a website called bottlebill.org that can tell you more about each state’s specific bottle recycling legislation and help guide you to where you might be able to bring the bottles for a refund.

This website can give you specific details about the dos and don’ts of glass bottle recycling for each state. It will also tell you how much money each state pays for the glass bottles it accepts.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Recycling Glass Bottles?

Here are some more facts about making money by recycling glass bottles and jars that you might find helpful.

First, if you don’t live in a bottle bill state but live instead in a state that borders a bottle bill state, you can’t necessarily bring bottles across the state border for recycling.

Many bottle bill states have laws that prohibit bring bottles across state lines for recycling purposes. Check the bottle bill state’s specific laws about bringing bottles across the border for more information on that.

Second, you may be able to contact your local legislators about introducing a bottle bill in your state. Contact legislators in your area to learn more about how that works and about whether or not the state representatives might be open to considering a bottle bill.

Third, along with several states in the U.S., there are many other countries that have Container Deposit Legislation laws.

Other Area Might Pay More

You might be able to recycle bottles for money if you live in countries such as Canada, Germany or Sweden.

Fourth, you should know that most recycling centers only collect intact bottles and won’t accept broken bottles or jars. Broken bottles will need to be removed from the collection of bottles you are bringing in for a refund.

You’ll also need to remove any other types of glass that may have accidentally gotten mixed in with the recyclable glass such as mirrors, light bulbs or non-acceptable food jars.

When you bring your recyclable bottles and jars to the local recycling center, they usually count them up and pay you right on the spot.

In some states, however, they may pay you based on weight and not per bottle depending on the number of bottles you bring in.

Some states may also have limits on how many bottles you can turn in per trip. The recycling center’s website should have information about any bottle number limits.

Summary

Again, you aren’t going to get rich off of or fund your early retirement when you recycle glass bottles, but recycling glass bottles can help you earn a bit of extra cash each month if you live in a bottle bill state or country.

Every bit of extra income counts, and making more money is one of many of the money moves that can make you wealthier.

In fact, if you find enough different streams of income, you may be able to quit your day job altogether.

Your financial future is in your control – now is the time to start doing what you need to do to reach the financial goals that are most important to you.

20 thoughts on “How to Recycle Glass Bottles and Jars for Money”

  1. Laurie,
    Your math is a little off at the beginning of this post. $0.05 per bottle x 100 bottles per week = $5.00 per week, and $5.00 per week x 52 weeks per year = $260.00 per year. I’m not trying to burst your bubble, but it’s important to get this calculation right for the start of this article.

    Thanks as always for sharing money saving and money making tips here!

  2. The glass container manufacturing industry has nothing to say about whether or not a deposit is collected on bottles and jars. State legislatures enact these bottle bills, mostly to reduce the amount of glass thrown in the garbage or on the streets. A deposit is paid at the time of purchase that can be recovered when an empty jar or bottle is returned. Container manufacturers would probably cheer at the prospect of a bottle bill in their state, as this would increase the volume of recyclable glass they could use in their production, thereby, saving them money. FYI, in states without a bottle bill (most states don’t have one), it is virtually impossible to make money recycling glass as the average market price paid for recyclable food-grade jars and bottles is around $25 per ton.

  3. Hi. I’m based in Durban, South Africa. I am looking to start collecting glass for Budweiser, only I want to do it while living here. Do you have any suggestions on how I can contact the relevant people in charge and make some sort of profit? lol.

    Thank You

    • To be perfectly honest, this post only contains info about recycling glass bottles for money in the U.S. However, I just internet googled, “Durban, South Africa glass bottle recycling for money” and got several hits. You might try that, or contacting a Budweiser distributor in your area to find out more. I hope that helps.

  4. Hi, good people. My name is Lebese Rholani and I am 14 years old. I am based in Limpopo. I am interested in being a recycling service provider and if there is someone who needs glass beer bottles, he or she may contact me so that we can negotiate. I can get that person more than 500,000 bottles.

  5. Lynette,
    Do you still have those bottles? I’m looking for clear beer bottles pop cap style for a new business start up. If your willing to donate to a great business startup please reach out to me @ 727-344-9443

  6. All I want is to know where I can take my bottles to get a refund. I have been on the Internet for over 30 minutes to just find an address. Is this possible in San Diego California?

    • If you’re living in a state where you have to pay a deposit on a bottle (which California is one), then you there will be a way for you to get that deposit returned! There is a link to a site called BottleBill in the article and this can give you more info on where you can go and return your bottles! Best of luck!

  7. In Oregon, it is a .10¢ return. You can’t tell me that you won’t make much. In less than 2 weeks, i made over $300.
    I don’t understand why all the other states does not do bottle return. Less in the landfield, less trash laying around, helps people out in homeless positions, etc. It’s a win win for that state and it’s residents.
    I can say that Illinois needs new roads, maybe that would help them. Where do all their taxes go? Definitely not on these roads.
    Just visiting here and have never seen such horrible roads. Hopefully this state pays for people’s cars that get ruined by these roads.

  8. I am an American living in the Phillippines with my awesome PH wife. I drink wine and tried to give bottles to those who collect scrap metals, plastic and glass, but they denied my offer and said thE companies here do not take wine bottles. With that in mind I am thinking of making up the gap and start my own wine bottles recycling business. What steps should I take for this process? I ask for information and get none as I am not Phillippino!

  9. It has been a long time since I use to recycle “GLASS” for an
    “HONEST DOLLAR”, but in ARKANSAS (TRI-STATE IRON+METALS of TEXARKANA to be exact) I use to recycle glass for extra money.
    But unlike “METALS” with glass:
    (1) You have to keep your colors separated, green, clear, brown, red, blue
    (2)They would buy glass broken or whole, didn’t matter which.
    (3) In “1990” glass only paid .01¢ a pound.
    (4) Unlike “ALUMINUM”, glass gets heavy very fast, I could pick up 600-700 lbs in no time at all easily.
    If you can get a bunch of either
    5-gallon buckets, or 5 different
    50-gallon drums to keep the glass separate+smashed in to build up the most for 1-trip.
    But you will need a pick up truck to move with, if you have a trailer would be great as well.
    KEITH MR HILLBILLY 🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂

  10. Hello,
    My name is Wioleta and I am living in Birmingham.
    My friend has a skip full of glass bottles. Is any way that he can earn some money instead of paying for skip collection?
    Please help.
    Thank you.

  11. Some beer bottles are marked NO DEPOSIT. A lot of them in mich. They buy the beer in wisc. and bring them to mich. to drink. SOL on refund on those I guess. Sure is a lot of wisc. cans and bottles on mich. roadsides tho.

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