Just as you can make money recycling aluminum cans, it is also possible to make money recycling 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 for Glass Recyclables?
The per-bottle recycling price in most states isn’t huge: usually between five cents and fifteen cents per bottle. So, at the minimum, you’ll earn five dollars for bringing 100 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.
The “NO” List for Glass Recyclables
Because different types of jars are made of different kinds of glass, not all are recyclable. Here are some of the types of glass bottles and jars that recycling centers will probably not accept:
- Food jars such as pickle jars and jelly jars
- Dairy jars such as those that contain milk
- Some types of glass bottles that hold water; your local recycling center will have details on that
Most states that allow residents to recycle glass containers 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
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.
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:
- New York
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 Recycling 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.
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.
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.
Again, this isn’t a side hustle you’re going to get rich off of or fund your early retirement with, 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. Listen this podcast on How to Have Multiple Streams of Income for more information on that.
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.
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