7 Wacky Things in Your Trash Worth Cash

Steven Depolo under Creative Commons

Americans throw away approximately 266 million tons of trash every year and it turns out we might as well be throwing away cash. There’s a reason dumpster diving has become so popular in recent years and that’s because things that you think are worth nothing often have value.

The Penny Hoarder veterans might recognize a few of these, but I’ve got some new ones as well.

Here are my 7 Wacky Things in Your Trash Worth Cash:

1. Ink Cartridges

Not only is it bad for the environment, but by throwing away your printer’s ink cartridges, you are potentially throwing away cash. There are several websites that will buy your empty cartridge and most will even pick up the tab for shipping. Used ink cartridges are usually worth a $1 or $2 while the larger copy toners can go for $20 or more. Check out InkjetCartridge.com, TonerBuyer.com, and WeBuySupplies.com to get started. The office store, Staples, also has a program where they will give you a $2 gift certificate for each cartridge you bring them.

2. Wine Bottles & Wine Corks

“Down the hatch” and into the trash – that’s where most of our empty wine bottles go. But some folks are making extra cash by selling their empty wine bottles and corks on Ebay. The bottles can fetch 50 cents or more and the corks go for around 10 cents each. There’s more information about how to do this here: “Make Money Recycling Wine Corks.”

3. Old Magazines

Although the iPad is quickly taking over, I’m assuming there are a few of us here that still receive physical magazines in the mail. Before you trash them you should know that there’s a demand for those used magazines and one of the great places to unload them is on Ebay. Now, not every magazine is worthy of resell. The latest issue of your People magazine is probably not worth much, but others like National Geographic can resell quite nicely on Ebay.

4. Plastic Coke Bottles

It’s not so much the bottle itself that is worth money, but rather the cap on top. Coca-Cola has been running a program for years called “Coke Rewards” where they print little codes on the inside of each plastic cap. You can redeem those codes for gift certificates to Blockbuster, Nike.com, etc. If you prefer cash over gift certificates, then you can also sell your coke caps on Ebay. Each cap is worth around 25 cents. (Update September 9, 2013 : A reader emails in to tell us that Ebay no longer allows these to be auctioned off. However, you can still trade them in for gift certificates and prizes on Mycokerewards.com)

5. Unwanted Coupons

Every Sunday I judiciously go through the coupons hidden in the middle of my newspaper. Half of them go into my coupon folder while the other half lay in a rejection pile of items I’ll never buy. The thing is, just because I don’t have a need for cat food coupons doesn’t mean somebody else won’t. Many folks sell their unwanted coupons on Ebay and some folks have even started their own website for selling their reject coupons. If you are interested in selling yours, get all the information here: “Make Money Selling Unwanted Coupons.”

6. Moving Boxes

If you have recently moved then you probably find yourself with a garage full of empty boxes. Before you sit them out on the curb, consider selling them to a resell company. There are several companies that will buy your boxes directly or allow you to post a free ad to local buyers. One such website is BoxQuest.com. I’ve previously written about a few others here: “Make Money Recycling Moving Boxes.”

7. Food Packaging

On selected General Mills brands there are little cutouts known as ‘Box-tops for Education’. The box-top program is designed to give money back to schools by giving them cash for every box-top they collect. Despite the incentive to give back, thousands of these are thrown in the trash every year and a determined group of parents are paying people to rethink that decision. The box-tops often resell on Ebay for around 10 cents each. I’ve written more about how to find and sell these in article titled “Sell Your Food Packaging.”

Good Luck Penny Hoarders!