How to Make Money Recycling Wine Corks

Wine Corks

At my house there are two things that pile up quicker than I know what to do with them – pizza boxes and wine bottles. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a 23 year old college student or the fact that I just love pizza and wine, but they pile up quickly.

And until recently I have been dutifully marching them down to the recycling center each week, but it turns out that I’ve been throwing out cash.

I haven’t yet found a way to make money off the pizza boxes, but I have discovered that those wine corks and empty wine bottles can be sold for big money! Now we all know that in many states you can turn your glass bottles at the recycling center for a little bit of money. In fact, looking at the back of last night’s yet to be discarded bottles reveals that Maine will pay 0.15 and Iowa will pay 0.05 per bottle. Not bad, but I’ve figured how to get nearly 0.75 per bottle and I live in Florida which doesn’t have any bottle exchange programs.

Here’s how it works:

1. Collect & Clean –Wine bottles will only sell if they have been cleaned out with hot water and soap. There is no need to take the labels off the bottles as a lot of the people who buy empty wine bottles are crafters and they may want to keep the label.

You also want to save up your bottles until you have at least a dozen before listing them for sale. If your family is anything like mine that won’t take too long…

2. Create an Ebay Listing – Ebay is a great place to sell your wine bottles and corks. You want to split the corks and the empty bottles into two separate auctions so that you can make the most possible money. I have noticed that wine bottles usually sell in lots of 10 or 12. Auctions for wine corks sell in lots as small as 20 and as large as 500.

The wine bottles usually sell for about 50 cents each, but fancier bottles can fetch near $5.00 per bottle (hint: Cobalt blue bottles!). Wine corks, however, generally sell for about 10 cents each. Here are a couple of examples…







3. Send Your Bottles/Corks – Make sure you clearly list in your auction how much shipping costs will be. Wine bottles are heavy and you don’t want to get stuck with the shipping bill. I recommend that you look at other auctions to get an idea of what people charge for shipping.

Also, make sure you package the wine bottles up safely, because sellers are usually responsible for bottles that break when they are not packed properly.

Good luck Penny Hoarders!