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We can all do with a few extra dollars. Finding ways to turn your unwanted possessions into money is a fantastic way of recycling, and something which we all can do. Just because something has no use or value to you anymore, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t to someone else. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, or so the saying goes.

What can be recycled for money?

If you look around your house and garage, you’ll probably be extremely surprised at the amount of stuff you have that you no longer use. If you want to have a clear out and make a few dollars along the way, then you’ll need to be ruthless. Let’s face it, if you haven’t used something for 3 or 4 years, then the likelihood of you ever using it again is fairly slim.

From clothes to old electronics, you’ll be amazed what can be recycled for money. You only have to take a quick browse through on-line auction sites to see the popularity of buying second hand goods.

What are the options for recycling goods for money?

If you want to swop your unwanted items for money then there are a few options available to you. It really depends on what you have to get rid of and what it is worth.

If you have a whole bunch of items, then you could consider holding a garage sale at your house, or perhaps going to a car boot sale. This has the advantage of people picking up whatever they want and taking it away there and then with no extra effort on your behalf.

For individual items, then you can use online auctions such as eBay. You’ll have to take photos and write a nice description of the item for sale. Once it’s sold and you’ve received payment, you will have to package up the item and send it to the customer.

If, during your search for items to recycle for money, you come across something which you think might be of great value, you should always get it appraised by an expert. The last think you want is to sell your great Aunt Marge’s funny old vase for a couple of dollars, to later find out it was a precious Ming worth tens of thousands!

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

This recycling process uses up precious little in the way of resources. Okay, so you’ll use up a bit of electricity running the computer, or maybe a bit of gas driving to a car boot sale. But the advantages in both monetary terms and the fact that the buyers of your items will not have to purchase new outweigh all of this by far.

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Everyone knows that gold is a valuable commodity. So when we talk about recycling it you are more than likely to get some money back in lieu of this. Of course, we all think of items such as gold jewelry and watches, but did you know that gold is used as a component in some computer boards?

Can they be recycled?

Of course, all gold can and should be recycled. Mining for gold will always go on, but there is no point in such a valuable asset ending up in landfill. With regards to computer boards, not only is it possible to reclaim and reuse the gold in certain cases, but it is also advantageous to the environment for all parts of a computer to be recycled.

All towns and cities offer recycling facilities for computers. If you are unsure of the closest to where you live, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

Gold in any form can be melted down and molded into new products. If you have gold jewelry that you no longer want, there are quite a few recycling options open to you. The easiest is to go into a jeweler’s store that specifies that they buy old gold, and they will give you the current scrap price. Beware of many of the companies which have sprung up asking to buy your unwanted gold. These give a rate far lower than that of scrap, sometimes as low as 25% of the actual value. You could also advertise it for sale on an on-line auction site such as eBay.

If your gold jewelry is very special then you may be better placed to have it appraised by an expert as to its value. Then perhaps it should be sold at a specialist auction or to a specialist dealer to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Recycling the gold in a computer is also possible. However, the gold contained in just one computer is not going to make you rich! But if you have access to a large number then it is possible to reclaim the gold and other precious metals and recycle them for cash once you have a decent amount. Most older computers, especially those which are pre-1995 use gold as component parts along with other precious metals.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

When recycling gold jewelry it doesn’t take an awful lot of resources to melt the gold down. With regards to computer boards, the easiest way to recycle these is at a computer recycling center. However, if you have a large amount of old computer boards it may be possible to get some money for them. Try taking them to a metal refiner who will more than likely pay to take them off your hands.

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We all love to give and receive greetings cards, especially at special times of the year such as Christmas, Holidays and Birthdays. It’s an inexpensive way of showing someone that you are thinking of them, and can also give comfort at times of sadness as well. Many people hold onto cards for many years and they can trigger many memories. However, over the years your greetings cards can begin to pile up. There are many ways that cards can be recycled, both in the usual way and in ways which are a little more imaginative.

Can they be recycled?

Paper and card is a valuable commodity. Most people know that paper is derived from trees, so any recycling helps to cut down on the amount of trees that need to be felled. But there are a whole host of other ways you can reuse your greetings cards if you want to keep the memories.

All towns and cities offer recycling facilities for cards and paper. If you are unsure of the closest to where you live, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

Before you consign your greetings card to the recycle bin, consider if you can put them to use in another way. Perhaps you can involve the kids for a fun family experience, or even donate them to schools to use as cut outs and collages. With a bit of imagination you can make beautiful decorative displays, tags for presents, miniature gift boxes or even an origami gift box.

If you decide to recycle your gift cards at the recycling center, then very often the cards will be used to make more cards. Or perhaps plain, recycled paper. Very often charities sell greetings cards which are all made from recycled cards and paper.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

So much paper is thrown in the trash every year that not recycling as much as possible would have a huge effect on landfill. Paper which is not recycled is often incinerated, and this adds to the amount of CO2 produced, which is a greenhouse gas.

When paper is produced from raw materials, the production process not only emits CO2, but methane as well, which is also a greenhouse gas. Recycling paper cuts down on the amount released into the atmosphere. It also reduces the number of trees which need to be harvested. Trees absorb the CO2 from our atmosphere and emit oxygen. Every tree we cut down lowers this rate, and even if more trees are planted to counteract this, the new trees take a very long time to grow and reach maturity.

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In the U.S. we use an enormous amount of paper on daily basis. From newspapers and wrapping paper, to exercise books and toilet paper, we consume it at a frightening rate. Computers have helped ease this burden a little as a lot of information is now stored on disc, but the amount of paper used is rising every year. The American Forest and Paper Association has joined forces with the Environmental Protection Agency to commit to recycling as much paper as possible.

Can they be recycled?

Yes, paper can be recycled. And the people of the U.S. are becoming more and more accustomed to doing so, with over 56% of all paper being recycled in 2007 and a goal being set for 60% by 2012. Since 1994, more paper has been recycled than has gone into landfill. But none of us should become complacent even though these figures are very good. There is always more each of us can do to ensure that we always recycle paper, and don’t just toss it in the trash.

All towns and cities offer paper recycling facilities. If you are unsure of the closest to where you live, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code for options close to your address.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

One thing we should all do with the paper we use is to make sure we have made as much use out of it as possible before it goes into the recycling bin. For example, unwanted paper printouts can be turned over and the blank side used as scrap paper. If you have animals, think about shredding your scrap paper and using this as bedding; perfect for small household pets like gerbils and hamsters, or can even be used to bed chickens.

Consider printing with smaller margins. This means you get more words per page and therefore use less paper. If you have a log fire, then why not buy a paper brick maker to compress old newspapers into ‘logs’ of an ideal size for burning.

When paper is recycled, it is used to create more paper. Most of the paper mills in the U.S. all use a substantial amount of recycled paper to create new paper, and around 140 use only recycled paper. There is also substantial demand from overseas for scrap paper.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

The benefits of recycling paper far outweigh that of the recycling process. Indeed, by recycling the paper mills cut down on much of their greenhouse gas emissions, and also have need of less virgin wood. This means fewer trees are cut down and therefore less carbon is released into the atmosphere. Recycling paper also saves on the use of a huge amount of landfill area.

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If modern day society leaves anything for future life-forms to remember us by, it will probably be the humble plastic bag!  Although plastic bags are today made from around 70% less plastic than those of 20 years ago, most are still composed of a plastic called polyethylene.  This plastic is does not degrade and takes hundreds of years to break down.

Can they be recycled?

Yes, most definitely and it’s something we should all make an effort to do.  Many of the large stores now offer recycling bins where you can put your old bags.

Many stores now don’t give out plastic bags anymore, or if they do they make a charge for them.  This has been common practice in various European countries for many years now, where it is the normal to have to take your own bags to the store to carry your purchases.  Many stores sell re-usable bags, or what is commonly known as ‘a bag for life.’  These are made from re-cycled materials such as canvas or material and often have a funky slogan on the outside to show that you are doing your bit for the planet.

All towns and cities have recycling centers where you can take plastic bags.  If you are unsure about where your local recycling center is, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code to find the nearest to you.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

When plastic bags are recycled they are broken down to a substance called composite lumber.  This substance is made up of a roughly 50:50 mix of both plastic bags and sawdust.  Composite lumber is then used to make a variety of products; from door and window frames and outdoor decking are just some possibilities.

When it comes to reusing old plastic bags there are many ways which you can do this; use them as trash can liners or poop scoops for animal waste.  Or you could donate them to animal shelters that will be glad of as many as you can give for the same purpose.  There are plenty of ways that you can give your plastic bags multiple outings without just tossing them in the trash.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

Of course, resources are used to recycle the bags, but this is offset in many ways.  Firstly, because the by-product is put to good use, and secondly, because placing plastic bags in landfill not only means the plastic hangs around for hundreds of years, but it also breaks down into small toxic pieces.  These then leech poison into the surrounding soil and even into the water system.  If every American were to make the effort to recycle or re-use their plastic bags, or better still, not use them at all, it would make a huge difference to the fate of the environment.

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Plastic bottles are a huge problem in 21st century America. For example, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp, in 1976, the average U.S. citizen drank just 1.6 gallons of bottled water. By 2006 this had leapt to a massive 28.3 gallons and it’s rising still. And it’s not just plastic water bottles; any beverage, be it Coke, Juice, various oils for use in automobiles, there’s a million and one products which come in plastic bottles. Plastic lids, yogurt tubs, shampoo bottles and other cosmetic containers all come under the title of ‘plastic bottles.’

Can they be recycled?

Many types of plastic bottles can be recycled, but sadly only around 27% of them actually are. Back in 1988, a system was introduced whereby plastics were marked with a code so that it was easy for the consumer to see if the product was suitable to be recycled. However, although this code may be easy for those involved in the plastics industry to understand, it is not clear to the every-day consumer. The various plastic bottles and packaging are referred to as PET – which is short for polyethylene terephthalate, the plastic resin used to make the bottles.

All towns and cities have recycling centers where you can take plastic bottles, and this is probably the best place to get rid of them. If you are unsure about where your local recycling center is, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code to find the nearest to you.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

Plastic bottles (PET) are generally recycled into fibers which are then used in the production of carpets and textiles. The recycling of plastic bottles in the U.S. has the capacity to be used to a far greater extent; in fact demand is higher than the amount currently produced.

It is very possible that in the future recycled plastic bottles will also be used to make waterproof products such as shipping containers or even fleece clothing.

There have been many health scares recently about the danger of re-using plastic water bottles or placing them in the freezer. There is growing medical evidence to support a very slight risk to health by re-using bottles for beverages, and they are only intended for single use. However, there is no risk of placing them in the freezer.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

Yes, it uses up energy to recycle plastics, but the main problem is that plastic used for bottles and other packaging is made from non-renewable sources. Most are made from natural gas – the same as the gas used in your home for heating and cooking. The biggest thing all of us can do is to cut down on our use of plastic bottles, although this is very hard to do, seeing as most products come packaged this way.

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In the past, scrap tires always went into landfill. In the year of 2003 alone, 290 million tires were disposed of this way, taking up an enormous amount of resources and causing the U.S. government great concern. Thankfully, markets now exist for over 80% of these scrap tires, therefore taking a lot of the pressure off the landfill sites.

Can they be recycled?

Most definitely, and should always be done so. When tires end up being dumped or going to landfill they proved a wonderful breeding ground for insects such as mosquitoes. The shape of them is perfect; holding a small amount of water inside which is shaded from the sun to prevent too much evaporation. They also provide perfect homes for rodents. So along with being unsightly, scrap tires can present a significant risk to human health as well if not disposed of in the correct manner.

What are the possibilities for the recycled material?

Tires can be recycled into a multitude of different things. Very many tires are re-treaded and put back into use. Others are used as fuel, or can be converted into rubber and rubber used in asphalt. Still more are used in the agricultural industry and engineering projects, and a lot are exported to other countries.

48 states have laws and regulations in regards to the scrapping of tires. Some encourage members of the public to dispose of tires in the correct manner by having free of charge drop off points, or even tire amnesty days. But it is very likely that when you recycle a tire that you may have to pay a small amount towards the cost.

When you take your car or vehicle to have its tires changed, it is very common that the cost of the new tires will include a charge for disposing of the old ones. This is not an optional charge and is something that everyone has to pay.

One of the big markets for recycled tires is rubberized asphalt which is found in many children’s play areas. This surface helps take the impact out of falls, which are inevitable as children play on playground items.

But what about the resources used in the recycling process?

Recycling tires is essential if we are not to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount used every year. Because practically every aspect of a tire can be recycled, this outweighs the resources used in the recycling process. Although it is expensive in monetary terms to recycle tires, in environmental terms the recycling of tires is priceless.

If you are unsure of a tire recycling facility close to where you live, visit www.earth911.com and enter your zip code to find options close to your address.

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