How Much Money Do You Get for Recycling Aluminum Cans in 2021?

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At Survey Clarity, we’re all about giving you some ideas to help you make money, whether it’s a side gig or a full-time income.

The focus of this post is how to make money collecting cans.

Like some other methods we talk about on this site, getting money from aluminum cans probably isn’t going to turn into a massive income stream for you.

But, combined with other unique ways to earn cash, it could be just another tool for you to build your income or make a little extra spending money each month.

And, if you happen to live in a state with a bottle bill, then you can potentially earn even more from this simple gig.

This legit opportunity is at least one to consider if you need a little more cash in your pocket for spending or saving each week or month.

Aluminum Can Recycling: How Does It Work?

You know that you can recycle a bunch of different materials, like glass, cardboard, and aluminum.

But did you know that you can sometimes get paid to recycle, too?

It’s not just good for the environment; it can also be good for your wallet.

No, recycling stuff probably won’t pay your rent or car bill, but it definitely can line your pockets with an extra chunk of change just for turning items in to recycle.

Aluminum cans can pay some decent prices depending on where you live and how much your recycling center will pay for them.

And the bonus of aluminum cans is that a lot of people use them, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find ones to recycle!

Why Recycle Aluminum Cans?

Aluminum is one of the most common materials to find.

From soft drinks to beer, there are tons of beverages manufactured every single day in aluminum cans.

But aside from the monetary benefits of recycling aluminum, the process also has some big perks for the environment.

Aluminum is 100% recyclable.

That means that the whole can you turn in can be recycled into another aluminum object.

According to The Aluminum Association, the simple act of recycling aluminum can save as much as 90% of the energy required to make new aluminum.

That’s super good news for the Earth, right?

Recycling aluminum is also a super easy process.

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You just gather aluminum cans and turn them into a recycling center or someone who might do their own recycling.

Some centers will even pay you for your good deed, so it could be worth looking into.

How Much Money Do You Get for Recycling Aluminum Cans?

The amount you get for recycling aluminum cans depends on where you live, whether there’s a bottle bill in your state (more on that in a moment) and whether your recycling centers choose to pay you for recycling.

Sometimes, you can recycle aluminum cans to make money per pound.

On average, you might expect to make between 10 and 25 cents per pound of aluminum you turn in.

With it taking about 24 cans of aluminum to reach one pound, that equals approximately $0.004 to $0.01 per can.

It’s not much, but think about how that adds up when you have a lot of cans to get off your hands.

If you regularly collect cans and have a good system in place for collection, it could add up quick.

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Bottle Bills and How It Applies to You

Now, if you live in a state with a bottle bill, you could end up with a lot more money than you would in states without a bottle bill.

A bottle bill is basically a reward for recycling.

When you live in a state with a bottle bill, you pay a deposit on each object you buy that’s eligible for the deposit, ranging up to 15 cents.

When you recycle those materials (glass, some metals, and aluminum), though, you get your deposit back.

Those payments go as high as the deposits you pay, up to 15 cents, with the highest prices usually reserved for wine and liquor bottles that use more materials.

On average, you can expect to get back between 5 and 10 cents for each can you recycle in a bottle bill state.

Those states and territories include:

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

So, if you collect 200 cans in a state without a bottle bill, you could make up to $2.

If you collect the same number of cans in a state with a bottle bill, you’ll get $20 instead.

See the difference?

The only downfall is that you’re not allowed to bring cans from a state without a bottle bill into a state with a bottle bill because you didn’t pay the deposit in your non-bottle-bill state.

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Those cans are only eligible for the refund when they were purchased in a bottle bill state.

What to Know Before Recycling

How can you prepare your aluminum cans for recycling?

This is good information to know because you want to make sure you’re getting all the money you can from your cans without any of them being disqualified.

First, make sure you clean out the cans.

All it takes is a quick rinse to get out any remaining liquid in the can to prepare them for recycling.

Then, you can crush the cans.

This part isn’t usually necessary, but it does help save you room when you’re trying to collect a bunch of cans.

Then, gather them all up into large black trash bags and bring them into the recycling center of your choice.

Where to Sell Aluminum Cans for Cash Near Me

The easiest way to sell aluminum cans is to bring them to a recycling center in your area if you have one.

You might even have multiple centers, so call around to see which ones might pay you and offer the best price for your cans.

Here are a few ways to find centers and people who might pay for your cans:

iScrapp

The iScrapp app is simple to use to find recycling centers near you.

The app won’t just locate a recycling center in your area.

It’ll also let you know what kind of materials the center takes and how much you can earn, if applicable, for the materials you turn in.

Earth911

Earth911 is a website that works similar to iScrapp to help you find recycling centers in your area.

If you can’t find anything with iScrapp, try Earth911.

There are also helpful articles on here that let you know everything you need to know about recycling and how to make the most out of each recycling trip.

RecyclingCenters.org

This is another helpful website to find out more information about recycling aluminum and other materials and locate recycling centers in your area.

Craigslist or Facebook

People on Facebook or Craigslist might be looking to gather aluminum cans just like you are.

So, it’s possible to find others who are willing to pay a little to get those cans that they can then turn into a recycling center themselves.

If you’re looking for a quick way to get rid of the cans you collect and still make a little money, this could be the right option for you.

Crafters

People who make crafts with aluminum might want to buy your cans from you.

Just another option to consider if you can’t find paying recycling centers in your area.

You can put up listings on eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, and other online marketplaces to find people in your area who craft with aluminum.

Where to Find Aluminum Cans to Build Your Business

If you want to take aluminum can recycling to the next level to really ramp up your earnings, then you’ll need to know a few places where you can collect a lot of cans that will make you a profit.

Consider getting a pickup truck or van if you don’t have one yet, as it’ll make the process of collecting cans a bit easier.

You should also come up with a schedule for collections once you find some places to collect from.

Here are some options to consider:

Gather What You Have

First, hang onto all those cans that you and your family use!

They may not net you as many cans as you’ll get from other places, but it all adds up eventually.

Have a bin set up in the basement or on your patio to keep them stored and out of the way.

Ask Friends and Families

Next, ask your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else you have close ties to see if they’ll let you pick up their cans for them on a regular basis.

Since you’ll be doing it for free (or even if you charge a little), the convenience and affordability could be worth it to them.

Ask that they rinse their cans, crush them, and bundle them up to save you some time with the collection and recycling process.

Schools

Some schools have aluminum can recycling, so they can also be a good place to try to collect more cans to boost your recycling business.

Ask the principal or the local school district administrator to see if you can become the go-to person for aluminum can recycling.

Businesses

There are probably several businesses in your area that recycle aluminum cans and other recyclables for a fee for the service.

However, you can swoop in and see if they’d rather you do it for a smaller fee.

Go around to all the places that accept once or twice a week, and you’ll probably end up with a very consistent schedule of aluminum cans to recycle for profit.

Parks

Public parks can be a treasure trove for recyclables, especially if your town has recyclable bins, all ready to go in all the parks.

Ask the local parks management department if you can take over collection of aluminum cans.

Be ready to offer a better rate for your service than what they’re already being charged to make the deal almost irresistible.

Your Work

Your place of employment might also participate in recycling, so ask your boss if you can be the one to take care of the aluminum cans.

Local Events

Local events, like concerts, craft fairs, flea markets, and sporting events, usually accumulate a lot of trash and recyclables.

If any events are coming to your area, ask city officials if you can set up aluminum can recycling bins at the events.

Make sure you place several of them to accommodate the amount of people who will be at the event and be quick about collecting your bins afterwards.

Making Money with Aluminum Can Recycling

Now you know how to get started with paid aluminum can recycling today.

This method of making money isn’t guaranteed, and it will definitely take some time to perfect.

Plus, how much you make depends on your location, so this really could be a better option for people in bottle bill states to take advantage of.

If you’re dedicated to collecting cans and have a solid schedule of pickup spots to collect from, then you could turn this into a great gig.

Good luck!

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