If you're looking to make some extra money, and help the environment at the same time, consider recycling plastic bottles for money. If you're able to collect many of them, you can expect a profitable return on your time collecting them. Not only will you have change in your pocket, but you'll save plastic bottles from ending up in a landfill site, when they could have made into something new. Some states, like California, have this type of program in place. Others, like New Jersey, do not.


Not all states have plastic bottle recycling programs. Check your state's website to find out if yours does.

1. Gather the Bottles


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Gather plastic bottles and place them in a large holding container. Obviously, the more plastic bottles you collect, the more money you will make. Look not only around your house, but around your neighborhood, your nearby park, abandoned and even along the roadside. Check out places where people who drink from plastic bottles would frequent, like an outdoor fair, outside a fitness center or at a concert. You may want to wear gloves when out finding bottles to protect your hands from germs and garbage.

2. Store the Bottles Outside


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Keep the bottles in an outdoor location, as you may attract pests from the residual contents of some of the bottles. Plastic bottles do not need to be clean in order to recycle them, so keep them in a backyard or on a deck to avoid attracting pests into your home.

3. Find a Local Recycling Center


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Use the earth911.com website to find a plastic recycling center near you. Enter in your zip code, and earth911.com will tell you all of the recycling centers within a specified radius You'll notice that some are commercial recycling centers, but others are grocery stores and other retails stores.

4. Shop Around for the Best Price


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Call around to the different recycling centers and ask what they pay for recycled plastic bottles. Some centers will calculate per pound, while some will go off of the notations on the plastic bottles that have a monetary value specified for recycling purposes. Choose the recycling center that pays the best per pound, as not all of your bottles (or all locales) will have a per-bottle value, and you want to be paid for all of them.

5. Bring your Bottles to be Recycled


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Bring your container of plastic bottles to the recycling center and have them weighed. The employees will give you a tally and give you the money that you've earned. You'll need quite a few bottles to make a large amount of money, as plastic bottles are very light. But you can repeat this process as long as you can continue finding bottles.

Things You Will Need
  • Large container

  • Garden gloves