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Recycling creates jobs while reducing the need to extract natural resources. Eight jobs, related to the manufacturing of recovered material are created for every one job in recycling collection, according to the Stanford Recycling Center.

When raw materials are collected, whether they consist of trees from a forest or minerals mined from underground, they must be converted into a form that is acceptable for use in manufacturing products. When we recycle manufactured materials, we are reducing the need to collect and convert raw materials before they can be used. Recycling saves everyone money in the long run by allowing the business of manufacturing goods to become more efficient and by reducing the amount of waste transported to landfills, which extends the life of existing landfills and reduces the need to construct new ones.

Recycling can put cash in your pocket, and your recycling options are not limited to what your local trash hauler is willing to collect from your curbside.

Paper, aluminum foil, old cookware, damaged car rims, appliances such as toasters and vacuum cleaners, the tabs from soda cans, metal patio furniture, old water heaters and air conditioning window units are just some of the items that you can receive cash for, either by the pound or per item, from local scrap metal yards and privately owned recycling centers.

If you have a large maple, oak, walnut, basswood, cherry, beech, elm or poplar tree that needs to be removed, you may be able to avoid the cost and hassle of removing and disposing of it by selling your tree to a standing timber buyer.

Even items such as candy bar wrappers and juice boxes have a price tag on them, if you send them to a company that reuses them such as TerraCycle (www.terracycle.net).

Maximizing How You Recycle
1. Have those trips to the store resulted in collecting some plastic bags? Instead of throwing them in the trash, drop the plastic bags in a collection bin (found in the entrance of most Meijer or Walmart stores) or give them away to one of the vendors at a nearby farmers market; most will gladly reuse the bags.

2. Get kids hooked on recycling by giving them a container, such as an empty milk jug, to fill with pieces of used (and washed) aluminum foil and aluminum tabs pulled off of soda cans. When full, sell the aluminum to a nearby scrap metal buyer and add the money to the child’s savings account or donate it to charity of their choice.

3. Do you live in an apartment or community that doesn’t have a paper recycling service? Turn this into an opportunity to make some extra money while reducing the amount of solid waste headed to the landfill! Let your neighbors know you’ll recycle their newspapers, junk mail and office paper for them, and set-up a spot where they can drop-off these items for you to collect. When you’ve accumulated as much paper as you can fit in your car in one trip, take it to the nearest recycling center that buys paper by the pound. Doing this won’t make you the next millionaire, but you can earn extra gas money!

Recycling Resources

  • Eagle Valley Recycle & Disposal Facility, Orion, 248-391-0990
  • Royal Oak Recycling, Royal Oak and White Lake, RoyalOakRecycling.com, 248-387-5555 or 248-541-4020
  • RRRASOC, Southfield, Rrrasoc.org, 248-208-2270
    SOCRRA, Troy, Socrra.org, 248-288-5150

To search for recycling drop-off locations near you visit Earth911.com.