Turn Your Trash Into Cash

Dana Wilkosz

As February winds down and we head into the home stretch of winter, you may want to get a jump-start on your spring cleaning. But what to do with all that stuff? Here are three companies who will not only recycle your things, they’ll pay you for them!

thredUP

As a parent, you know better than anyone how quickly your child can outgrow his clothes—younger kids rarely get to see their winter sweaters through to the next year. But thredUP makes unloading your child’s gently used clothes easier than ever. Here’s how it works: thredUP sends you an empty bag for you to stuff full of your kid’s outgrown clothes, you mail it back for free (minus a $5 deposit that’s refunded once you return your empty bag), and thredUP will pay you for whatever items meet their criteria for resale. Plus, for every stuffed bag they receive, thredUP makes a cash donation to Coats for Kids.

Recyclebank

Think of all the ways you and your family try to live green everyday—whether you’re recycling, buying eco-friendly products, or just learning about ways to help the environment. Now imagine you could get some kind of credit for all those green actions. You can! With a Recyclebank membership, you can earn Recyclebank Points through activities you do all the time (recycling Kashi cereal boxes for example, will get you 50 points). Then you redeem your points for whatever rewards are being offered on the site, like $2 off Earth Friendly Products, or a $10 iTunes gift card. You can also opt to donate your points to Recyclebank’s Green Schools Program, which will convert your points into cash for a school’s project. It’s an easy way to get your whole family thinking greener (what kid doesn’t love earning points for the things they do?), and score great goodies while you’re at it!

Gazelle

Americans own about 24 electronic items per household, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, and the EPA says that about one to two percent of these items—including TVs, cell phones, and computers—make up the 250 million tons of trash we generate every year. Gazelle offers an easy solution for getting those products off your hands, and keeping them out of landfills. Simply search for the item you’d like to trade in on Gazelle’s website, answer a few questions about its condition, and Gazelle will make you a trade-in offer. You then ship your electronic to Gazelle, they evaluate its condition to confirm the offer, then send you payment, via check, PayPal, or gift card. Or, the cash from your donation can go towards the fundraiser of your choice at Gazelle for Good—a site that allows people to set up their own fundraising drive webpage.

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