How Does Recycling Save Money

Kathleen Esposito
Recycled art

Sure recycling is good for the environment and in tune with the current green movement, but the more important issue for many families is how does recycling save money? The answer is fairly simple. If someone reuses items he or she already owns, this leads to buying less, hence strengthening the pocketbook.

Traditional Recycling

When most people think of recycling, they think of putting their plastic bottles and cans into a separate bin from their trash. It's possible to save some money this way if there's a recycling center nearby that pays per bag, or in states that have bottle and can deposit laws. However, it will probably amount to mere pennies a week for anyone who doesn't own a restaurant or vending machine business.

A More Practical Answer To How Does Recycling Save Money?

A much better way to save money by recycling is to stop throwing away things that can easily be reused. This includes clothing, soap, disposable containers, bags and even furniture. Using any of the following techniques can help someone save money since they'll need fewer new items.

Clothing

There are several ways to recycle clothing. These include:

  • Buying used clothing at secondhand stores
  • Keeping older children's clothes and passing it down to younger children
  • Using stained clothing as smocks for painting and auto work
  • Making quilts or rugs out of old t-shirts
  • Creating bags, shorts or skirts out of jeans with rips in the knees

Soap

A great way to recycle those little nubs of soap that get stuck in the bottom of the dish and are pretty much useless is to gather them up and put them in a mesh bag. Once four or five of them join forces, it works just like a loofah, with the lather already included.

Storage Containers

Just because a container is labeled ''disposable'' doesn't mean it has to be thrown away. The table below shows ways to reuse containers.

Container New uses
Glass bottle Candle holder, pen and pencil jar, change collector, vase
Coffee can Child's drum or maraca, grease catcher, flower pot, button storage
Milk jug Dog toy, water carrier, hand weight (if filled with pebbles or sand)
Paper grocery bag Hand puppet, wrapping paper, paper mache piñata
Plastic bag Doggie clean up, wet shoe and umbrella holders

Plastic water bottles, resealable bags and disposable forks, knives and spoons can be washed and reused for their original purposes. Hand washing is best since they can melt in the hot dishwasher. Drying racks are available to keep bags from getting sticky or mildewed.

Furniture

New furniture can be a huge expense, even if purchased at discount stores. It's much cheaper to refinish, repaint or recover old sofas, tables and chairs. Just sanding wooden furniture to remove nicks and stains can do wonders. Even getting a piece restored professionally can sometimes be cheaper than purchasing a similar one brand new.

Organic Waste

Composting is the act of recycling household food scraps into soil and fertilizer. Most anything organic can be composted, including egg shells, vegetable peelings, yard waste, pet fur and even paper or silk tea bags, plus over 100 more items. Once it's decomposed it can be even better for the garden than traditional topsoil.

Selling and Trading

Recycling doesn't always mean keeping the same old stuff. Sites like Freecycle and eBay make it easy to find new old things. People who frequently search these sites are often surprised at the quality goods they find. Sometimes they even come across hidden gems worth thousands more than they paid for them. Talk about a great way to save money>!

How Does Recycling Save Money