on making money via recycling

by ydna-zds

We make about 80-100 gallons of chips per week (of assorted density). I used to recycle them, but I don't do it anymore because the money I get back is so low that the whole activity is just a waste. You definitely get cash back but you should figure out if it's worth your time depending on the specific material and whatnot.

For aluminum chunks we get 60-70 cents per pound, which is nice and you can fetch some cool cash if you end up with a lot of "drops", but the price for tiny chips and shavings is DRASTICALLY less, more like 5-15 cents depending on your particular local recycling company. It also depends on personally who is receiving the recycling, since sometimes they won't even give us anything if the chips are mixed with other materials beyond a certain noticeable percentage, or if they're especially dirty. Ultimately it's up to the person across the counter, which sucks. For the mix stuff they will take it as recycling but give me exactly $0.00 for it.

So what we do is throw the chips into drums, load them onto a truck, then haul them across town to the place that actually accepts chips rather than chunks. Ultimately the entire truckload is worth like 10 bucks, maybe a little more, depending on how tightly-packed the chips are stored (since some chips are more fluffy than others, much lighter) and how many drops are included on the side.
The problem becomes obvious - when all is said and done, it takes like an hour to load the stuff, bring it out to the recycling yard, and come back. All that horsing around to make 10 bucks? happy.gif

I'm being kinda facetious, since I'm not going to trash the stuff, but still it's absolutely not worthwhile cost-wise. We considered renting a boxtruck to haul more material at once, but it's too expensive. We also arranged a pickup with a roving scrapper business once, but that was a similar story since they charged more than the material was worth.

So what I do now is just give the scrap to some local kids for free, and let them do it. They bring back my drums but they can just keep whatever comes out of it. They just get the stuff out of my sight and I don't have to screw around with it, I don't have to pay someone else, and I don't have to bother with it myself. Problem solved (lol)

That said, I suspect it's heavily dependent on the location since you could get more cash back if you cut out the middleman(s), and their specific testing process for the purity may be different. So as always your mileage may vary, but there's my story!

Posted on Jul 10, 2017, 7:22 PM

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  1. Plastics Anyone?. Tim, Jul 11, 2017

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