Recycle household trashBecoming a mom really does change you. I pay more attention to the products I eat and put on my body, and what I do with these products when the containers are empty. There are ways to earn cash for waste you can’t recycle at the curb.When you have a family, there is so much waste in your home. In Kansas City, waste is top of mind because we have a two trash bag limit. If you have more trash, you have to pay for the extra bag. It makes me think before I throw something away.

From the kitchen to the bathroom, we throw away dozens of plastic containers. While curbside recycling programs keep these items out of the landfill, you can’t recycle everything at the curb. Electronics, printer cartridges, and hair products are just some of the items you can recycle and earn cash.


recycle batteriesIf you have a child, you go through lots of batteries. We are replacing the batteries on my daughter’s music machine in her crib every other week. We recently switched to rechargeable batteries because it’s such a waste.

The battery replacement raises my blood pressure, but the ocean waves those batteries power bring calm to my daughter’s crib. Now that we invested in rechargeable batteries, and it is an investment, replacement is not as bothersome.

Most community recycling programs have household hazardous waste programs to recycle trash you can’t put at the curb. This includes bulky items, paint, and batteries.

Check with your municipality, because they may even have a bulky trash pickup day once or twice a year specifically targeting these products. That will save you a trip to the household hazardous waste location.

While Duracell says you can throw alkaline batteries in the trash, you need to proceed with caution. If you throw away groups of batteries, there is a risk. They may have some power left in them, and throwing them out together can create a safety risk.

Duracell says it removed mercury from batteries making it safe to throw them away. They say the batteries have common metals like steel zinc, and manganese and don’t pose a health or environmental risk. Still, do you want them sitting and filling up a landfill when those metals can be reused?

Also, in California it’s illegal to throw any type of battery in the trash.

Home Depot, Lowes, and Batteries Plus offer Call2Recycle, which accepts rechargeable batteries and cell phones.

Since the program started in 2001, Home Depot has recycled over 3 million pounds of batteries.

These batteries include the rechargeable ones you use in toys or other electronics, power tools, two-way radios, digital cameras, camcorders, phones, cell phones, and laptops. There are collection boxes in the store.

The batteries are shipped to a facility where they are melted, and the metals are used to make new products. Search by zip code to find the closest Call2Recycle box near you.


As more people shop online, more boxes are filling our landfills, Most curbside recycling programs accept boxes.

You can also use your old box to donate to a worthy cause. Give Back Box partners with Overstock, Amazon, Newegg, and several other retailers allowing you to fill a box with clothing and household goods you no longer want. It’s a win-win. Get rid of your old boxes and donate unwanted clothing and household goods to a charity in need.

You go online and fill out a free shipping label. The organization will find a partner charity near you to ship the items you’re donating. There is one catch. Electronics can be donated through the Give Back Box.

You can also make money selling old boxes. People always need boxes when they are moving. The most lucrative boxes are the big ones, rather than the small ones that typically contain Amazon shipments.

People are always moving, so there’s always a need for used boxes.

It’s expensive to move your items, so people are always looking to cut moving costs. Buying used boxes is one way to save money on a move.

Post used boxes them for free on the Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. You can also sell them for a nominal price. It’s best to save the boxes, and sell them in bulk for a flat rate.

You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to pay for quality, used boxes.

You can also buy and sell used boxes on Boxcycle. It’s a great way to give new life to a used box.

Light bulbs

recycle light bulb CFLAs the light bulbs in our homes change to more efficient ones like compact fluorescent light bulbs, it’s even more important to recycle. CFL’s have trace amounts of mercury in them which we want to keep out of the landfill.

The glass and metal in the lightbulb is recycled.

Lowes and Home Depot both accept CFL bulbs. Also, check with your community’s household hazard waste facility.

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Hair products

recycling hair productsIn 2012, the online beauty products site, Folica, offered customers a $40 credit if they recycled an old hair dryer or flat iron / straightener. It was a great way to get bulky hair products items out of the trash and into the recycling bin.

It was popular, as there is a need for recycling hair dryers and flat irons. The offer is no longer available, forcing women to find new ways to clean out their bathroom cabinets.

I have a drawer full of old hair products like straighteners. Some work, and others you have to get creative with by jiggling the cord to keep it on. I hate throwing these products in the trash, but what else can I do with them?

Unfortunately, there is not a specific program targeting hair dryers anymore. You can always recycle them on bulky item pickup day.

There are products to recycle other types of hair products and makeup.

TerraCycle and Garnier partnered to recycle old hair product bottles like shampoo or conditioner. They also accept personal care products like lipstick, and eye shadow cases.

You ship the item back to TerraCycle, and earn points. The rewards are redeemed for charitable gifts, products, or for cash to a school or non-profit of your choice. The program is currently closed to new participants but check back for more details as slots open up.

MAC and Origins offer recycling programs for makeup. The Back to MAC Program accepts old or used MAC products. For every 6 containers you recycle, you get a free MAC lipstick.

Origins recycles empty cosmetic products from any brand.

Earn recycling rewards

Of course, it’s a good idea to recycle more basic items as well through your city or county recycling program.

Sites like Recyclebank also make it easy to earn points and rewards / coupons for recycling items your local refuse department may not take.  Recyclebank takes everything from #5 plastic containers to Ziploc bags.

There’s also Freecycle. As the name connotes, it’s free so you won’t earn cash but it’s a good way to keep your trash out of the trash.

What items do you have sitting around your house that you need to recycle? Comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.