Get paid to recycle 

Kara Gammell
Finances expert
minute read
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Posted 27 October 2021

Getting paid to recycle may seem too good to be true, but you’d be surprised what you might earn from doing your bit for the environment. Here are some items that you can cash in on simply by clearing out your cupboards


Do your kids outgrow their shoes at a rate of knots? Then why not recycle them and earn money off their next pair? 

Head to  Schuh  with a pair of shoes from any brand to exchange for £5-off on a £25 spend voucher, valid on full-price shoes either in-store or online. You'll get one voucher per pair of shoes you take to be recycled. 

And it’s not just your little one’s footwear that can earn you cash, adults can take unwanted shoes in for the same voucher. 

Customers handing in a pair of unwanted or outgrown shoes to any Schuh store will receive a £5 voucher for each pair they donate 

Marks & Spencer 

Did you know that there are around 114,000 garments discarded in the UK every hour? Oxfam has teamed up with M&S to encourage recycling your unwanted clothes. 

If you have piles of unworn clothing clogging up your wardrobe, take them down to an Oxfam shop for a £5 M&S voucher off a £35 spend. 

Bear in mind that your donation must include at least one item of M&S-labelled clothing, including shoes, handbags, belts, hats and scarves. 

However, swimwear, underwear, socks or damaged or dirty items will not count, and the voucher is redeemable only during the calendar month stated on the voucher. 

Hair Straighteners 

Straighteners stopped working? Well, don’t throw those into the rubbish bin, you could get paid to “recycle” them and earn some cash towards a new pair. Some websites will pay as much as £10 for a broken set. 

All you do is then package up your straighteners with the forms found online. 

Most websites recommend sending them by a recorded delivery service, and the good news is that there's no need to send the box/manuals, which should save on postage costs. 

MAC make up 

If you're a fan of MAC makeup, save your empty packaging as you could use them to get your hands on a freebie. 

All you have to do is take back six empty, full-sized MAC products that are made of plastic or glass into a MAC counter or store, and you'll receive a free MAC lipstick (excludes Viva Glam Lipstick and Limited Edition Lipstick) of your choice as a thank you. 


Skincare legends Kiehl's have relaunched their Recycle & Be Rewarded scheme. You can get your hands on a loyalty card, and every time you recycle products, you'll earn discounts on the Kiehl's products you already love and use. 


If you bring five empty products to one of Boots’ in-store recycle bins, the retailer will give you 250 Boots Advantage Card points when you spend £10 or more – that’s worth £2.50. 

You can also use their app to track how many empties you bring back so you can see the positive impact you’re making on the planet. 

It's really easy to take part, simply register here and follow the steps below to get recycling and collect your rewards. 

At Boots, you can also use their app to track the positive impact you’re making to the planet 

Ink cartridges 

While those with computers can recycle empty ink cartridges, if you’re a Tesco Clubcard member you can earn up to 125 Green Clubcard points per cartridge at Tesco. 
Alternatively, you can donate up to £1.25 to Cancer Research, Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation. 
Note that you can only recycle up to 100 inkjet cartridges per calendar year, per household. 


3 things to do right now...

Increase your earnings by collecting unwanted items from friends and family and donating in bulk. If your mum was only going to chuck the empty bottle out, you might as well keep it from landfill and recycle it for cash, guilt free. 

Set yourself up right. If you want to get paid to recycle, make sure that you keep the bits that could earn you money in a separate container to your household collection. 

If your wardrobe is fit to burst why not have an in-depth audit of your clothes? Put all your clothing hangers backwards in your closet and then after you wear them hang them back the right way. After a few months, clear out the clothing items that are still hanging backwards because you haven’t worn them and recycle them for cash. 

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Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.