Turn trash into treasure: how your used packaging could be worth a mint online 

Kara Gammell
Finances expert
minute read
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Last Updated 3 MARCH 2022

It might shock you what people will buy on eBay these days. Did you know that you could sell your empty candle jars and perfume bottles and might make serious cash? 

A quick look at sold listings shows that you can get as much as £33 for an empty Diptyque jar, while an empty Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia hand wash bottle went for £14.50. 

Empty glass candle jars 

Do you ever feel like buying an expensive candle is simply burning your hard-earned cash? Well, candle lovers, you can relax. You can sell those empty jars and get some of your money back when it has long gone.

From £10 for a glass candle jar from The White Company, to £36 for a bundle of a Jo Malone candle jar with boxes and bag, there’s more than a penny to be made from your empties. 

A box of 200 empty toilet roll tubes even sold for £12.99 on eBay 

Empty jewellery boxes 

If you have a designer-brand jewellery box going spare you could be quids in if you list it on an auction site. For instance, an iconic red Cartier necklace box has sold for £30 in April, while a duck-egg blue Tiffany ring box with an outer box went for £38 

That’s a lot of money for an empty box! 

Empty packaging 

Empty boxes of high-end cosmetics sell for more than you’d think. 

A job lot of empty Chanel boxes and jars has sold for £19.99 with postage, for instance. 

Empty shoe boxes 

If you have a soft spot for swish shoes, why not sell the boxes and score some extra cash?  An empty Christian Louboutin shoebox has sold for £26, for example, while, a Balenciaga empty shoe box and dust bag went for £27.30. 

Empty toilet paper rolls 

If there’s one thing that most households have going spare, it’s loo rolls. 

Rather than chucking your empty cardboard tubes into the recycling, collect them to sell. Crafters and teachers go crazy for them: a box of 200 tubes has sold for an impressive £12.99. 

Bear in mind that you’ll need to ship them in a box to avoid them being crushed, but, thanks to their light weight, it won’t be too costly. 

there are millions of items for sale on eBay, so make your item stand out 

How to sell on eBay 

Remember, there are millions of items for sale on eBay at any one time, so you need to do your best to make your item stand out. 

  1. A picture really does paint a thousand words so always include a clear digital photo of your item. Buyers like to see what they are getting and the better quality the photo the more likely you are to make a sale. Try to make sure it displays all the features and highlights any flaws.
  2. Get the timing right and aim to have your auctions end on a Sunday night. This is when there is the biggest number of buyers browsing.
  3. To maximise the number of potential bidders, write a descriptive title using all relevant keywords to describe your item, such as brand, age and condition. Honesty is definitely the best policy here. If you withhold information or falsely advertise you may run into major problems later.
  4. Make sure you price the postage correctly, or you could end up out of pocket. The Royal Mail Price Finder is a handy online tool which will tell you how much you’ll have to fork out for postage. You can then add this to the listing. Bear in mind that some buyers are put off by expensive postage fees, so it can be worth adding the cost into the price of the product itself to keep the postage figure down.
  5. Do your research: use the eBay advanced search tool to discover how much similar items have been selling for lately. Just search for whatever it is you want to sell and tick the “completed listing” box to see similar items and get a better idea of what to charge. 

3 things to do right now...

Take a moment to think about what empty packaging you may have lying around the house and then search eBay’s sold listings to see the final bids on similar items. To do this, click on the left-hand grey bar and tick to see sold listings only. 

If you’ve never sold on eBay before, it’s worth completing several purchases prior to listing an item to build up your feedback rating. Few buyers will do business with sellers without reviews. 

Pop a reminder in your phone to gather up items around the house. Don’t let your busy life get in the way of turning your trash into 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.