Recycling Time! Turning Bottles and Cans Into CASH!

Recycling Time! Turning Bottles and Cans Into CASH!

About once each quarter our collection of used beer bottles and soda cans grows to the point where we’ve got enough to drag them down to the recycler. I feel good knowing the “garbage” will be gone and some cold hard cash will take it’s place. After looking at our “inventory” I decided today was as good as any and loaded up the truck.

restart giving recycles bottles and cans for cash
restart giving recycles bottles and cans for cash

Usually this means we’ve got at least two garbage cans full of plastic bottles and at least one garbage can worth of aluminum cans. There’s always a small amount of glass that I’ll take as well. If you’ve done any recycling, you know that the glass really is a PITA! It’s really heavy and you get almost no cash for what you bring in. But it all goes back to doing our part to make the world a little better by not just throwing this glass into the “garbage” pile.

Recycling In 2018

There aren’t as many places to take recycled cans and bottle as there were a year ago. An outfit called 20/20 Recycling used to have locations setup at various shopping centers located no more than 2-3 miles apart. In late 2017, likely because of the slow down in China buying recycled products, most, if not all of the 20/20 Recycling locations closed.

So where to go? In Silicon Valley / San Jose the most popular recycling center is Ranch Town Recycling, located in Willow Glen. By the looks of the place it seems a bit seedy. But once you pull in the workers are always very helpful and offer to help move your “inventory” to each of the various drop off spots (plastic, aluminum, glass, etc…) Before 20/20 Recycling closed I was always hesitant to drive to Ranch Town – it’s about 5 miles from our home and since I use the large Ford Expedition, there is some loss due to the amount of gas needed to transport the recycled product. The good news is that Ranch Town Recycling pays significantly *MORE* than 20/20 Recycling did, so any added fuel cost is offset by the addition recycling income. In the end I normally net between $25-$35 per load, which means I’ve got enough cash for one more Kiva loan!

Cashing In Today

bottle and can recyling income
  • Passive – doesn’t require much work other than saving containers or picking them up off the ground.
  • Good for the environment – reuses resources and cleans up our open space.
  • Persistent – even with China reducing their recycling efforts, there will always be a market for recycled products.

On today’s trip I netted $27.56 – not a bad haul at all. I like recycling for a few reasons:

Hard – Core Hustle

I’m always impressed by some of the scrappers and dumpster divers that I see on various YouTube channels. One YouTuber in particular, Thub a recycler from Calgary Canada makes between $50 and $100 per day! That is some serious hustle. Like I said previously, recycling to me is mostly passive, although I’m often grabbing a can or bottle off the ground when walking through parking lots.

Here’s something to think about. Pick up one bottle or can each day – at $.05 per item, in one year you’ll have picked up over $15 off the ground! Pretty easy money *AND* you’ll be making your neighborhood a better and cleaner place! Remember, side-hustles are all around you. You just have to open your eyes and see what other’s aren’t seeing or aren’t willing to do to make a couple extra bucks.

Until next time!



  1. Thanks for stopping by!

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