Trash to Cash

reduce-reuse-recycleDid you know that some stuff you would normally throw away you can now post on eBay and make some money from? I didn’t either until one day it happened!

I think the fun part of selling on eBay for me is discovering what people are willing to pay to have something and the variety of the ‘somethings’ people want. About three years ago I discovered soda pop caps.

I’m a Mountain Dew addict. Fortunately the caffeine doesn’t affect me. I can’t tolerate the carbonation of most soda  so Mt. Dew with it’s minimal carbinaton has been my drink since high school. I  don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs…my vice is Mt. Dew. It is my drug and I rationalize and indulge myself.

102_0973When I was laid off of my job in 2012 and was home all day, I had my Mt. Dew. For whatever reason when I rinsed out the bottle and tossed it in the recycle bin, I tossed the cap in the silverware holder in the dish drain in my sink. I don’t know why I started doing this, but I did. When that filled up, I moved to a large glass bowl that sat on the desk counter in the kitchen. When that bowl filled up, I got the idea to look on eBay and see if there was a market for soda caps….and there was!

In an undisclosed amount of time I had a mountain of colorful caps; green, yellow, orange and white, determined by whatever contest was going on at that time. I sorted them and counted them and decided on two listings. The first listing was for 300+ that sold for $29.99, the second was 600+ that sold for $39.99 not too much later.  I was convinced this was the easiest $60 I made in a long time. Turns out crafters LOVE these and Pinterest and Esty are full of creative ways to use them.100_4993

I decided to reach out to friends and family and ask them to start saving caps from ANYTHING: milk jugs, spice jars, juice bottles, water, soda, etc. I decided to give anything that had a cap a try. I collected enough to fill my glass bowl and then I counted them and went about creating another listing. This time I had over 450 caps that I listed and sold for $39.99.

ribbonHere’s another recycle tip for you to keep in mind on Christmas Day. Anyone who uses the fancy schmancy ribbons to wrap their gifts, don’t throw them out. My sister turned me onto the fancy ribbon many years ago and we’d scour the after Christmas sales to get the good stuff at rock bottom clearance prices. She wrapped every gift under the tree like a Martha Stewart package and it looked beautiful. On Christmas day she meticulously saved that ribbon and reused it the next year. I’ve been cleaning out her Christmas stuff, listing it over the past few years and this summer I came across her box of ribbons. I thought about us shopping for that nicer, high end stuff and wanted to see if anyone would want ‘recycled ribbon’. I grabbed a box, filled it with a variety of ribbon and listed it on July 11 for $49.99. It sold on December 5th and the buyer has already left great feedback! Looks like I’ll be making another box of recycled ribbon. That’s just free money for very little work and effort.

There are other ‘trash’ items that easily sell on eBay or Etsy. Toilet paper rolls, wool sweaters with holes, Starbucks Frappuccino bottles, Altoids tins, baby food jars, wine corks, wine bottles, prescription bottles, empty brand name boxes, brand name paper shopping bags, various catalogs (too many to list here) etc. If you’ve got an item that you buy all the time and it comes in a nifty container, take a few seconds to do a search on eBay and see if there is any value in that trash, I’ll bet you’d be surprised and what you think is trash and others find are treasures.

The next time you are passing the time scrolling through Pinterest or Etsy, take note of the recycled items used in the cute crafts and start saving those that you use on a regular basis. A few extra bucks in your pocket for little or no effort, why not?

Update 4/10/2017

I had this box of 200 toilet paper rolls listed for a little over a year. I had them listed at $45, but I was running a 10% off sale. They sold today for $40.99. With shipping and fees, my net profit was $25. Not too bad for a box full of “trash”.