By GalTime Nerd Chick Andrea Eldridge
Go 'green' while making green! Cleaning out the garage is one of those things on my lengthy list of things I should do, but will probably never get around to. Sorting through boxes is just never that compelling. But I've discovered that what typically pushes me to action is a little monetary persuasion.
If I know I've got a book, a gadget, or some old gym equipment in those boxes that can be sold on Craigslist, I'm in there with my iPod on and my sleeves rolled up. In light of Earth Day and the fact that I really need to sort through my stuff and get on with reducing, reusing, and recycling, I found some ways to make some greenbacks by going green. If these don't motivate you to jump in there and tackle your own garage (or barn, or storage shed), I don't know what will.
First stop is www.recyclebank.com, a website that lets you earn points by recycling, participating in contests or surveys from sponsors like UncommonGoods and Kashi, even by watching videos and playing games about recycling and being more eco-conscious. Once you register, points you earn for participating accrue on your account.
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If your community participates, the total amount of recycled material in your area is tallied and converted into Recyclebank points. Those points are then divided among all recyclers in the community. Trade points for coupons, magazine subscriptions, even gift cards from Walmart, Home Depot and more. With over three million members, they're expanding their services so if you don't see a reward that interests you, hang on to your points.
As long as you're active once every twelve months points never expire. Even better, you can donate your points to the school of your choice. Since 2007, the program has granted more than $350,000 to schools across the country.
My home is where electronics go to die. I have cabinets full of gadgets and gizmos that were at some point "necessary" but are now gathering dust. This Earth Day I vow to see what I can turn over to BuyMyTronics , a website that will buy back lightly used electronics. Cell phones, wireless aircards, MP3 players, cameras, eBook Readers, GPS, even game consoles - they have the largest list of eligible electronics I've found.
Sure, I might make a couple more bucks on eBay, but the simplicity of three clicks and an offer will definitely get the stuff off my shelf and into their postage-paid envelope. They take items in any condition, and will recycle stuff that's not sellable. If your item isn't listed, request a custom quote. Don't like the offer? Check out www.gazelle.com(for Apple products and some smartphones) or www.yourenew.com (for handheld electronics, smartphones and laptops) to price compare.
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If you have any old silver oxide button-cell batteries hanging around (think: old watches, LED flashlights, calculators, some small remote controls, thermometers, etc.), you can sell them for cash at http://www.globalbatterybuyers.com/howitworks. They pay by the pound for silver oxide batteries based on the current market price of silver (the element they extract from the batteries). Current prices are about $50 per pound of batteries.
You'd have to gather a lot of those little watch batteries to make that 50 bucks, but you've probably been throwing them away anyway, so why not make a little cash while also keeping hazardous material out of landfills? All you have to do is contact them and they'll send you approved shipping containers for your batteries. Shipping is free for one pound or more of batteries.
Also, although they won't give you money for your lithium and Ni-Cd batteries, they will recycle them for free. So before you throw away the broken plastic cartoon character watch that your 12-year-old got for his third birthday, pop open the back and grab the battery for some financially and environmentally responsible recycling.
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