Recycling Glass For Money: Is It Profitable & How To Do It

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Glass is a very recyclable material and yet so much of it still ends up in the trash. You may have heard of selling scrap glass as a way to help the planet while making money — but should you get into it? Is it worth it, and how much glass do you need to turn a profit?

The price of glass varies depending on many conditions, but it’s possible to sell it to recycling centers for a profit. You can do this on a small scale, such as by collecting glass from neighbors, or you could start a business and partner with others. However, expensive equipment may be necessary.

Let’s take a closer look at the process of selling glass for money, as well as what glass is actually worth and the pitfalls to avoid if you choose to pursue this line of business.

Can You Make Money Recycling Glass?

Recycle bins

If you have a lot of glass waste in your house or at your business, you’ve probably wondered whether you can make money from recycling the scrap glass. The answer is yes, you can, but before you dive in, there are a few important things you need to know if you want to be successful.

Glass is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet, but not all neighborhood recycling bins accept it. That means people often have to travel to recycle their scrap glass.

Luckily, there are many businesses that need glass and are willing to offer some sort of incentive for those who bring it to them.

How Much Is Glass Worth? 

Glass is usually worth around one cent a pound, which means unless you’re producing masses of waste, you’re not going to make a lot of money.

However, if you have a big business that produces tons of waste or you’re just looking for some extra disposable income, this can bring in a fair amount of cash.

Better yet, you might be looking to go all out and collect other people’s glass, turning it into a steady stream of income.

How to Recycle Glass for Profit

Glass bottle for recycle isolated

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to recycle glass for profit, so that you can figure out if it’s worth it for you.

Locate Buyers

The first thing you need to ensure before you go to any trouble is that you can find glass buyers in your local area. Call your local city or county government offices and check if the officials are willing to buy glass. If not, try local recycling centers.

You can find contact details for these people online, and you may have to go through a few cold calls before you find someone who might be willing to buy glass. Don’t haggle for too high a price; you’ve got to be realistic!

Source Glass

You then need to source the glass itself. The average family or even a small business isn’t throwing away enough glass to make it particularly worthwhile for you.

Instead, you can offer to take other people’s glass — and the goal is to intercept it before it goes to a landfill, where it will never be recycled. There are a few potential ways to do this.

The first option is to collect residents’ glass in neighborhoods. You could talk to a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and offer to provide a service where you pick up glass from others for free, for example. Because many people hate throwing away things that can be recycled, and some counties don’t automatically recycle glass, it’s a win-win.

You could also talk to businesses and offer to take their glass away for free, if they trash it. This part, in general, is going to involve a lot of networking.

Get Equipment and Storage

Hauling around all of that glass is going to take a lot of manpower, and you’ll need to ensure you have plenty of storage. Bins should be secure, especially if they’re outside, because animals could get into them and hurt themselves on broken glass.

You’ll also have to make sure you store the glass by color, as mixed colors can pose problems for those who recycle it later on.

The glass also needs to be clean. There are machines that can do this for you, though it’s quite an investment, so it’s best to check out the other steps and be sure this is the business for you before you go ahead and make any large purchases.

You’ll also need transport for that much glass. Whether you plan to make rounds around the neighborhood or just need to take the glass from your base to the recycling center, you’ll have to make sure you have a means of transportation.

The best way to do it depends on how often you’ll have to transport the glass. It may be more cost-effective to buy a large vehicle for the operation, or you may be able to use your own vehicle on a daily basis and then rent a bigger one just when you need it.

Check the Price of Glass Frequently

It’s also important to keep checking the price of glass. The price depends on a lot of things and rarely remains steady, so always keep an eye on supply and demand; that way, you can raise your prices when appropriate — and you’ll know when it’s necessary to lower them. If you don’t watch the prices, you may not get a buyer at all.

It’s important to remain realistic, which means staying in the know. While we’d all love to make a ton of money from our glass, recycling centers are buying from many people and know the value better than anyone else. Keep an eye on the price of glass and don’t get scammed, but don’t get in over your head either.

Overall, selling glass to recycle is a great idea on both a small and large scale. You could collect glass from friends and neighbors to sell along with your own, or go even bigger and buy equipment, partnering with an HOA and local businesses to take their glass to a recycling center.

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