Now that China has placed an import ban on 99% of recyclables that they used to buy from Australia, our country is facing a serious waste management problem. Whilst on the individual level, this may not have a direct or immediate effect on you, it does highlight the value of recyclables and the increasing importance of managing our waste in an ethical manner. In this blog, we thought we’d take a look at 10 items which the average person can recycle for cash. After all, who can say no to turning a profit and doing something good for the planet along the way?

Making money

Scrap metal

Top of the list is of course, scrap metal recycling. Metal Men Recycling accept both ferrous and nonferrous metals in all quantities and conditions. We offer free bins and 24 hour pickup services anywhere in Melbourne.

Bottles and cans

New South Wales, the Northern Territory and South Australia all currently have container deposit schemes where you can exchange containers for payment. The ACT and Queensland will both have schemes established by the end of 2018 whilst Western Australia’s scheme is scheduled to start on 1 January 2019. Victoria and Tasmania on the other hand, currently have no plans to start a container deposit scheme, so unless you want to take an interstate road trip with a boot full of cans, the best thing you can do is lobby the Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, the Hon Liliana D’Ambrosio, whose details can be found here.

Car batteries

Metal Men Recycling accept car batteries and guarantee a fair price for your item.

Old cars/machinery/caravans

Because of their size, vehicles might look like daunting objects to get rid of but it’s really incredibly easy. All you need to do is give us a call on 03 5941 6677 and we’ll organise a time for one of our team to come out and collect your vehicle for free. We’ll pay you a fair price and guarantee our services are a simple and stress free way to dispose of unwanted vehicles in any condition.

Ink cartridges

Ink cartridges from printers are a hot commodity which can be exchanged for up to $15 per cartridge in some circumstances. Companies like QPCA offer free pickup and cash payments in exchange for your old cartridges.


Because electronics like computers and mobile phones have valuable parts which can often be salvaged or refurbished for re-sale, many companies are willing to buy old, non-working laptops and mobile phones for a fair price. Alternatively, many of the big electronics brands like Apple, Dell and Acer have electronics recycling programs where they will exchange your old brands items for a discount on a new model.


Thinking of getting a spring haircut? Before you make an appointment at the hairdressers, take a minute to consider this unusual recycling opportunity. There’s a huge demand from wigmakers for human hair and if you have long, undyed hair, it can be sold for hundreds of dollars. Some companies will buy the hair off you but if you are willing to put in a little time and effort, you can earn significantly more by selling your hair in a niche online marketplace like HairSellon.


The internet is in the midst of a DIY craft craze and that means that corks are in popular demand. eBay is a fantastic place to get rid of your old corks in bulk to crafting fanatics. Corks go for about 10c a piece but can fetch more if they are from a specific winery or a specific variety of wine or a particular vintage. It’s worth doing a little bit of research regarding marketing, packaging and shipping before you make your listing. A word to the wise though, champagne corks aren’t a huge hit on eBay due to their irregular shape.

Stockings and hosiery

Instead of throwing your ripped and pilled stockings into the bin and sending them to landfill, send at least three pairs to Swedish Stockings and they’ll email you a 10% discount code which you can use to buy a new pair of sustainable hosiery.

Lighting waste

Households and businesses who are registered with The Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) are eligible for a rebate if they recycle old inefficient lighting such as halogen lights and fluorescent tubes and replace them with more energy efficient options. This is just one of dozens of activities which businesses and households can undertake in exchange for a Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificate (VEEC) which can then be  sold onto companies who need them for a profit.