Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Sometimes you find yourself in a financial pickle with no quick fix on the horizon. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at some point. The good news is the answer you’re looking for could be lurking in your trash can. Or the back of your wardrobe. Or maybe in your bathroom cabinet.
Here are 10 items you might not know that you can recycle for money:
One of the reasons you may find yourself in said financial pickle is the fact you can’t resist a good old fashion sale. Once again – we’re not judging you!
But how many of the items in your wardrobe do you actually love to wear, if at all?
Instead of just hoarding a whole bunch of perfectly good clothes, you can recycle them and even make a quick little buck.
There are two main ways to do this:
There’s a huge market on eBay, Instagram and Etsy for second-hand clothes. Spend some time browsing through other online stores to see what other people ask for items then set up your own!
Read this article for a few tips on how to get started.
In an effort to up their sustainability ante, many large clothing retailers have launched recycling schemes.
H&M, Monki and Marks & Spencer allow customers to drop off bags old clothes – any brand is acceptable – in store. In return, they offer discount vouchers you can put toward your next purchase. Okay, so you’re not making money, but this is a great way to build up some credit for an occasion that absolutely calls for a new dress.
Every year an estimated 57 million ink cartridges find their way into UK landfills, rubbish dumps and incinerators. Considering it can take just one cartridge up to 1,000 years to decompose, these figures are very alarming. It’s easy to recycle cartridges so don’t contribute to the problem – sell them to a recycling company and you’ll also make yourself some money.
There are a whole host of companies that will pay up to £4.50 per empty cartridge! Here are a few you can check out:
Unless you’re fond of arts and crafts, you’ve probably never given a second thought to throwing the cork away after polishing off a bottle of chardonnay.
Well, best stop doing that and recycle them for cash instead.
Believe it or not, wine corks are a super hot commodity among crafty folks. In fact, there is a whole section dedicated to used wine corks on eBay where bundles of between 50 and 100 go for up to £8.00.
We know this may sound slightly creepy, but recycling your hair is – in fact – a thing. But, it’s also mostly for a good cause.
Hair Harvest is one of the companies that buys human hair and then turns it into wigs for vulnerable patients who have lost their own hair for one reason or another.
The amount they pay depends on the length of hair you are able to part with. Here’s a rough guide:
14-15 inches – £25 – £60
16-18 inches – £50 – £150
19 inches and above- £60 – £200
You can visit the Hair Harvest website for the rules and regulations around the process of recycling your hair.
Read our article to find out more about selling your hair.
Make anything from £5-£600 for your old, battered phone.
Did you know there are over 80 million mobiles in the UK just lying around doing nothing?
So if you’ve got a few languishing in a drawer or under your bed, now is the time to opt for recycling and get some cash in return!
Visit the Compare and Recycle website for comparisons on how much you can make selling your phone on different platforms.
While you can get around £600 for an iPhone XS with 64g memory, you will probably be more willing to sell an older model. According to the site, you can get up to £194 for an iPhone 6 and up to £350 for an iPhone 7 Plus.
Still have mascara from two years ago tucked away in the bottom of your make-up bag? Or that lipstick you thought you’d rock on nights out, but were never brave enough to wear? Perhaps it’s time you let go.
Fortunately, John Lewis & Partners recently launched a beauty recycling trial, called BeautyCycle, which offers members of its loyalty programme the chance to recycle empty makeup and skincare beauty products from any brand.
The programme offers members £5 off a beauty purchase when they bring empty beauty products and packaging from any brand into a shop. While it’s not cold, hard cash, it will definitely help you save!
Like wine bottle corks, broken plates, saucers, cups, tiles and even mirrors are popular items amongst crafters. Especially those who like making mosaics.
If you have a pile of defunct crockery or building materials, make up ‘surprise’ hampers of between 20 and 150 pieces and sell them on eBay or Etsy.
Boxes of 20 pieces can go for about £8, while boxes of 150 can get you up to £15.
Oh, and another thing popular with crafters is old toilet rolls.
They often need more toilet rolls than they can produce, so are willing to pay for them on sites such as eBay and Gumtree.
Okay, you won’t make a fortune, but £7 for 50 rolls is better than just throwing them away!
Find out more about making money selling your loo roll here.
If your child has outgrown their love of Lego, don’t even think about letting those colourful little blocks gather dust on some nursery room shelf. Instead, you can make a decent bit of pocket money by selling them on eBay!
Currently, 1kg bundles of average blocks can go for up to £20. Of course, if you have limited release figurines, you can make quite a bit more.
Read more about making money with Lego!
Yes, there are people out there (well, mostly men) who are willing to pay for your used knickers!
It’s weird, you might find it a bit distasteful, but it can be quite lucrative.
There are whole sites set up to help you offer this service, such as:
Sites such as
You can sell your knickers from about £12 to a couple of hundred quid. One of our readers actually made over £4,500 doing this, so there is real money to be made.
Find out more about selling your knickers here.
Get weekly ideas, deals & freebies
New data capture form 2023. This is for the popup form to avoid duplicate IDs.
"*" indicates required fields
Eew, the used undies thing always makes me cringe!