Many of us are on pretty tight budgets these days. So, if you could use a few extra dollars in your pocket this month, why not cash in on your green habits to fatten your wallet and lighten your footprint? From recycling your iPhone to renting out your parking space, here are seven ways to make money by being green.
1. Selling your old clothes online
If you have a closet full of clothes that are still in good condition but just aren’t your size or style anymore, you could be making loads of extra cash by selling them to other fashionistas online.
At SwapStyle.com you can sell, buy or swap all your used fashions in good condition. In addition to women’s wear, the site features kids’ and maternity clothes, shoes and accessories. You can also use to the site to cash in on your old books, DVDs, electronics and purchased but unused cosmetics. Sorry to all you fashion-forward guys out there; SwapStyle.com doesn’t include menswear.
For a swap site that accepts both men’s and women’s clothing, head to Dresm.com to trade, sell or buy in just a few clicks. Or, for U.K. swappers, check out Clothes For Cash – where you can sell and swap everything from trousers to shoes to kids’ clothes and receive payment on the same day.
2. Disposing of e-waste responsibly
Listen up, tech junkies! If you’re constantly replacing your “outdated” (aka 6-month-old) gadgets, don’t throw your old ones away! Recycle them with paid collection companies like YouRenew, BuyMyTronics or Gazelle, and receive up to $1,000 per item.
Just answer a few quick questions about the age and condition of your items and send them in via prepaid postage. You’ll usually receive payment for the full market value in less than two weeks. Accepted items include cell phones, smart phones, laptop and desktop computers, tablets and e-readers, MP3 players and digital cameras.
All three sites will send you a check in the mail or pay you directly via PayPal. Gazelle will also give you a Walmart Prepaid Visa or Amazon gift card instead of cash, and YouRenew allows you to donate your earnings to environmental causes like tree plantings and renewable energy projects.
3. Sharing your car
If you have a car for long trips but don’t use it on a daily basis for eco reasons, you could be making a pretty penny by renting it out to your neighbors. Companies like RelayRides connect people who need a car with vehicle owners whose rides would otherwise be sitting idle. And you could be making as much as $7,000 per year by loaning out your wheels, according to the company.
Just answer a few quick questions about your car and start a listing for free. Once you’re approved, simply pick the dates and times that your car is available, set the price and start selecting renters.
RelayRides currently only supports listings in San Francisco and Boston, but they’re growing quickly. So, if you want to share your car, just start a listing and the company will notify you as its service area expands.
Another ride-sharing option is JustShareIt, which helps drivers rent out their cars in Virginia, Texas, Oregon and California and offers paid sharing for boats, RVs, motorcycles and snowmobiles in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
4. Renting your parking space
Searching for a parking spot on crowded city streets is seriously annoying. But it’s also bad for the environment: the more drivers circle the block, the more carbon emissions their cars release into the atmosphere.
Two companies, ParkatmyHouse and ParkCirca, have developed an innovative solution to the urban parking problem: connect drivers looking for a spot for a few hours with city-dwellers who want to earn money by renting their personal parking spaces when they’re not using them.
ParkatmyHouse operates as an online marketplace for parking spaces, while ParkCirca is a mobile app, still in its beta testing phase. Both services are free of charge for renters. Depending on the city you call home, you could be making more than $1,000 per year by sharing your space.
5. Starting an Etsy shop
Are you always churning out loads of creative crafts to give away as presents to friends and family? If your crafts closet is getting full and your mom already owns four of your oh-so-lovely mason jar candle holders, why not make a little extra cash with your artistic creativity?
Etsy allows everyday crafters to open online stores and sell their handmade goods, vintage items and crafts supplies right from their living rooms.
Typically, rent and overhead costs for a small shop can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. But you can register your Etsy shop for free, and it will only cost you 20 cents to list an item for up to four months. When your item sells, you’ll pay a 3.5 percent transaction fee on the final sale price and the rest is yours!
You can sell as many or as few items in your shop as you’d like. If you’re worried you may not have the time to keep a shop fully stocked, you can also create an account with multiple users and collaborate with crafty friends to cash in on your upcycling genius.
We all know that carpooling is a great way to reduce air pollution, save money and relieve the stress of your commute. But did you know you could make money from it?
Sites like Zimride allow you to sell empty seats in your car – whether it’s your daily commute or a cross-country road trip. The amount charged by the driver covers the cost of gas and travel, meaning you can take your trips for less by filling all your empty seats.
You can also sign up for GoLoco, which allows you to split the cost of your ride between all passengers evenly based on a 50 cents-per-mile estimate. So, if you’re headed on a 300-mile road trip, you could save $100 on gas by sharing your ride with two other people. Not too shabby!
7. Recycling curbside
You already toss cans, bottles and other recyclables into your curbside bin each week. So, why not get paid for it? Recyclebank will give you points for each item you recycle, which can be redeemed for discounts and deals at all your favorite stores and online retailers.
So, how does it work? Recyclebank partners with with waste haulers across the country to find out how much recyclable material was collected and converts the total into Recyclebank Points, which are distributed amongst all recyclers in the community. So, the more you and your neighbors recycle, the more everyone gets paid!
But Recyclebank isn’t just for your curbside bin. You can also earn points for other green actions, including saving energy at home, getting your postal mail online and supporting environmental initiatives. And, in case you haven’t heard, you can also collect Recyclebank points from reading articles here on Earth911. Just click the link at the bottom of each story to get your points!