How To Recycle Paper For Money (Magazines, Newspapers & More)

Do we dare say that recycling is actually becoming cool? People realize that waste is not good for our future or our children’s future. Most people, when given a chance to recycle paper for money, will gladly take it.

Mother and child trying to make money recycling paper
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Paper is one of the products that we waste the most; however, paper is highly recyclable. We will warn you that the money in paper recycling will not be relatively as high as some other products you can recycle.

The good news is that regardless of your money, you will be making a considerable contribution to the environment. Let’s take a look at some ways to recycle paper for money and how you can get involved. 

How much is scrap paper worth?

The major letdown when it comes to scrap paper and making money is that you won’t make all that much money. Scrap paper is worth about $50 to $75 per ton. Although paper can add up in weight rather quickly, it takes a lot to collect a full ton of paper. 

This is why you probably don’t want to take on a recycling project like this on your own. However, you can create a nice little system for yourself where you can collect paper to help the environment and still make a bit of extra money. 

How Can You Recycle Paper for Money?

As we mentioned, you will need to collect quite a bit of paper to make your recycling paper business profitable. This is where you will want to start making some connections with local businesses and friends. Follow our four steps below for the best ways to recycle paper for money. 

piles of paper waste from recycling centers
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1. Find Paper Recycling Centers Near You

The first step in this process is to find a paper recycling center located near you. You will need a recycling center to make money, and the center should be centrally located.

Remember we said that you would need quite a bit of waste paper to make money? You will not want to travel hours to get to a recycling center capable of helping you, as this will further impact your profit. 

When you find this recycling center, make sure that you speak to them about their capabilities and requirements. You won’t be able to start developing your plans until you know what is needed at the end location. 

Once you have your plan in place at the recycling center, you can start building the rest of your business. Make sure that you understand what type of recycled paper and even cardboard boxes have the most return on investment. This will help you set up better goals for your collection process. 

2. Collect Waste Paper That You Can Recycle For Cash

Once you know what you will need to make money, you can start collecting waste paper. This is where you need to start reaching out to local companies and talking to them about what they do with their scrap paper. 

Local businesses, schools, and municipalities will go through quite a bit of paper. If they don’t currently have a plan to recycle this paper, they may let you take it. You can set up collection bins in these locations for the waste paper to be picked up once a week or every other week, depending on the amount of paper you can collect. 

You should also consider talking to neighbors and friends and telling them what you are doing with your paper recycling project. Many people get the paper daily and then place it in the garbage. If you can somehow collect all of these papers from ten or twenty of your friends, it will add up to quite a bit of paper at the end of the month. 

Make sure that when you are collecting paper, you are considering the requirements and the specifications of the recycling center. If you don’t follow these rules, you won’t make the money that you expect. 

3. Sort Paper Products Into Groups

You will need a large area in your home to sort out the paper. There are several different types of paper products, and they will need to be sorted to be able to be recycled.

You can sort the paper into large piles into bins and containers that you know the weight of. This will help you make sure you have enough paper ready to make a profit. 

It is a good idea to know what types of paper yield the highest return. The more money you can get for your efforts, the better! 

4. Make Money Recycling Paper

Now that you have collected all this paper and have sorted it in your mini recycling center, it is time to cash it all in. Getting cash for your paper takes a few more steps that require some logistical work.

You will need some rolling carts, a trailer, or a truck to be able to transport your paper. Chances are the recycling center will expect at least a ½ ton load if you are going to be getting a profit for your paper. 

Make sure that you have figured out how you will get your paper to the recycling center. This is a large part of the entire equation. When you cash your paper in for the money, some recycling centers will give you the cash that day; others will make you wait for a check. The good news is that you will get paid either way.

Recycling paper can be a lot of work, and it is not highly profitable on its own. However, if you can combine your paper recycling with other types of recycling, you may do quite well. See what other products your recycling center takes and what the profit margins are like. Chances are, you can create an excellent little recycling business for some side income

Other Ways You Can Recycle for Money

As we mentioned, the profits from recycling paper are not all that high. There are, however, some other ways to try and turn used products into some profit for yourself. 

Recycling Business Ideas

Recycling businesses are on the rise. When you think about the concept of taking people’s used products off their hands and turning them into a profit, it is quite brilliant. To make money in a recycling business, you must be creative about how you will go about this process. 

One of the top two recycling business ideas is ink recycling and wood recycling. With ink recycling, you can collect old cartridges and refill them for a reduced fee. This is a win-win for all those involved and keeps the number of ink cartridges down in the landfills. 

Wood recycling is a unique concept where people collect scrap wood and leftover product and turn it into crafts and furniture. The finished products sell for quite a bit of money. This is an excellent choice for those that have some ability when it comes to working with wood. 

 Car Batteries

Did you know that even if your car battery is completely dead, you can still recycle it for some money? Car batteries sometimes tend to be one of the more valuable parts of a car that is starting to reach its final days. 

When you sell a car battery, you will get money based on its condition and whether it still has any life left. For the price per pound, car batteries will be a much more profitable item to recycle than paper. 

Car batteries are not the only ones that people are making money off of. Battery recycling, in general, is getting more and more profitable. 


Cardboard recycling tends to be a bit more involved than paper recycling. The great thing about cardboard is that it can be recycled into perfectly good cardboard. It is actually more expensive to create new cardboard than it is to recycle cardboard. 

Many cardboard manufacturing facilities are setting up large recycling plants because they can make money off the cardboard you collect. Make sure that you scope out the different cardboard recycling centers in your area and see which ones will pay you for your cardboard. 

You can run this business just like you set up a paper recycling business. 

Scrap Metal

Scrap metal is and always will be among the top recycling business ideas. One of the great things about scrap metal is that you can always check the pricing and see whether or not you can be profitable. 

Scrap metal recycling is a unique and complex business. You will be shocked at some things people can use for scrap metal. Truly this is a business that will make you look at everything as if it is a treasure instead of trash. 

One of the things that scrap metal recyclers love is that there is quite a challenge involved with this process. Searching for products and finding the metal inside them becomes quite a hunt and a profitable one at that. If you look pound for pound at scrap metal recycling’s profitability, you will find it better to make money than paper recycling. 

Ink Cartridges

Most people don't realize that recycling ink cartridges can be quite profitable. Many office-supply stores will give you store credit for each qualifying cartridge you recycle. For example, Office Depot and Staples will give you $2 in store credit for each recycled cartridge.

This can add up quickly if you have many old cartridges. Additionally, websites like Evolve Recycling will buy back your empty cartridges, making it even easier to earn money from recycling.


Recycling cans is a great way to make some extra money. It's easy to do, and it's good for the environment. Here's how to get started:

  1. Start by collecting cans from your own home and neighborhood. You can also ask local businesses if they have any cans to recycle.
  2. Once you have a collection of cans, take them to your local recycling center. They will pay you based on the weight of the cans.
  3. Finally, cash in your earnings and enjoy your extra money!


Computers are one of the most recycled items in the world. They contain a lot of valuable metals and materials that can be recycled over and over again. If you have old computers you are no longer using, you can recycle them for profit. You must take the computers apart and then sell the different parts. This can be challenging if you have never done it before, but you can make money by recycling old computers.

Final Thoughts

Recycling is a great way to help the environment and leave the world a better place. Some people that are smart about the way they recycle can also learn to make a bit of money from it.

Recycling paper for profit can be a tough road. You will need to have at least a ton of paper to make around $75. For the work you will put in to collect $75, you will put in quite a bit of time.

If, however, you have a source for lots of scrap paper, starting a small business recycling paper could be a great idea.