Best 11 Ways of Recycling Cardboard for Money

Did you know that you can profit from cardboard boxes recycling for money programs? Almost everything you purchase online arrives in a cardboard box.

But once you split open the packaging and unwrap that ugly Christmas sweater or PlayStation 5 you’ve been waiting for, you’re left with a bulky and used cardboard box.

a man and woman recycling cardboard for money
Best 11 Ways of Recycling Cardboard for Money 3

Stacks on stacks of empty cardboard boxes are also a common sight when you’ve finished moving or stored away some unused items. You probably use them to make a playhouse for the kids, protect your floors when painting, or simply toss them in the trash. 

Did you know the cardboard you’re leaving in your blue bin could be worth cash? This post will discuss the best ways of recycling cardboard for money.   

Can I Recycle Cardboard Boxes for Money

Yes, corrugated cardboard has the highest recycling rate for paper products. Cardboard is easy to recycle because the fibers that it is made from have previously been processed from trees.

But why would anyone pay for boxes? From shipping products to storing stuff to moving, we need them for so many things. If you’re looking for an extra source of income, you can recycle cardboard boxes for money. 

When you figure out where you can sell large bundles of them for the best prices, you can make a good profit.

What Is The Price of Recycled Cardboard?

Cardboard is a global market and prices undergo fluctuations. In 2020, the price of recycled cardboard is between 50 cents to $2 per box.To fetch higher prices, sell to people that reuse the cardboard instead of recyclers.

Where Do I Get Cardboard Boxes

You can’t make a profit if you have no inventory. Free cardboard boxes can be found everywhere if you keep your eyes open.

I have prepared a list of 11 places you have a great chance of finding free cardboard boxes. Some take just a few clicks on your computer, and others will require you to step out and do a little digging.

1. Free Section of Craigslist 

You can find just about everything on Craigslist. From a pet lobster to giant Airpods, your local Craigslist page is jammed with an overwhelming number of interesting finds.

With probably the biggest “Free section” of any website, locals list belongings they wish to give away, including cardboard boxes. You can also use the Wanted section to put the word out that you’re looking for free cardboard boxes. 

2. Check Your House

Cardboard is something we use almost every day. Look around your home and you’re sure to find cardboard boxes taking up space. Shipping boxes, pizza boxes, shoe boxes, egg cartons, and cereal boxes are some of the boxes you’ll find.

Throwing out these boxes is a waste as you could be picking up some extra cash instead. Big boxes are easier to resell and recycle. Just make sure they’re clean and sturdy.

3. U-Haul Box Exchange 

Thanks to U-Haul’s Customer Connect Box Exchange service, Americans can connect and find moving boxes at any of their locations. To find somebody near you who is giving away cardboard boxes, head to the site, enter your location into the search box, and search “Free Boxes.”

4. Grocery Stores

Grocery stock, especially fresh produce, is delivered in cardboard boxes. With shipments coming in regularly, sometimes daily, you can be sure that both small grocers and big grocery store chains will have a massive amount of boxes sitting around in the back.

Next time you’re grocery shopping at Kroger or Sam’s Club, let the manager know that you’d love to take those apple and banana boxes off of their hands. 

5. Starbucks

With supplies (coffee grounds, cream, flavorings, filters, etc.) being delivered every single week, your local Starbucks probably has a recycling room somewhere in the coffeehouse.

And because Starbucks cares about their supplies making it safely to the pantry, these boxes are usually sturdy and clean. If there’s a Starbucks near where you live, it’s well worth a trip to ask. Recycling their boxes means they have less to dispose of, so it’s a win-win!

6. Family and Friends

Asking your friends and family is the easiest way to find free boxes. Knock on neighbors’ doors and see if they have extra boxes from moving or recent deliveries.

Cardboard boxes take up a lot of space even when folded flat, and homeowners will be more than glad to get them off their hands! You can also post on social media to let your friends know that you need free boxes.


If you don’t know any person who’s moved recently, the Freecycle Network is another place you can find free boxes. The network is made up of 5,300+ groups with over 9 million members around the world.

When you sign up to join your local Freecycle community group and post that you need free boxes, you should be able to find people willing to give you boxes. Before you plan to pick up your free cardboard boxes, it’s worth asking if they’re in good condition. 

8. Book Stores

How do books travel? In tough cardboard boxes. Both small, locally-owned and large-chain bookstores should have plenty of sturdy cardboard boxes.

Go in and chat with whoever’s at the front desk. Ask if they have any boxes for you to take. You can also request extra boxes from local college and university bookstores. 

9. Liquor Stores

Liquor stores receive a slew of shipments often. As they’ve got to protect bottles of alcoholic products from breaking in transit, they receive more thick cardboard boxes than they know what to do with.

If you live near a wine and spirits store, pop in during hours where they aren’t particularly busy and ask the manager if you can take some cardboard boxes off their hands.

You can ask them to set some aside for you when they receive shipments.

10. Local Businesses

Chances are good that a local business in your neighborhood has some extra boxes they’ve been hankering to get rid of. Pay a visit, and ask if they have any boxes lying around.

With a bit of searching, you should be able to get many cardboard boxes free of charge. Pick up all the free cardboard boxes that you can get. Know when they have their shipments and be right on time because I bet more people than just you know about this trick!

11. Donation Centers

Another way to find free boxes near you is by visiting local donation centers. Most cities have multiple donation centers that accept donations.

Most of the time, they’ll take in their donations and throw the boxes out in the back of the building. Supposing these cardboard boxes are in good enough shape to use again, you can make money selling them. 

Where Can I Sell Cardboard Boxes

After gathering enough boxes, now it’s time to make some money selling them. Here are the top cardboard box buyers:


UsedCardboardBoxes is one of the few cardboard box buyers that allow you to sell Gaylord totes, produce bins, and shipping boxes. To sell, fill out an online form and say something about the type and size of boxes you have.

A representative will contact you to give you a quote and set up a possible pickup time. The company takes the time and energy to sort through and inspect all boxes by hand. You won’t pay any pickup or delivery fees.

Container Exchanger

This site lets you sell used Gaylord boxes in bulk. To sell, simply create an account for free and post ads for your boxes. You don’t have to worry about marketing.

The site will display your ad to its nationwide network of manufacturers and resellers who might be interested in buying your boxes. You’ll be contacted by phone or email when your boxes are purchased.

Since Container Exchange adds a small commission to the price you set, you won’t lose any cash in the process. 


People are always in need of cardboard boxes. This diverse cardboard selling platform lets you list regular boxes, moving boxes, electronics boxes, file boxes, Gaylord boxes, wine boxes, mailers, etc., and sell them to people who live near you as long as they’re in good condition.

You might even land low-priced cardboard boxes that you can resell for higher prices. Customers will see your listed boxes and purchase from you right away.

BoxCycle gives customers a shipping slip and your location to ease the shipping process. You get paid immediately after the buyer picks up the boxes.


Boxsmart is constantly searching for old and new cardboard boxes to resell and recycle. With Boxsmart, you can get 50-100 percent more revenue than traditional recycling centers would offer for your boxes.

To get a quote for your boxes, fill out the online form indicating whether you have an ongoing supply to furnish the company with or a one-time supply to sell. You don’t have to bale your boxes. When Boxsmart locates a buyer, they’ll send a truck over.

Duffy Box

A pioneer in the cardboard industry, Duffy Box has been in business since 1930. The full-service industrial recycler currently owns a combined fleet of 200+ trailers that can quickly transport your cardboard boxes to interested buyers and make you a profit. To get a price, contact them directly. 

Rebox Corp.

When you become a Rebox partner, you can constantly send the used corrugated boxes and Gaylords you want to sell to the recycling company.

Compared to most recycling centers, Rebox tends to pay higher than average prices. To get a quote, fill out a quick online form with info about yourself and your boxes.

Quincy Recycle

Specializing in buying and reselling Gaylord boxes across the U.S., Quincy Recycle is another company you can use to recycle cardboard boxes for money.

They also offer B2B corrugated cardboard and paper recycling. For over 45 years, Quincy has helped its clients build sustainable waste reduction processes within their business. To sell to Quincy, you will need to have a big inventory and live near one of their Midwestern recycling facilities.

Rounding out our list of cardboard box buyers is If you live in the U.K., this family-owned cardboard box business lets you sell new, removal, and pallet boxes in large quantities.

What do they do to the boxes? Sadlers resell or recycle the boxes into new boxes. This means that you’re not only helping out others but also helping out the environment.

How Do I Find Cardboard Recycling for Money Near Me?

When your cardboard boxes aren’t salvageable, you can still sell them for cash to a recycler. You won’t receive top dollar for them, but it’s still money in your pocket.

But how do I find cardboard recycling for money near me? Here’s how:


IndustryNet is like an industrial search engine that lets you search for different suppliers and manufacturers across the U.S. Every company is categorized. There are various ways you can narrow your search to particular recycling categories and states. 

Recycler Finder

Recycler Finder is another free database that lists your cardboard boxes within 50 miles of your zip code.


This is a free service that links you up with local scrap cardboard recyclers from all over the world. RIM allows you to post your cardboard on the site. Payment is made via VISA, PayPal, and Net Banking.

With locations all over Michigan, Padnos recycles all grades of recyclable paper. Depending on the current market demand, your cardboard can sell at a contractual or spot price.

You can also use Google to find a local recycling center. Perform a Google search with the keyword “recycling centers purchasing cardboard in (insert state, county, or city).”

Browse through the search results to see if any of the listed recycling centers would be potential buyers of your boxes. Call in and ask their price on cardboard.


Recycling cardboard for money can be a profitable business if you put in the time and effort. The more cardboard boxes you can collect and resell, the more money you’ll make.

If you enjoy making money from recycling, you might try making money from selling used car batteries. Have you tried recycling cardboard for money? How was your experience? I’d love to hear about it – leave a comment down below.