How to Raise Money for Your Organization by Starting a Local Recycling Program

If you are in charge of a local organization in your town and need a way to raise money for it, have you considered starting a recycling program in your area? This is a great way to raise money, and this is one of the best types of ongoing fundraisers that locals may willingly participate with. To do this, you will need to decide what types of items to collect, and you must find ways to turn the items into cash. Here are four different items you could collect for your recycling program, but there are many others.

Wine Corks

One idea for items to collect for your recycling program is wine corks. A lot of people enjoy drinking wine, and most people will throw their corks away when they finish bottles of wine. Instead of letting these items end up in landfills, why not collect them and sell them?

Wine corks may not be worth a lot of money individually, but their value can add up if you collect a lot of them. You might be able to sell them for around five cents each, and you can sell them in several ways:

  • Look for a company in your area that purchases them, or a company you can ship them to that will pay cash for them.
  • Advertise on classified ad sites or auction sites because people will pay cash for these items.

Wine corks can be used for many different craft projects, and selling them to people that want them is far better than throwing them in the trash.


Old, unwanted books are another item you may want to consider collecting. If you ever go to garage sales, you will probably notice that most of them have old books for sale. When people no longer want their books, they may try to sell them, or they may simply throw them away.

While it may be hard to find a company that will purchase these old books from you, there is another way to make money from them. You could take pictures of the books and advertise them on auction sites. Auction sites are great places to sell any unwanted items, and people will purchase almost anything from these sites.

While you may not make a fortune doing this, you could possibly make 50 cents a book, or even much more.

Scrap Metal

Scrap metal is another item you could collect for your program, and this is an easy item to turn into cash. Any items made of any type of scrap metal are worth money, and this includes items made of:

  • Steel or tin
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper

Scrap metal recycling facilities generally pay prices per pound for most scrap metals, except for steel. Steel items are worth the least, but they are still worth something. A scrap metal recycler will generally pay a set price per ton of anything made of steel.

You could encourage locals to donate any unwanted scrap metal items to your organization. You would have to sort and prepare the items, and you may have to haul them in to the recycling center, but you could raise a lot of cash this way. You generally get more for your scraps if you separate them first, rather than give them one large amount.

Cooking Oil

Finally, you could consider collecting used cooking oil. Cooking oil is something that can be turned into a biodiesel fuel, and there are companies that will pay you for this. According to Investopedia, you may get between 33 cents to 66 cents per gallon; however, the prices fluctuate.

To increase the amount of cooking oil you collect, you may want to talk to local restaurants to see if they would be willing to donate their used cooking oil to your organization.

Starting a program like this is not difficult; however, you will need a place to operate out of and you will need to advertise. If you would like to learn more about ways to reduce trash in landfills and what items are recyclable, use resources such as They may be able to offer more information and help for your new program.