Do you have a bunch of extra cardboard boxes lying around your home that you don’t know what to do with?
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Did you just move and have extra cardboard?
Or maybe you have leftover cardboard boxes after buying lots of beer for a party?
Well guess what?
You can profit from cardboard boxes recycling for money programs!
You will gain money and all you need to do is invest some time in collecting cardboard.
The first step is to collect cardboard boxes and then look for ways to resell and recycle the cardboard for profit.
Did you know that approximately 36 million Americans moved between 2012 and 2013?
This is based on numbers from the Census Bureau.
Think about all the cardboard boxes that were used!
People who are looking to move often purchase cardboard boxes from Uhaul or UPS in order to store all their belongings for the move.
Once they have unpacked all their stuff, the cardboard boxes are often thrown out or recycled at the local city recycling center.
Throwing out these boxes after moving is a waste since you could be picking up some extra cash instead.
There are companies that pay anywhere from 50 cents to two dollars per box depending on the size.
These companies then profit by selling the cardboard boxes to people who are moving to a new residence.
Keep reading to learn how you yourself can profit by recycling used cardboard boxes.
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Why Would Anyone Pay for Boxes?
I know this business sounds like a strange one but hear me out.
Think about all the things you use cardboard boxes for and don’t really pay attention to it.
You need them for so many things, from storing things in your home to shipping stuff to other people to moving to a new home or office.
Cardboard boxes can even become toys for preschool or kindergarten classrooms.
They might also help libraries or community donation centers host book sales, donation drives, and other community events.
Boxes get used for so many things that it just takes a little creativity on your part to figure out where in your community you might be able to make a good profit by selling large bundles of them that you gather.
And yes, you can absolutely start a business doing this if you know where to find a bunch of boxes and where to sell them for the best prices!
If it sounds like an interesting concept to you, then I suggest reading further to find out how this side gig could become a lucrative business opportunity for you.
How You Can Start Your Own Cardboard Boxes Recycling for Money Program
Your very first step is, of course, gather enough boxes to sell.
Most people won’t want just a couple of boxes and selling just a few won’t make you much money either.
The profit is in gathering bulk amounts of boxes and then selling them to people who need a bunch of them.
So, how can you find them and get started making cash?
There are multiple ways you can begin a paid cardboard box recycling program.
A number of different places allow you to collect boxes so that you can make enough money on recycling.
You’ll need to take part in some legwork before making any money on this project.
So be sure to follow a great strategy for collecting cardboard boxes.
1. Check Out Your Own House
You can start this process by looking around your own home.
Try to find the biggest boxes.
These are easier to resell and recycle.
Keep small or tiny boxes for your own storage purposes.
If you find a wardrobe box with a metal rod, you can resell this for more than two dollars.
Take a look in your attic, your basement, or your garage.
You’ll be sure to find a few extra boxes collecting space for little reason.
The boxes can have writing on them but make sure they are not damaged and are in good condition.
This makes it much simpler to resell.
2. Talk to Friends and Family to Find Boxes
You’ll want to ask your friends and family to see if anyone has any extra cardboard boxes lying around.
Once again, make sure these boxes are in good condition before taking them.
You’ll find most people are happy to help especially if it means they’ll get rid of large, unwanted boxes.
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3. Take a Look at Craigslist’s Free Section
If you spend some time browsing through your local Craigslist website, you’ll find lots of people who want to get rid of cardboard boxes taking up space in their home.
Look through the Free Section of your local Craigslist site and you’ll find people giving away their moving boxes for free.
You’ll find a free section in your city.
Search through it and then you can go pick up cardboard boxes right by the curb.
4. U-haul Box Exchange Program
You can find the U-haul Box Exchange Program through an online forum developed by the U-haul moving company.
The online forum allows people to exchange cardboard boxes with each other especially when they’re moving.
There are people who give boxes for free on the forum as well.
So check it out! It may be a great choice for you to get free cardboard boxes.
Another great idea is to check out the website Freecycle.org.
This particular website gives people a chance to give away some of their belongings for free.
Take a look at the site and see whether anyone is giving away free cardboard boxes.
6. Grocery Stores
Another great place to find some free cardboard boxes is your local grocery store.
These stores often have a bunch of boxes they no longer need.
Do you have a Savers or some type of cheap grocery store in your area?
Many places in the Northeast have a Price Chopper.
These stores tend to have plenty of cardboard boxes you can pick up for free.
In fact, store managers are happy to have these boxes taken off their hands.
7. Liquor Stores
We all have a local liquor store in our town or city.
The best part is that these stores often have extra cardboard boxes that were used to store wine, beer, and other alcoholic products.
A lot of these boxes are thrown in the trash after the beer, liquor and wine bottles are unpacked.
You can ask your local liquor store owner if you can pick up the cardboard boxes instead.
I’m sure they’ll be happy to let you take them off their hands and recycle them somewhere else.
Coffee shops like Starbucks receive their products and shipments via cardboard boxes.
Several shipments come in every week.
The vast majority of their coffee products and food are packaged in cardboard boxes.
Ask the owner or manager of Starbucks if they’re willing to donate these boxes to you.
It might be an easy way to recycle cardboard boxes and make some extra cash!
Do you have a few bookstores in your area?
Maybe there’s a bookstore at a college nearby?
If so, you’ll find that a lot of books are delivered to relevant stores in cardboard boxes.
Bookstores are a great place to find boxes in good condition.
Ask the managers if they can donate their boxes once in a while.
10. Local Businesses and Stores
There are lots and lots of businesses that often have extra cardboard boxes lying around.
These businesses are a great source to find some cardboard boxes to recycle.
Many businesses need office supplies and other products.
Some sell their products and need regular shipments.
These shipments often come in large and sturdy cardboard boxes.
These are great to recycle easily and make some money on the side.
Check out if any businesses are getting rid of their boxes on Craigslist through the Free Section.
You can also try calling up some local businesses on the phone to see if any have extra cardboard boxes they’re willing to part with for free.
Be sure to call up businesses in your local region because there’s no need to drive far distances to pick up cardboard boxes.
The math is on your side.
If you can collect up to 200 cardboard boxes, you can make anywhere from $200 to $400.
You can then go onto find companies and places that are looking to buy used cardboard boxes.
Reselling these boxes will leave your wallet full of extra cash.
If you’re looking to take your significant other out on a fancy date or you just need a little extra cash to cover your monthly rent, reselling cardboard boxes is one good solution.
11. Goodwill Stores and Donation Centers
Not every community will have a Goodwill or some sort of donation center, but if you do, you should definitely check it out.
These places usually have donations delivered in boxes, especially when people bring in clothing, shoes, blankets, toys, and books.
A lot of the time, they’ll take in their donations and toss the boxes out in the back of the building until they break them down for collection.
If you go early in the day, you might see the most boxes, since this is often when a lot of donations have piled up and empty boxes start showing up.
Make sure you check with the donation center, as with any place, before you just take the boxes.
You might be able to come up with an agreement to come collect boxes for free on specific days from the center.
Where to Sell Cardboard Boxes
Now that you know where you can collect cardboard boxes, you’re probably wondering, ‘Who buys used moving boxes?’
After collecting these boxes, you can make some extra money by selling the boxes through Craigslist.
Check out the “For Sale” section and find people who are looking for boxes in order to move.
The fastest ways to get paid for your cardboard boxes, however, is through certain websites.
There are five specific websites you should check out.
If you want to get paid well for your large cardboard boxes, take a look at these five major websites that I’ll go more in-depth with down below:
Through these websites, you will make at least 50 cents per box and as much as $1.50 for every large cardboard box.
You could also look to taking your cardboard boxes to a recycling center, which we’ll get into more below.
Want to know more about the companies that will actually pay for your boxes? Let’s go!
This site is all about buying and selling containers of all types, including cardboard boxes, from people who need to get rid of them.
They also specialize in plastic totes and other organizational products.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?
To start selling, you just need to create an account for free and then you can start posting ads for your boxes you want to sell.
Once you post an ad, the site will show it to its several partnered retailers and manufacturers who might be interested in buying your stuff.
It even does marketing for you, so that’s one less thing to worry about!
Container Exchange does take a small commission from anything you list, but this gets added to the price you set, so you won’t really lose any cash in the process.
Box Cycle is another online platform to buy and sell cardboard boxes.
So you might even find low-priced boxes you can add to your business to resell for higher prices!
Create a free account and start listing boxes for free as well.
Customers will immediately be able to see your listings and can buy from you right away.
The site has a team of people who work to market listings and answer questions from customers, leaving most of the process hands-free for you.
You won’t have to ship your boxes to the buyer.
Instead, Box Cycle provides a slip for the customer and your location.
You can set up a pickup time to have the customer pick up and pay for the boxes they want.
This site is an excellent alternative to recycling boxes, which often won’t give you any money for getting rid of them.
You can, instead, sell your boxes in bulk to UsedCardboardBoxes.com.
Just fill out the online form, give some information about the size and type of boxes you have, and a representative will call you to set up a possible pickup time and give you a quote.
You can become a Rebox partner to continuously send the boxes you want to sell to the company.
Rebox is essentially a recycling company, but it tends to pay higher than average prices than a typical recycling center would if you choose to be a partner it can rely on.
All you have to do is fill out a quick online form with information about yourself and your boxes and you’ll get a quote from a Rebox representative.
Sadlers is a family-owned cardboard box business that offers both new and used boxes to people who need them for moving or other tasks.
You can sell boxes to Sadlers if you live in the area.
The boxes will get resold or recycled into new boxes, so not only are you helping out others but you’re also helping out the environment.
Boxsmart is a company that searches for old or new cardboard boxes to resell or recycle and it’s willing to pay if you’re willing to help!
The company promises 50% to 100% more revenue than traditional recycling centers would give you for your boxes.
You can fill out the online form to get a quote for your boxes.
On the form, you’re able to indicate whether you have a one-time supply to sell or an ongoing supply to furnish the company with.
Other Options: Where to Sell Cardboard Bales
Need some more ideas for selling your boxes in bulk?
While the companies listed above are legitimate options that can help take your boxes off your hands quickly, they also might not pay the best rates.
Remember that those sites are in business, too, so they’ll pay lower prices for your boxes so that they can sell them for more.
If you’re looking to get the best rates, you might need to wait a little longer and do more marketing for yourself, but you’ll get the benefit of having no middleman to take commission.
Here are a few places where you might be able to make this work:
Offer Them to Friends and Family
First, don’t forget about the people you know!
There’s a good chance that someone in your family or your friend roster might be moving, switching office jobs, or has some other use for cardboard boxes.
You never know unless you ask.
So send a quick text out to those you know who might be interested.
Post about your stash on social media.
Tell your coworkers that you have a bunch of boxes to sell.
You might just find someone who’s willing to pay for your boxes instead of scouring every store for them or paying more than what you’re selling for.
For the last several years, Facebook has been an excellent way for people to find buyers for things they’re selling just by posting about their stuff in groups or on their personal profiles.
All it takes is a couple of people to share a post for potentially thousands to millions of people to see it.
But since rolling out its Marketplace, Facebook has become an even worthier place to sell stuff.
The Marketplace lets you list anything you’re selling for free, with photos and a description, to show to other Facebook users.
You can even post your listings on your page or share them in buying and selling groups.
Put your box bundles on the Marketplace and you might find buyers quickly!
Craigslist is a good place to find boxes people are giving away, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell them here.
You just need to make sure you’re making it worthwhile for someone interested in your boxes.
For example, if someone’s giving away a bundle of used, somewhat ratty-looking boxes, you should make sure that you’re offering more boxes than they are and ones that are in much better condition if you’re going to make money off them.
Craigslist is free to list on just like Facebook, so you won’t have to lose any money up front.
eBay is another option for you to get rid of your boxes.
You’ll probably want to use the local pickup only option, though, so that you don’t have to ship out your boxes, which can get pretty expensive since they’ll be large when they’re broken down.
You might also consider setting a fixed price for your box listings rather than putting them up for auction.
The last thing you want is for a huge bale of new boxes to sell for $1!
You might be surprised how many people show up at yard sales to see if they can buy the boxes your stuff is sitting in rather than the actual items you’re selling!
I’ve seen it happen personally.
Why not make it easy for others and have a few bales of boxes ready to go if you’re planning an upcoming yard sale?
You could also keep an eye out for neighbors who are planning a yard sale to see if they might need boxes to organize their items in or to use to store purchased items in.
Check with Local Businesses
The businesses in your area might very well be in need of boxes for shipping or storage purposes.
You can always get out the phone book or drive around to businesses to see if any might be interested in your box bundles.
If you plan to have a continuous supply of boxes, be sure to let them know that.
They might offer you a deal to be their number one box provider!
Ask Moving Companies
Moving companies in your area, especially, can be some of the best to ask.
These companies typically have suppliers for boxes, or they furnish their own from factories, smaller, family-owned moving companies might not be set up the same way.
It’s possible that they’ll be open to saving some money by buying at least some of their boxes from you each week.
Check with Local Shipping Companies
Shipping companies are similar.
You might not have much luck from large chains, like UPS and similar companies, but smaller, more local shipping companies could be willing to take the bait on your boxes.
Homeless Shelters or Pet Rescue Organizations
Homeless shelters and pet rescue organizations use boxes to hold supplies or help animals and people move in and out of their shelters.
There’s a possibility that they’ll pay for the boxes you have, but don’t expect it to be as much as you might get elsewhere.
Remember that these are typically nonprofit organizations, so they don’t have a lot of money to spare.
These could be good options for selling some of your used boxes that aren’t in top shape, though, that you might not be able to get much money for anyway.
Your Local School District or Private Schools
Schools can almost always find a use for boxes, especially those with creative teachers who can turn boxes into toys and craft and learning materials for their students.
School districts might also buy boxes to store sporting equipment, help with bake sales or clothing donations, or to use for other school-related activities.
You can check with your local district’s superintendent or stop into individual schools to inquire.
Private schools aren’t governed by the school district, so you’ll need to call or visit them separately to ask about their interest.
How to Find Cardboard Recycling Centers that Pay Near Me
You probably won’t find a cardboard box recycling center, specifically, but you can definitely find a general recycling center near you, many of which recycle cardboard in addition to paper, glass, aluminum, etc.
Try to call up your local recycling centers.
Take a look at a phone book in your area to find their phone numbers.
Ask those recycling centers if they can pay you for recycling cardboard boxes.
One or two will likely say yes.
Recycling centers often recycle paper, plastic, cans, and more.
So some cardboard boxes are definitely recyclable with these centers.
So take those boxes to the recycling centers and you will get paid in return.
How much do recycling centers pay for cardboard boxes?
Unfortunately, these centers won’t pay you as much as moving companies like UPS or some other businesses.
They may pay anywhere from 10 cents to a quarter per box.
Selling boxes to people looking to move or as storage through the websites above may be a better idea.
You’ll likely get paid more.
Conclusion: Keep Looking for New Avenues
Once you’ve gotten an idea of where to find these cardboard boxes and having a place to resell the boxes, you can begin to look for different avenues where you can recycle cardboard.
Get creative and think of new strategies.
The more boxes you can collect and resell, the more money you’ll have in your pocket.
So remember – recycling cardboard boxes is a great way to make some extra income!
It just all boils down to the resources you have in your community for finding and selling boxes.
Have you had any luck with this side gig? We’d love to hear about it – leave us a comment down below.
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