How to actually make money by going green

We all know that the planet is in trouble. Global warming and pollution are problems we all face – as the COP26 climate change conference showed.

Of course, for many of us, the real problem with going green will actually mean that we end up paying more – either to the taxman or on the high street for the things we need.

The good news is that we have actually identified some ways that going green can not only actually save you money as well as the environment with free products – it can actually bring you in some cash.

Beauty

Filling up drawers with half-used beauty products is something many of us are guilty of. Even if we use them down to the bottom of the jar or tube, we are still left with containers, which will probably end up in landfills. Many beauty, health, wellness and dental items can’t be recycled traditionally due to their size, what materials they’re made from and various other factors.

Fortunately, many top beauty names are now helping us go green by providing recycling for their old packaging and containers. This means less energy and raw materials are wasted – and best of all they are offering some very worthwhile incentives in exchange.

Boots is trialling a recycling scheme where you can bring your empty beauty, health, wellness and dental products, from any brand, into stores. In return, they give 250 Boots advantage for every five containers.

Kiehl’s have a Recycle and Be Rewarded program, providing a £10 voucher when you bring in empty containers – while MAC are providing free lipstick if you bring in five used containers.

Fashion

Making textiles is a big polluter, which means recycling your fashion is a very good idea for the planet – and for you because it can mean vouchers and discounts. Of course, you can simply donate the clothes you have grown tired of to Oxfam or other charity shops, but some high-street retailers offer freebies or discounts on future purchases if you recycle items such as clothing.

What’s more, certain retailers such as H&M even reward you for recycling old clothing or home textiles (even old towels, socks or sheets), whatever the brand or condition. Just bring in a bag of old clothes and you can get a discount voucher.

Marks and Spencer have a scheme that lets you get a £5 voucher if you donate your old M&S clothes. Their Shwop scheme operates at most M&S clothing stores and through Oxfam.

Home furnishings

The Ikea Buy-back scheme means you can return old IKEA furniture to the store in exchange for vouchers. Any items you have that look as good as new with no scratches will be bought by IKEA for 50% of the original price and given a new life.

Your old mobile

Many of us have a drawer full of old electronics we’re not sure how to recycle - and that we think other people won’t want to buy.

But you can actually get paid to recycle old phones. If your phone is in good condition it will be sold off in another country or broken down for parts.

At Carphone Warehouse you could get up to £250 if you trade in your Apple iPhone 11. At EE, if you’ve got an old phone or tablet lying around you can use the value towards things like your early upgrade fee, the upfront cost of your new device or even use it to pay off your next bill. Alternatively, you can also have the money transferred directly into your bank account.

One will give £150 for a 256GB iPhone 8, or £116 if you have the 64GB version.

But shopping around makes sense, as different companies offer different amounts for old mobiles.

The DIY approach

Whatever you have that you no longer need, the chances are that somebody will want it. You can list items to sell on-site like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Ebay. You can even list things as collection only, so it’s simply a case of taking some pictures, writing a description and waiting for someone to come and take it away.

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