I've been out of work a long time and ANY extra cash is welcome. I never have much of a problem with money, but just working off of Craig's List is a drag with the all competition in this town.
Living here in The Valley of The Sun (Phoenix, Az) recycling is not a popular venture unless you are AWAKE at 2-4 in the morning. My garbage company does not even offer a recycle bin for pick-up. I guess this should come as no surprise living in The Valley of: fast food, SUV s, pawn shops, and foreclosure.
I do EVERYTHING on a bicycle and trailer. There is a lot of planing that goes into my travel. I also keep track of stuff I see and go back to get things, or I will be late everyplace I go.
What I recycle is not always easy. Its the low end stuff, and it takes a few days of collection to take in a $20-$30 load.
The best part is, I always have quick cash in the back yard, excluding Sundays. Generally I recycle similar items at the same time and I don't kill myself leaving the house.......I save that for getting there!
The only thing I don't recycle is iron. I have a friend that I tell places I see iron at. He then goes and gets it with a truck. In turn, he gives me all the bikes he gets.
Step 1: CANS
The "bread and butter" of any honest recycling effort. As far as aluminum goes it is worth the most and is generally plentiful. I keep track of "tramp camps", teenage drinking spots, and most of all, I check the washes after a rain (sad but true). I also have my "regulars" who are kind enough to collect a bit and call me.
Step 2: Extruded Aluminum
The picture here is of tubing. There are many common uses of this. More than I can list. Lets just say from window frames to a Febreeze aerosol can, extruded aluminum is everywhere.
Step 3: Aluminum Wire
For a contractor its not worth the time to pay a person to strip it. Yes, it is hard to strip and just sucks in general to do so.
Step 4: .....more Aluminum
Aluminum is everywhere! There are several grades and they are all taken. Just try not to recycle good bike parts........please.
Step 5: Brass
This is a picture of an ornamental light switch cover and some hose bibs I found attached to washing machine hoses.
This is actually 2 different types of brass but you get the picture....lol
Step 6: Copper Tubing
This I do not get all that much, but its out there. This was found rolled up attached to a discarded swamp cooler.
Step 7: Insulated Copper Wire
All wire housing needs to be stripped away. It is common stuff and easy to find. This is a cord off of a vacuum cleaner and some thermostat wire that was the end of a roll.
Step 8: Stripped Wire
Here in Arizona it is illegal to strip and sell wire. All this is "cut off pieces".
Step 9: Automotive Batteries
Heavens yes they are HEAVY! I almost hate it when i see one. This is when I pull the "green card" and tell myself its for the environment as much as myself.
Step 10: Elecrtic Motors
Fairly easy to find but also heavy and come in all sizes.
Step 11: Before You Cash In....
Call around and check prices! Do not be fooled by coupons, a clean operation, or a smile! It is hard to know your recyclers but their business is open to question......and do so. Just because its a non-profit organization means nothing.
It is a standard practice to add different items on the scale as you take a weight. Check the individual totals to see if the actual weight you got was the same told to you.
It is common not get a receipt. At least look his (or notebook) over to see if its legit bookkeeping. He could be robbing you AND his boss. One more thing about a receipt........just because its CASH......and there is no ID taken......a receipt is usually available on request for your own "records".
Finally, you will encounter drug users. DO NOT BE SCARED. The one time you can get a doper to be honest, is with a scale! Good Luck
Fortunately, I do not have a junk yard out back. Other than a few buckets, an occasional aluminum rim, some stainless pots or pans, or a radiator, I keep my mess low. The big mess is to strip wire, but it pays!
It seems I make money of other people waste. Huge waste and I see no end to it anytime soon.
Will we ever learn?