Swap, deposit, sell: five tips to save money and the earth


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There are lots of good causes that cost money, so how refreshing is it to find one that not only saves money but maybe even makes some?

In the lead-up to Planet Ark's National Recycling Week from November 12 to 18, we've put together a list of cost-effective or even profitable ways you can part with your rubbish.

1. Buy (and sell) it

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Take advantage of Buy It Back Day on Saturday, November 17 and buy secondhand goods from your local op shop or recycling store.

Also, according to a 2018 report by Gumtree, the average household has $4200 worth of unwanted items lying around, so consider selling your usable but unwanted goods online. You can even do so on Charitizer and donate the profits to a charity of your choice.

2. Deposit it

If you live in one of the five states or territories that have container deposit schemes - South Australia, NSW, the ACT, the Northern Territory and now Queensland - you can get paid for empty bottles and cans.

The exact conditions and locations vary from place to place so make sure you do your research online!

3. Swap it

A popular activity during National Recycling Week is the Big Aussie Swap, where people with clothes, furniture and other items they no longer need swap them for items of similar value.

If there isn't one happening in your area, set up a swap party and barter your way to a better home.

4. Give it back

There are lots of products covered by product stewardship schemes that take back their products for free at the end of their life to be recycled. Examples include:

Cartridges 4 Planet Ark's printer cartridge recycling boxes can be found at all Officeworks stores and other participating retailers.

Mobile Muster's mobile phone recycling bins can be found at participating mobile stores.

Nespresso takes back its coffee pods at various drop-off locations or even via the post

5. Use it again

It's the kind of advice you'd expect from thrifty grandparents but it is amazing what you can do with materials previously bound for the rubbish bin.

Turn old files into jotting paper, old clothes into cleaning rags and food scraps into compost.

For more information about how to get involved in National Recycling Week, visit recyclingweek.planetark.org.

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Josh Cole is communications manager for Planet Ark. After working as a journalist and then in corporate communications Josh decided to go to where the grass was greener in the not-for-profit sector at Planet Ark.

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