Paper Recycling: An Easy Source of Extra Income for Anyone

12/2/2013

One of the easiest (and best) ways of making extra money is by collecting old newspapers and selling them to a "recycling plant" in your area.

Just look around your own home - in the garage or the basement. What do you do with the old newspapers after you've read them? Most likely they just pile up in a corner of the garage or basement until one of your kids asks if he can haul them off for the school or cub scout paper drive. Or maybe your wife and kids get ambitious some week end, clean out the garage and haul all those newspapers off to the collection truck at the local shopping center.

It's true that selling stacks of newspapers you've accumulated during the past couple of months or so won't make you rich, or really amount to much extra income. But think about the stacks of old newspapers you would have if you were to collect and haul away for the people in your neighborhood - say a ten-pound stack of newspapers from each house on your street every Saturday. The picture changes, doesn't it?

If you're serious, and get yourself properly organized, you can easily make $300 or more every weekend.

Right now the going rate for old newspapers is about $50 a ton, depending upon your area. Most recycling depots prefer the papers loose, rather than bundled or sacked. Check with the recycling plant you plan to sell to before delivery to them. Cardboard - ordinary cardboard boxes that have been flattened - is bringing approximately $75 a ton. If you're going to collect old newspapers, you may just as well take cardboard too. Most people have old boxes around that are just taking up space, and some will even pay you to get rid of them.

You start by clearing a space in your garage for storage. One side of a two-car garage, or just an 8 by 12 foot space would be sufficient. If you have a garden shed that is dry, that would work well also. Some collectors even rent space in a neighborhood mini-warehouse.

Next, you should place an ad in your community newspaper or the weekly shopping news, something like this: Junk, old newspapers and cardboard boxes hauled away. Phone 123-4567. Then you visit your neighbors. Tell them you are collecting and hauling away all the old newspapers and boxes in he neighborhood each week. You might even offer them $5 a month if they'll have everything ready for you when you make your weekend collection rounds.

On Saturdays, starting at about 9:00 a.m., rent an open trailer and hitch it to your car. If you have a pick-up truck, so much the better. With your wife and kids, a couple of neighbor boys, or perhaps a couple of teenage "huskies" you've hired through your local high school, start making your rounds. You drive the car with the trailer. Your helpers, one on each side of the side, knock on each door and ask the residents if they have any old newspapers or cardboard boxes you can haul away for them.

It would be advantageous for you to have a large sign on each side of your trailer, and on each side of the car as well. It might read: Paper Collection Service.

Visit the people you've talked to on your block first. That will give you some paper in the trailer and from there, you just expand. Go to the next block and the next, driving up and down the streets, visiting, stopping at all the homes, in an ever expanding ripple from your own street.

When your trailer is full of old newspapers, you can either take them directly to your recycling plant and sell the load, or take them to your storage area, unload them, and get everything organized. It's very important, though, that you get right back to the job of knocking on doors and collecting more newspapers and cardboard.

Some people will (foolishly) collect a load, take it in for sale, and then waste time gloating over the easy money they've just made. One load won't make you rich or even really pay for your time. Get right back on the job and collect as many loads as the daylight hours will allow.

Make the same rounds; follow the same collection routes, at least once every two weeks. Once you've hot the routine working well, you'll be ready to hire a couple of high school or college students to help, perhaps with another car and trailer.

The best way to pay your help is with a percentage of the tonnage you sell. And then too, once you have it all together, you'll want to go with a truck or trailer that allows you to haul a couple of tons of paper per load.

It's important that you make regular rounds, calling on the same houses regularly. After about six months of this, you'll be ready to open a local recycling depot.

This simply means taking the accumulation of paper out of your home or garden shed and moving it to a business location. Because of your advertising in the newspapers, and the sign on your truck or trailer, people will be calling you during the week to come and pick up paper they have ready for you. Also, your neighbors will very likely be dropping by with armloads of paper for you from time to time, as well. Specifically, these are the reasons you'll need storage space to store the paper in your garage or other storage area until you have enough to load up and take to the recycling plant.

One of the best locations for your recycling depot is an abandoned or closed down service station. Or perhaps a vacant lot, or even a corner of a large shopping center parking area. You'll need a scale (you can rent or lease one of these for a small amount), and a quick set-up tent or large truck. What you want to do is establish a location where people can come to you. They bring their newspapers, you weigh what they've brought and pay them a penny a pound for newspapers and two cents a pound for cardboard boxes. You can hire someone to man this center for you during the day, or perhaps only open between 4 and 6 o'clock in the afternoons. Advertise your hours, and be dependable, so that people can count on you.

To establish your location, you'll have to check with the owner or management, and agree not to interfere with their regular mode of business. If you do go to a shopping center parking lot, sell them on the idea that your recycling depot - clean and neat - will actually bring more people into the shopping center on a regular basis. The important thing always is to establish yourself in the best possible location for the least amount of money from your pocket.

Even though you have a collection depot, you'll still want to continue your week end collection rounds. But with a collection depot, you can hire other people to do the driving, knock on doors, make the collections and transfer their loads into the depot facility. If it's a big truck or trailer, you'll be selling ten to fifteen tons of paper when ever you make your trips to the recycling plant.

Another important thing you should think about doing is getting the whole community involved with you. Get them to thinking about recycling paper and selling it to you. Run some promotions; work for free publicity; and be conspicuous. Don't be embarrassed; everyone is aware of the need for recycling everything that can be recycled. And you'll be admired as someone with the ambition to make it happen.

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