Saving the planet is a hot topic at the moment and we can all do our bit to help. This includes buying less stuff and recycling more.
Luckily for us, brands are also on board and are offering a range of incentives to encourage us to hand over our used belongings to recycle, which we would probably normally just chuck in the bin.
In this post, I’ll show you how to make money and get freebies in exchange for recycling.
Here we go…
Swap old clothes & textiles for vouchers & Nectar points
Take a bag of unwanted clothes into your nearest H&M and get a £5 voucher towards your next £25 spend in-store and online.
It’s one voucher per bag, which can be clothes and also textiles, so like duvet sheets, curtains, etc. And can be in any condition. The best part? The stuff you donate doesn’t even have to be from H&M!
You can also use your vouchers on the home section online. Bonus!
M&S offers 50 Sparks points every time you ‘Shwop’. Trade-in items of clothing at their Shwop bins in exchange for M&S points. The clothes you recycle don’t even have to be from M&S.
Your clothes you hand in will go straight to Oxfam to either resell in one of their stores or recycle. So you’re doing a good deed and getting rewarded with points!
Alternatively, donate a bag of unwanted clothes or soft furnishings straight to Oxfam and they’ll give you a voucher for £5-off a £35 spend at M&S.
There are some terms with this offer. At least one item must be M&S and you have to use the voucher within the same calendar month. Plus, it’s only valid in clothing, home or beauty (so not food, unfortunately!) You can, however, use it with your Sparks card offers.
With this in mind, it might be worth timing your donation. Especially if you’ve got your eye on a nice winter coat, a fancy occasion dress or you’re planning some Christmas shopping!
Oxfam also has a scheme called ‘tag your bag‘, which might be a better option if you collect Nectar points.
Sign up online to Tag Your Bag and you’ll receive 100 Nectar points once you’ve linked your Nectar card details. Oxfam will then send you personalised tags in the post to attach to your bag of items.
They use your tags to track each item you donate. So once your item sells, they reward you with 2 Nectar points per £1 they raise. Sounds good to me!
Grab a pair of any brand used leggings and take them down to Sweaty Beaty to recycle. In return, you’ll get a £10-off voucher when you spend £50 or more.
This might sound expensive, but if you’re a loyal fan of the brand, I’m sure you’ll love this deal. It’s one voucher per customer, regardless of how many pairs you bring. Definitely worth it to help save the planet and get cute workout clothes at a discount rate!
Drop off any brand of clean, dry clothing or shoes in a collection box at your local Levi’s store. Every time you recycle something, you’ll receive a voucher for 10% off any single, regular-priced item in-store.
Donate unwanted Monsoon clothes to your local store and get a £10-off voucher to spend on any purchases £50 or more. Just hand in your clothes at any Monsoon store and you’ll get the voucher straight away.
The T&Cs state: ‘This offer is only available at the time of donation and cannot be redeemed at a later date.’ I think this means you can only redeem your voucher on the same day you donate your unwanted goods.
If this is the case, it’s definitely worth having a look at what you’ll spend your voucher on first!
Bag up any old, unwanted or used-up clothes and textiles from any brand, in any condition to a Monki store. In return, they will give you a 10% off voucher, valid for up to six months.
reGAIN is a new app that offers discount codes and coupons from top brands in exchange for you recycling your used clothes.
Simply download the app, pack up a minimum of 10 items and drop them at a local collection point. They’ll send you coupons once they’ve received the items. The more you send, the more you save!
Recycle packaging for free makeup & beauty products
This one is very exciting for all beauty lovers! Get a free MAC lipstick worth a whopping £17.50 when you hand in six empty MAC packaging to a counter or store. This is part of their ‘Back to MAC’ campaign, and it’s ongoing.
Pick up a free Lush face mask worth £6.50! All you have to do is return five Lush black pots to your nearest Lush store. They ask that you return them clean so give them a quick wipe and you’re good to go.
Pick up travel beauty product worth £9 when you return 10 used Kiehl’s product packages to your local Kiehl’s store.
If you’re a regular at Kiehl’s, pop in pick up a rewards card to get it stamped every time you hand in your old packaging. Alternatively, just save them up and hand them in all at once to collect your freebie.
Free Origins samples for recycling beauty packaging
Recycle packaging at your nearest Origins store or concession stand and get a free sample-sized beauty product of your choice. This includes their Plantscription serum, Glow Co Nuts mask and Charcoal Mask.
This works similar to Kiehl’s so you get a stamp card and each time you recycle you get a stamp. Once you’ve got six stamps you get a free sample product. They accept packaging from any brand and you can recycle like glass or plastic jars, bottles, tubes and more.
They don’t advertise the freebie as such on their website. So I think this one is at the discretion of each store/stand.
Origins also usually run the below offer on Earth Day (22nd April) so keep an eye on their social media.
Bring your empty beauty and skincare products from L’Occitane (or any brand) and get 10% off a shiny new full-sized product! They accept lip balm tubes, makeup remover bottles, fragrance bottles and loads more.
Are there any other brands that offer rewards for recycling beauty products?
Brands are always running incentives to help encourage you to recycle more. It’s all about having your finger on the pulse.
Some limited-time-only recycling schemes I’ve seen which might come back are:
- Brow Pen at Benefit – you could hand in any old mascara at a counter & get a new Benefit brow pen
- £5 voucher at John Lewis – were trialling a scheme where loyalty members got £5 off a beauty product for recycling
- Free £5 Body Shop voucher – The Body Shop were offering a £5 voucher in exchange for used packaging
Make sure you sign up to your favourite brand’s email newsletter and follow them on social media to be the first to hear about a new freebie.
Trade-in your tech for rewards
Recycle any Apple device online and you’ll get a gift card to spend on your next Apple purchase. It does depend on the condition and what device it is, so it’s best to be modest with your expectations.
Microsoft has a trade-in service where you can send them any qualifying device and save money towards your next purchase. If it’s not worth anything, they’ll still recycle it for free and wipe the device for you. How nice!
Companies that pay you to recycle
This site offers up to £20 cash for your old GHDs depending on model and condition. If you’re not fussed about the money and just want to recycle yours, GHD also has its own responsible recycling programme.
Sites like Music Magpie* offer really good rates for trading in old phones, laptops, DVDs, CDs and more. All you have to do is sign up and ship your items off with their free service. Then they’ll inspect and pay you for any valid items. (If you use my link* to complete a trade, we’ll both get £5!)
Get paid for recycling ink cartridges
There are a number of sites that pay you for empty ink cartridges, including:
- Cash for cartridges – paying up to £4.50 for ink cartridges
- The recycling factory – offering £1.50 or 125 Tesco Clubcard points per cartridge
- Printer cartridge recycling – approx £2 per cartridge
Keen on recycling products from brands that haven’t been listed? Check out the Terracycle website. This helps you find places to recycle stuff from your favourite companies.
Get paid to recycle cans, bottles & plastic bags
More and more companies are starting to reward recyclers of cans, bottles and plastic bags now, including:
- Iceland – 10p for every bottle in ‘reverse vending machine’ in selected stores
- Merlin attractions – giving 50% off attractions when you recycle coca-cola bottles at any reverse vending machine
- Ocado bag recycle bonus – 5p for every bag you give them to recycle, even from other supermarkets!
There are also can recycling centres across the UK, which offer cash for cans. Find your nearest centre now.
You don’t see many Cash 4 Clothes places anymore, but there are still some around the UK.
They offer instant cash (up to 50p per kilo) for any clean, unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. It won’t make you a millionaire, but every little helps! Find out more and look for your nearest drop-off.
Flog loo rolls, wine bottles, jars & more for cash
I kid you not, people will buy anything on selling sites! Sell anything that could be recycled around your house, including:
- loo rolls
- wine bottles
- empty perfume bottles
- champagne corks
- egg containers
- clothes buttons
- and loads more.
People buy these for crafts or home accessories, so it’s worth trying to sell them before you recycle. Just remember, these items sell best in bulk so bundle together your items for maximum profit!
Save money at coffee shops with reusable cups
Ok, this isn’t technically recycling. BUT bringing your own reusable coffee cup to a coffee shop can save you money AND help save the environment.
Plus, coffee shops actually reward you with discounts of up to 50p every time you bring your own cup.
I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you have a coffee every morning, it quickly adds up. And the cup will soon pay for itself.
Here are the best offerings:
|Company||Reusable cup saving||Reusable cup cost|
|Pret A Manger||50p saving on hot & cold drinks||£10|
|Caffè Nero||Double loyalty stamps||£11 (on website)|
|Waitrose||Free drink with a loyalty card||£3|
|Virgin trains||20p||Bring your own|
So there we have it! Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to declutter and get recycling to help save the planet and your wallet.