Saturday, July 02, 2005

Trash Into Cash

I've been thinking lately about water bottles. More specifically, I've been thinking about how much water bottles are worth. I have this terrible habit of leaving empty water bottles lying around and letting them accumulate in piles in my car and in my room. Gross, I know. Today was cleaning day so as I was looking at my collection of bottles I wondered if like aluminum cans, I could cash in on them at the recycling center. After doing some research on the net I realized that all this time I've been giving away my money to the city (the city collects the recyclable goods with the trash). Evidentally this whole time I could have been cashing in on the CRV (California Refund Value) on almost all my plastic and glass containers.

I've always been a fan of recycling for environmental reasons but now recycling will really start paying off for me. Granted, you probably won't get rich off of recycling but if you're going to do it anyways (and you should), then you might as well get paid to do it. What's amazing is that more than 1 billion water bottles are ending up in the trash every year in California and that’s about $26 million in unclaimed California Refund Value (CRV) deposits annually. All those plastic bottles also add up to a total of 194 thousand yards of cubic landfill space each year, enough to cover an area 50 yards wide by one inch deep from the coast of San Francisco to San Luis Obispo (source: EMA).

Heres the low down:

4 cents per container less than 24 ounces
8 cents per container more than 24 ounces
For juice containers above 48 ounces, no deposit is collected or paid back to you.

Examples of CRV items
Soda bottles
Soda cans
Beer cans
Beer bottles
Water bottles
Sports drinks
Tea and coffee drinks
Juices ( less than 48 ounces )

Items NOT included in the CRV program:
Wine bottles
Milk jugs
Juice boxes ( Tetra Pak )
Juices in foil pouches
Juices ( more than 48 ounces )
Diet drinks

Don't be surprised if you see me dumpster diving for bottles and cans!

I made another payment today to mentally psyche msyelf out. Now I've got the debt down to the $17k's!

Current Debt: $17,936.31

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Graham said...

Good luck with your journey to become debt free. I don't have any doubt from your conviction that you will succeed.

It's weird because the enterprise you're showing is very entrepreneurial... and probaly will open your mind to larger opportunities to make money.

Like I said, good luck :) and you have a great blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi LPKitten, I really love your website, I even added it to one of my favorites. The reason is because I relate so much to your story and situation! I am in the same situation except I am at about 21K, I am in a budget, paying it off, same story got into so much debt and dont even know where I spent it. Now I am working really hard to bring it down and also saved money aside to do a little trip but feel very guilty because i feel i should use it to payoff my debt instead of traveling i have like 3K but I rather go on the trip. The good part of it is that I charge NO More ! Only spend if I have cash. Good luck and keep posting informational stuff and your stories, I really enjoy and I am very inspired!

Anonymous said...

Debt isn't as scary as one might think. I've been offered and accepted a few low interest credit cards a few years ago that allowed me to make a smalll profit by investing the profits in bond funds to my advantage. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone. We seem to have in common that we see the advantage in recycling what others throw away profusely as an additional income. I have a few inside sources of recyclable material. I don't go outside of this source and make about $500 a year in addition to my regular income. Your debt is manageable.

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