Can reusing and recycling save you money?

Posted on 16th February 2016

Can reusing and recycling save you money?
You're all probably well aware by now of the benefits of recycling – save the environment, stop the ice melting, slow down the use of our resources, and so on.

But what is the benefit of recycling to us, the individuals? Is recycling costing us money, or is it possible to save money whilst you save the earth? And what about our businesses, can they also make savings by going green?

Saving money as an individual
When trying to save money in a green way, individuals often have much more success with reusing and reducing their waste, rather than traditional recycling – due mostly to the fact that many people's recycling is taken away by the council to be treated.

The team at Money Saving Expert found, last year, that homeowners could save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds each year by reusing items and replacing expensive products with cheaper alternatives.

You can find an infographic on their site where they estimate that the average person could save up to £1,000 a year by selling on old or unworn clothes, £700 a year by making better use of their ingredients to reduce food waste, and over £450 a year by switching to tap water from bottled, and making coffee at home in reusable cups rather than going to coffee shops.

There are many ways to get creative with things which you might otherwise throw away – old clothes can be turned, with a little know-how, into new items, or at least used as cloths and rags around the home, ink cartridges can be refilled rather than replaced, and old electronics can be traded in at several high-street stores rather than being disposed of.

Another way in which individuals can make money by recycling is to sell waste to scrap dealers, or people who might otherwise need it. Doing some landscaping? Many people are happy to buy logs, soil, old bricks and other materials from you. Equally with building work or renovation, building materials and old furniture often sell well.

We also recently discussed selling on your waste, rather than disposing of it, in a blog post about saving money on skip hire.

Using Landfill Tax To Make Money Whilst Recycling
Unlike in the case of individuals, Businesses have a variety of ways to benefit recycling, but may find it harder to reuse their waste.

One of the main ways in which Businesses can save money by recycling, is by avoiding the landfill tax. Introduced in 1998, the landfill tax currently charges businesses £82 per tonne of waste disposed of in landfill, in an effort to encourage users to look at alternative means of disposal.

The local council in Kensington and Chelsea produced a document several years ago, when these rates were even lower, suggesting that by recycling just 50% of its waste, an average business could save as much as £500.

Not only could you save hundreds, if not maybe thousands, of pounds each year, but even modest offices can make a big change to the environment, with the council also adding that "Recycling one tonne of paper can save 7,000 gallons of water, 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space and 4,000 kilowatts of energy."

Following the lead of households and individuals, many businesses could also reuse some of their waste to save money – rather than paying to dispose of building waste, for example, why not try to sell it to recycling businesses or individuals looking to do their own work?

Do you have any tips of your own about how recycling can save you money? Share your thoughts and ideas with us, and we'll be sure to include them in future guides.

Got a topic you want us to cover? Let us know and we'll take a look.