Starbucks has been on a mission to reduce waste since 1985. Now, it happily sells customers a $1 mug which pays for itself in 10 visits (each refill comes with a $.10 discount). And you don't even have to buy their mug to get the discount—simply bring in your own and get $.10 off on your morning coffee.
- Learn more: Personal Tumbler Project
2. Apple Computers
Apple is so keen to encourage customers to recycle that it launched the "Reuse and Recycling Program," which offers you a gift card equivalent to the value of your recycled device. It's an easy four-step process: describe the device, receive the estimate, ship your device (phones, tablets, laptops and desktops all qualify), and receive the gift card.
- Learn more: Reuse and Recycling Program
If you like MAC makeup (who doesn't?) you will want to get on their "Back to MAC" program. Just return any six empty MAC makeup containers to MAC (in-store or online) and get a free lipstick of your choice in return.
- Learn more: Back to MAC Program
4. Office Depot
Office Depot pays you to recycle your ink and toner cartridges. You get paid in rewards points, which accrue towards gift certificates (1,000 points = $10 certificate). You can recycle as many as 10 cartridges per month at 200 points per cartridge—so you could earn a $10 certificate in as little as one month!
- Learn more: Ink & Toner Rewards
If you’re with AT&T, you’ll be thrilled to know that AT&T has its own recycling rewards program. The program rewards you for trading in your phones, batteries and accessories. You get an AT&T promotion card that can be used like cash to make future purchases.
- Learn more: Return. Recycle. Reward
Staples has two cool programs that pay you to recycle what you already own. The first is for technology; Staples pays you to trade in your old devices. In exchange, you get a Staples eCard you can use like cash. The second is for ink and toner cartridges; you get $2 in Staples Rewards (which are like cash) for every cartridge you turn in (for up to 10 cartridges each month).
When you’re ready to upgrade your refrigerator and freezer to newer money- and energy-saving models, you can contact Comed/Exelon to come pick up and recycle your used units for free in a way that is environmentally friendly—and they’ll also pay you $35 for the privilege. And if you happen to have a working air conditioner you want to dispose of, they’ll pay you an additional $10 for it.
- Learn more: Fridge/Freezer Recycling Program
ConEdison has a similar program—they’ll pick up and recycle your used fridge/freezer (and A/C if accompanied by a working fridge/freezer) and pay you $50. You can recycle up to two fridge/freezer sets.
- Learn more: Remove & Recycling Program
This unique program pays you to recycle ink and toner cartridges (small and large) as well as cell phones. You just collect them and send them in and Empties4Cash sends you a check. You can earn between $.10 and $1.50 for your used cartridges and cell phones.
- Learn more: Empties4Cash Recycling
Not to be outdone by Apple, Microsoft has its own trade-in and recycling program. The company will take used laptops, gaming consoles, tablets, phones and games, then issue you a gift card that can be used like cash. You can also trade in your battery for free recycling (although Microsoft won't pay you to do that). All you need to do is take your device to the nearest Microsoft retail center to get a quote and exchange it for your gift card.
Learn more: Trade-In and Recycle Program