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6 Ways To Make Money By Recycling In Singapore

Earn rewards by recycling e-waste, plastic bottles, and pre-loved clothing.

For some, recycling can be a chore. For example, you are required to separate your used bottles from your trash and clean them before depositing them in recycling bins.

But what if we told you that there are ways to get rewarded for recycling? While helping to slow climate change is an admirable objective, it does not hurt to save the earth and earn some tangible rewards such as points for vouchers, credit, or even cash.

Singapore has a national target to reduce the amount of waste sent to Semakau Landfill by 30 per cent per capita per day by 2030. However, the recycling rate for Singaporean households has fallen from 17% in 2019 to 13% percent in 2020, as recycling collections were suspended due to the pandemic.

To keep Singapore back on track, here are some ways it pays to up your recycling game.

#1 Be Rewarded For Recycling Your E-Waste Come July 2021

Many of us own a range of electronic products such as laptops, smartphones, and televisions. When these appliances go out of fashion or stop working, be sure to look out for a range of new e-waste recycling bins (pictured) launched under NEA’s e-waste Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme.

Source: NEA

From 1st July 2021, more than 300 of these e-waste recycling bins will be set up across the island to collect a range of electrical and electronic products, specifically from the following 5 categories:

  • Infocomm Technology (ICT)
  • Large household appliances (e.g. TVs, air conditioners, washing machines and dryers, electric mobility devices)
  • Lamps
  • Battery
  • Solar Panels

You can earn points for recycling your old devices by, first scanning the QR code to login to the system, followed by submitting images of the equipment.

Once approved, you can then redeem shopping vouchers through points earned. If you cannot wait till July, take note that some of these e-waste bins have already been set up during the soft launch. They are located at Leisure Park Kallang’s Cold Storage, Giant Hypermarket (Tampines), and Harvey Norman at 9 Raffles Boulevard, Parkway Parade, Northpoint City, Bedok Point, ESR Business Park, Djitsun Mall, and Suntec City.

#2 Earn Points For Plastic Bottles At Recycle N Save Vending Machines

Next time you are done gulping down with your favourite beverage, keep the bottle, rinse it, and put them into these Recycle N Save machines (pictured). To earn points for shopping vouchers, collect 10 or more plastic bottles before loading them into the machines.

Source: Recycle N Save

There are dozens of these Recycle N Save machines (RVMs) located island-wide. Check the Recycle N Save website for the nearest machine at your vicinity. Rewards offered by the RVMs are supported by NTUC FairPrice, CapitaLand, Anywheel, SportSG, and Sentosa.

Follow the instructions on the RVM screen to redeem your reward. Take note that not all bottles will be accepted. Ideally, they need to fit the machine’s sizing and have their barcodes intact.

#3 Trade-In Your Apple And Samsung Smartphones

If you have pre-loved Samsung and Apple devices, you can check with the respective tech giants’ trade-in programmes to see if the device has value.

Apple provides trade-in credit for their eligible smartphones, tablets, computers, and watches. You can check the value of the device on their website to get an estimate. Once verified and approved, Apple provides credit towards your next purchase. If your device is not eligible, you still can drop it off in-store for Apple to have it recycled.

Samsung runs a trade-in programme for eligible smartphones. Once verified and approved, you can either offset the value in the next purchase or receive cash via bank transfer. A third-party provider, PC Dreams, runs the programme. Even if your mobile phone is not eligible, you can also opt to recycle your Samsung products in-store at PC Dreams.

#4 Earn Cash For Recyclables At The Cash-For-Trash Programme (Suspended)

Cash-for-trash is a recycling programme where residents can head to specific collection points at allocated dates and times, to exchange recyclable trash for cash. Eligible items are aluminium cans, metal, paper, plastic, small household electrical appliances, and clothes.

There are stipulated rates for each category of items, such as those tabled from 800 SUPER (accurate as of 2018/2019). The collector will weigh them and pay according to the amount provided.

Recyclable item Rates
Aluminium cans $0.50/kg
Metal $0.10/kg
Paper/Cardboard $0.10/kg
Small electrical appliances Subject to valuation
Clothes $0.20/kg

The programme is currently temporarily suspended amid the pandemic, but interested parties can watch for updates from the public waste collectors, town councils, or NEA’s webpage. As of 2021, the appointees are 800 SUPER Waste Mangement, Alba Wah & Hua, and SembWaste.

#5 Sell Your Clothes At Refash

If you have more clothes than your wardrobe can take, sell them for some cash at thrift shop business, Refash. Only women’s clothes are accepted, and eligible items can earn you rates from $0.50 to $6 per piece.

On its website, Refash suggests packing your clothes in minimum 10 pieces per box. Sellers can then head down to their physical retail stores and HQ, to drop off your items for their evaluation. For drop-offs at their HQ or for their courier service, Refash requires that you fill up their form. There is a $10 fee for the courier pick-up service.

#6 Cash Converters

Before Carousell, one of the best-known brands for secondhand re-selling among Singaporeans was Cash Converters. It opened its first store in Singapore in 1999 and has operated ever since. There are 5 stores located at Tampines, Jurong, Ang Mo Kio, Chinatown, and Toa Payoh.

Selling pre-loved items at Cash Converters simply requires a visit to the store. An employee will evaluate the goods on site and make a valuation. Bring along any related packaging such as the product box, accessories, and warranty card, as well as your own photo identification.

The items you bring down need to be in good working condition to be accepted. If not, you may need to lug the items back home.

The Dangers Of Waste On Our Environment

Singapore has a waste problem: it does not have enough room for it. Forecasts project that the country’s only landfill – the Pulau Semakau landfill – will be full by 2035. To make matters worse, countries like China have since closed their doors to waste disposal.

While we do our part to cut Singapore’s waste output and save the environment, these rewards surely do not hurt.

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