To find the highest paying recycling centers in your area, search the Yellow Pages or Earth911 to find recycling centers, then contact each company and request buying prices for the items you're recycling. Earth911 allows you to narrow your search by the item you're recycling, such as glass or metal.
Ferrous metals, which are metals containing iron, are more valuable to recycle than non-ferrous metals. A quick test to determine if you have a ferrous metal is to see if a magnet sticks; if it does, then you have a ferrous metal. Common ferrous metals include various types of steel and iron found in cars and household hardware and tools. Some common non-ferrous metals include copper, brass and aluminum.
The most valuable scrap metal to recycle is copper, found in electrical wiring, plumbing pipes and Christmas tree lights. The second most valuable scrap metal to recycle is brass, found in common household items such as lighting fixtures or keys.
You can also recycle bottles and cans. Certain states have bottle bills, under which the state pays five to 10 cents for empty bottles and cans. In many cities, you can conveniently recycle empties at a bottle return center, which is a machine that receives your items and returns a voucher redeemable for cash.