Side Hustle Series – Bottle and Metal Recycling

This is my second article in my side hustle series posts, and it’s a side hustle I’m quite passionate about….. recycling.

I’m a millennial so from birth its been hammered into my brain that we need to recycle and reuse as much as possible to minimise our impact on mother earth. So for me making a little cash whilst doing something that I love like recycling makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

How do I make money from recycling?

The ability to apply this side hustle to your own situation will depend on where you are located.

In Australia at the time of posting the following states offer $0.10 per bottle recycling.

Coming Soon

Additionally metal and other paid recycling will again depend on your rules and regulations in your state. Check them out online or head on down to your local recycling plant to get the full story for yourself.

How does the bottle refund / recycling scheme work and what are the benefits?

The bottle refund / recycling scheme works by adding a small extra deposit on top of the price of a beverage. This extra deposit is then refunded when the purchaser returns the empty drink container for recycling.

The benefits of the recycling scheme for bottles are:

  • Reduce bottle / container related litter by encouraging litter to be picked up with the reward being the $0.10 per bottle/container.
  • Improved Recycling through more effective capture and sorting with reduced risk of contamination.

So how do I know what bottles or containers are part of the bottle refund / recycling scheme?

Bottles in your state or territory are marked with a stamp which indicates their ability to be recycled as part of the bottle refund / recycling scheme. Some bottle types are not able to be recycled and will not result in a refund being paid. More information on the types of bottles and containers that are recyclable under the scheme is available in the links provided above.

How much money do I make from recycling? and is it worth it?

We make about $50 bi-monthly on returning our bottles. Its not huge dollars, but it’s money for jam. Additionally due to the set up of the scheme you might as well do it as you are paying for the scheme through increased drink prices.

We additionally make money from recycling metal that my husband picks up from his side hustle business. This is infrequent but our last visit nabbed us $80 for recycling a heavy metal frame (it pays to know your recycling rates).

I track all my side hustle income in my Income and Expense Tracker.

What tips do you have for bottle recycling?

I separate my paid recycling items from my normal recyclables by placing these in a separate bin (similar to my garbage bin). I bought an additional bin for this purpose off of Gumtree for $10 many years ago. Having an additional bin is really handy as you can just load it in the car when it’s full, which makes dropping off and collecting the cash at the deposit centre a breeze.

Not everyone around you is going to want to take part in this scheme, and that’s okay. If those close to you don’t participate I recommend taking the opportunity to ask them if they would collect them for you, provide them a bin, and pick them up when full.

Also don’t be afraid to pick up a can / bottle off the side of the road. It’s helping yourself, and helping the environment.

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Photo by Vladislav Vasnetsov on

#ProjectPan – What is Project Pan and why you should care about it?

If you’ve ever seen the hashtag #ProjectPan and wondered what the fuss is all about this article is for you.

I like others first heard about Project Pan through an Instagram account I followed posting an empty make up tube they had completed. I didn’t think much of it until I saw another account posting a photo of their empty moisturiser. After that I decided to do a little more research into what Project Pan was all about.

What is Project Pan?

Project Pan is a challenge devised for lovers of all things beauty and makeup. Particularly those who may have a problem with buying more products before the previous products are used (lets be honest we are all guilty of this). The aim of the project is to reduce the wastage associated with overbuying beauty and makeup products that often expire before being used.

The initial Project Pan was called Project 10 Pan. Project 10 Pan involved picking 10 beauty and/or makeup products, you then made the conscious effort to use them all up before buying more. The term ‘Pan’ refers to hitting the empty ‘pan’ of the make up container.

What is the origin of Project Pan?

It was super tricky to find the origin of Project Pan, however after much research on the internet I managed to find that a blogger by the name of Lollipop26 first coined the term in the 00’s (She used to have have a YouTube / Blog but alas it doesn’t seem to exist any more).

What does Project Pan look like in 2021?

Project Pan is a much more fluid concept. It no longer specifies the number of items it could apply to, and often its applied to all products by those who follow Project Pan principles. The principles of Project Pan have remained the same.

Principles of Project Pan

  1. Select the makeup and / or beauty items you wish to apply the principles of Project Pan to. This could be a particularly troublesome item which you have multiples of. For me this is Shampoos, Conditioners, and Moisturisers.
  2. Only buy replacement makeup and /or beauty items once you have finished the previous ones. This gives you time to really get a feel for the item, if you would purchase the same item again, and what you will buy next. The aim of this is to be more conscious with your purchases in future.
  3. Work out the order of use for your Project Pan items. If you have more than one of a particular item then you need to check the expiry dates of the items, and determine an order to use them in. The aim of this is to ensure that you use up the items closest to expiry to reduce wastage.
  4. Be consistent with using your Project Pan items. Keep them in a place where you will use them daily or as appropriate for the item (eg. in a place easily visible and not somewhere it can get hidden or forgotten).
  5. Post and share Project Pan. This one is optional of course but given that Project Pan aims to reduce wastage it makes sense to spread the word to others. The more people reducing waste and making more conscious decisions the better in my mind.

Why is Project Pan something I care about?

For me Project Pan represents a great way to be more conscious of my buying habits when it comes to make up and beauty. Since applying Project Pan to my own beauty products a few years ago I have found the habits I formed have stuck with me. I always have items I’m working on getting through before using my next one, and if I’m gifted items I already have I have a system in place to ensure they get used before they expire. An unintended consequence of Project Pan has meant that my beauty regime has become quite minimalist, and I don’t miss having a huge (and largely unused) makeup / beauty collection.

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Photo by Anete Lusina on

The cost of owning chickens

We have owned our chickens for well over 18 months and I’m keen to share our experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly

In April 2019 we purchased chickens in the initial desire to reduce our free range egg bill, which in a household that loves eggs is about $10 a week. Since our ‘girls’ entered our lives we have learnt a lot about owning and keeping chickens, and I’m keen to share our experiences.

Photo by Pixabay on


Initial Set Up Costs

  • Chickens $25 each x 2 (found via Gumtree)
  • Chicken Food $35 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Chicken feed container $15 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Water container $15 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Pea Straw $20 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Hutch $20 (We haggled and found ours second-hand. We then cleaned it up and painted it using cheap sample pots. It scrubbed up pretty well – see photo below)
Our Chicken Hutch where our girls stay safe at night, and when they don’t want to be out.

Ongoing Costs

  • Pea Straw every 6 months $40 / year
  • Chicken Food $70 / year

Cost Benefit Analysis

The total set up costs for two chickens was $155. It took another month before our girls started laying eggs, and luckily for us they reward us with a steady 2 eggs per day (throughout the year).

To date we’ve spent $230 on our chickens and with the cost of 12 eggs being $6 for the quality of egg we’ve become accustomed to this investment took 38 weeks of laying to pay back. Therefore we’ve had almost a year of eggs at no cost to us which equates to almost $300 worth of eggs.

ROI (Return On Investment) = ( $600 expected investment value – $300 investment cost) / $300 investment cost

ROI = 100% approx. investment return

(Not including any of your own time spent caring for them)

Other Considerations

The Good

We have absolutely loved owning chickens. Our chickens are very friendly and have become much loved pets. Our kids have named them ‘Snowball’ and ‘Kentucky’ and they love a cuddle (both the kids and the chickens do). We spoil our chickens rotten and they happily enjoy our veggie scraps daily. We also free range our chickens throughout the day, and they love eating snails and our weeds.

The Bad

Chickens are pretty low maintenance in terms of a pet or animal, but its still additional work. You will need to have time to check their food daily, feed them scraps regularly, check their pen daily for any hazards/pests, restock hay, check them frequently for any diseases (we’ve been very lucky not to have any issues), collect the eggs daily, and wash the eggs before use. If you take into consideration this additional time your return on investment goes into negative territory real quick.

The Ugly

Mucking out the hutch is my least favourite chore in the house. It takes a morning to clean it out, scrub it, spray it down, and restock everything every month or so. It’s a dirty and smelly job, but the silver lining is that the chicken poo is awesome for the garden.

Would I do it again?

The short answer to this is ‘yes’ but I would not do it for the sole reason of saving money on eggs. This is because when your own time is accounted for owning chickens has a negative ROI.

We will own chickens again because:

  • The eggs taste amazing,
  • Its nice knowing that the chickens are well treated,
  • We enjoy using the chicken poo in our garden,
  • The pest control in the veggie patch is much appreciated,
  • and they are extremely beloved pets to our children.

Should you do it?

Chickens are a great pet with benefits. They still require time and money to look after, but if you don’t mind that you will be rewarded with tasty eggs and hopefully a good friend.

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Photo by Alison Burrell on