How To Recycle Bottle Caps ♻️: Are Bottle Tops Recyclable?
Recycle Bottle Caps ♻️: Have you ever wondered why they always make us remove caps and tops from plastic bottles before we put them in the commingled bin? Similarly, we also talked about whether polystyrene and aluminium foil is recyclable or not. Check them out!
I know what you’re thinking, “This is a real hassle.” Well, I’ve got some good news for you! Apparently, plastic bottle caps are recyclable.
Recycling bottle caps is indeed possible, unlike in the past. We have a number of recycling options for it now.
– Mr Waster
According to an article here on whether you should keep the top on or off, we can now recycle in 2019 and 2020 not only metal bottle caps but also plastic ones. Let me explain further.
A bit about Waster
Before continuing the topic on how to recycle bottle caps, let me first explain why Waster is the right waste manager for you and your business.
Waster offers a real difference to small and medium companies. We provide all waste bin collections on flexible 30-day terms and do not charge hidden extras such as bin rentals, sites fees etc -you will never have to worry about recycling bottle caps!
You can easily arrange your bin services and junk collection today through our online portal. Or, you can call our friendly support team for more information and enquiries. Recycling for your small business has never been this easy!
Click the button below to learn more.
Now, back to explaining bottle caps and bottle tops recycling options!
Recycle bottle caps: a lingering problem in the environment?
Nowadays, pollution across the land and sea is rampant – particularly plastic pollution – which we have covered in many of our recent blogs.
According to an article investigating the contents of waste discovered on a Dutch beach, bottle caps ranks fifth among the most deadly water rubbish materials. Additional reports state that consumers leave behind 80 per cent of the plastic bottle caps found on the beach.
To add some more detail, here are the top 5 common rubbish items that I am talking about.
Top 5 most commonly found trash on beaches
- Fishing gear
- Plastic bags and utensils
- Cigarette butts
- Bottle caps
More than 10,000 bottle tops were retrieved from the Dutch North Sea coastline in 2016, alone. If that does not alarm you, then there is more.
Of course, we should not be surprised by how much plastic is in the sea – such as microplastics etc.
More than 80 per cent of bottle caps came from branded drinks and packaging. To add more detail, more than 70 per cent of the bottle caps were damaged. This indicates that the bottle caps found were already there for a long time – as we know that plastic takes almost forever to fully breakdown.
To expand and enlighten more, here is the statement from Floris van Hest, director of North Sea Foundation:
“Plastic caps are among the top five most commonly found items of litter on beaches worldwide. We hope that this report encourages industry, governments, and citizens to help resolve and reduce plastic cap pollution so that we can maintain a clean, healthy ocean and a well-functioning ecosystem, in our beautiful North Sea and other oceans worldwide.”
Last year, a viral video made rounds all across the internet that shows a gutted fish full of trash – which also contained bottle caps.
Take note that fish are not the only ones suffering from pollution. For example, people once discovered a turtle with a straw in its nose! See our blog on recycling chip packets.
Check out our blog here on what to know about recycling plastic drinking straws -it also involves a debate about whether you can recycle it or not.
Back to bottle caps, an estimated 20 million bottle caps were found during beach cleaning activities all around the Earth. To add, nobody knows the exact amount on how many of bottle tops wash up onshore.
The ocean plastic we see is literally the tip of an iceberg – with 90% plus underwater or invisible to the eye.
Bottle tops: everything is possible!
Before anything else, take note that you should recycle bottle caps without their designated bottles.
Remove and collect them first before anything else; separate them from their designated bottles. Read our recycling separation process while you’re at it.
Plastic bottle caps
For years, recycling collectors rejected plastic bottle tops because of their size.
They either slip and fall off through the machinery or straight-up just ruins the machinery.
That all changed just recently, as more and more facilities are already accepting plastic bottle tops – albeit with some processes to do first.
Make sure that you put all the collected bottle caps into a container with no air in it. With this in mind, take note that if there is air trapped in the container, the bottle tops will shoot off and damage the machinery in the recycling process.
Metal/aluminium bottle tops
Compared to plastic bottle caps, bottle tops made of metal and aluminium are easier and much more desirable to recycle. You just have to collect all metal and aluminium bottle caps and bottle tops in a container for later recycling.
Remember to seal your container tight to make sure that the bottle caps are properly stored to avoid jamming the machinery that processes the bottle tops.
Metal caps from jars
Recycling twist caps from jars is also possible! Just make sure that you properly rinse out the residue that the cap contains; afterwards, put it in a proper waste bin for future recycling.
To sum it all up, recycling any kinds of bottle tops is possible for as long as due process is followed for proper recycling.
As mentioned above, recycling facilities usually do not accept bottle caps because of their size. However, TerraCycle can accept and recycle bottle caps. They run a recycling program that involves a Zero Waste box. Further instructions will be discussed below.
First, check out our Bottle Caps – Zero Waste Box page if you plan on purchasing.
- Pick the box size you want to purchase – either small or medium for bottle caps.
- Only put the appropriate type of waste here. In this case, recycle any brand of plastic or metal bottle caps. We will discuss more details with you through our statements below.
- After you filled it up with the appropriate items, you can then ship the box to TerraCycle. Use the pre-paid shipping label affixed to the TerraCycle box. Rest assured that your sent items are recycled properly and safely.
Also, for you to ensure the proper recycling of your sent waste, remove all the excess or unnecessary products. Never let the purchased box get wet to prevent damage.
Do not send in bottles, liquids, or other types of beverage packaging.
Other way to use discarded bottle caps
There are other ways on how to use discarded bottle caps. Artists nowadays are getting more creative. They also use discarded bottle tops to create art with them.
Here is an example of how to use bottle caps as art.
Another way to utilise and benefit from bottle caps is to check if it is rare and sell it to collectors. In Australia, you can also, of course, donate the plastic bottle caps to an organisation like Envision. They use bottle caps to manufacturer prosthetic limbs for patients – and have collected over 5m bottle tops in Victoria alone!
*Update on this: the Envision Hands project was closed in early 2020. But recently, the project was opened anew as Precious Plastic Melbourne took over. Now, the bottle caps are processed and recycled through their micro-recycling facility in Melbourne. They recycle bottle caps into various, beautiful products. Check out some of their produced products on their Instagram account.
Conclusion on how to recycle bottle caps
Bottle caps are possible to recycle. With the right process and collection, local facilities will accept your collection of bottle tops that you put in your trash bin.
There are other alternatives to using instead of plastic, metal, and aluminium bottles. Check our blog about sustainable packaging to get a clear idea of how to be environmentally friendly.
The North Sea Foundation also introduced solutions to deal with the bottle cap pollution:
- government: introduce deposits for disposable plastic (single-use) drink packages, including the caps.
- industry: develop new types of packaging so that plastic leakage will no longer be a problem.
- consumers: use as many reusable bottles and caps possible, and dispose of waste properly.
Podcast: Can You Recycle Plastic Bottle Tops? ♻️ Recycle: Don’t Be A Waster!
Hello and welcome to another edition of our weekly podcast on all things recycling that is Recycle: Don’t be a Waster. In today’s episode we intend to cover I’ll be honest I think it’s one of the most common questions we get asked at waster and we are probably asked this question or at least once a day through telephone calls live chat etc and that is what do we do with plastic bottle tops everyone I suppose nearly every household buys plastic bottles of milk you know of fruit juice of different you know liquids and the bottles themselves can easily be recycled it’s you can just dispose of them in a in a commingled bin some of them also like coke bottles etc I believe you can dispose of in container deposit schemes you know where you get your 10 cents back but when it comes to the actual plastic bottle top yeah it is a much more tricky option much more tricky scenario officially you’re not supposed to put the plastic bottle tops into your commingle bin whether it is residential or commercial and you know they just they say that they are not accepted in those bins and so I suppose officially the vast majority let’s even say 99 point something percent of these plastic bottle tops which will run into the millions and millions I assume the billions every year end up in landfill so you know in this podcast I think we will cover like what I know about what can be done with this at the moment and it is so we’ll run through that now I’ll be honest it’s not really the answer that I think maybe some people want to hear but I suppose is to make you know make the community the recycling community that community that’s very focused on recycling make them aware and hopefully we can we can maybe share or crowdsource or come up with some other you know answers and if any listeners have another answer or another option you know certainly call in comment in the notes and you know we’ll publicize that so I suppose can you recycle plastic bottle tops in commingle bins the answer is no they are not accepted they are plastic of course this plastic is recyclable but they are not accepted in the bins and that primarily is due to the way that the comingle bin is separated if you listen to one of our previous podcasts you’ll understand how bottles and cans and all that mixed recycling gets separated at a recycling facility the issue obviously with plastic bottle tops is that they are extremely small they fall through the gaps and they just are almost impossible to separate given the automation systems in place and given the you know the sizes and the technology that we have in place at the moment so that’s a no-no you know I think can they be recycled yes they can but there just isn’t really an easy option available there used to be up to reasonably recently a project in Australia that you might have heard of called Envision Hands and to my understanding that project was a nationwide project whereby an organization was collecting plastic bottle tops with the intention of recycling them into prosthetics for children obviously this is a very good news story and you know people love to support it and the concept was they were taking the plastic turning into prosthetic arms and hands and different different prosthetic you know things for amputees and that sort of thing so the issue with it was that the product that was being produced wasn’t over and this is to my understanding the product that was being produced was not of a high enough grade to really meet the requirements of the users and obviously you could appreciate that like something like a prosthetic arm you really do want the highest possible quality because of the impact of the quality of life of the person using it and so that’s perfectly understandable it is you know a great pity that it did not meet did not meet those requirements you know that’s where we are today so in early 2022 and people ask us you know what options are there are there available from all our research and looking around the internet and that sort of aspect we have there is an organization called lids for kids you can find them at lids4kids so lids for the number four kids.org.iu and they have look I’ll be honest I don’t really know how they’re recycling it I know they have a link and they work with other cafes in schools and community groups and they do collect them into how they’re recycling it where they’re recycling it I actually don’t know I’ll get out to a little bit later in you know one area that I am aware of which is in Queensland but they have drop-off points listed on their website all across the in very many areas you know all across new south Wales in different areas and so they did it they are collecting them and it says here literal kids volunteers are working on setting up a recycling facility in north and new south Wales so I have to be honest that I do not really know and I can’t vouch for how they are recycling stuff at the moment but I think anyone interested certainly should reach out to that organization and you know get all the get all the info so that that’s one option that we have available another one we have is this one seems to be Queensland and south east Queensland only focus obviously which will cover a very large percentage of the Queensland population you know gold coast Brisbane itself and probably the sunshine coast and that is called oceancrusaders.org
all one word so ocean crusaders.org forward slash recycling forward slash and they have a project called caps crusade whereby you know they’re talking about here how pers professionals about the cure etc but that they do collect caps and they recycle them so I think they’re recycling with their bricks I think they’re toys and used in school in school options so again that is a good option for people to look into especially you know obviously if you’re living in that area and I’d recommend you go to that to that website and check out all the information and of course if anyone has more information about these projects you know we’d love if you could reach out to us and you know give us more information on them so look that is where we are at the moment the only other option we have that we can talk about is a paid option is through teracycle they’re recycling boxes whereby it’s quite manual effort you know and you can you get the boxes way to distribute them you can also get them from Officeworks Aussie post and directly from teracycle from their website so they ship a you know a flattened box to you fill it up with a plastic bottle tops ship it back and then they recycle it into various items in various items I will I will say that as a paid service and you know may not be suitable for everyone given the cost profile of it so that’s something to think about also it is one of those annoying things it’s super simple it’s a ubiquitous item everybody has it I look I’ll even say the listeners how many plastic bottle tops that you have in your hands today one two three you know I’m sure there’s a certain number and it is terrifying to think that the vast majority of those you know end up in landfill I suppose as the best option and again I think this is somewhere where you know like if I was you know let’s be honest if I if I ruled Australia and I had control over recycling facilities I would invest certainly in one that was focuses on this aspect and you know nappies diapers would be another one that I would really look at that I think can deliver real quick benefits and fulfill problems so you know it’s not the best option not a bit the best good news story that maybe you were hoping for but I think it’s good to make people aware of what you know what is out there and you know I encourage you to reach out to those two companies lids for kids and the ocean crusaders the caps crusade project and again we’ll link to both these both these websites and we’ll also link to the envision hands I’ve heard different speculation from people that that project may restart you know at some point in the future maybe in a reduced size so we will wait and see I will leave it there today and I will say yeah once again thanks recycle don’t be a waster