What’s the take care of plastic bottle caps and plastic lids? Some communities say to go away them out of recycling, some say they’re nice. Some communities need you to go away the caps in your bottles, others need them left off. What’s with all of the completely different guidelines with regards to plastic bottle caps and lids? Are they really recyclable and in that case, how can I recycle plastic bottle caps?
The Bother with Bottle Caps
The issue with plastic bottle caps begins with the truth that a lot of them are constructed from #5 plastic (polypropylene), whereas the bottles themselves are normally constructed from both #1 (PET) or #2 (HDPE) plastic. When it comes time to soften that plastic down for recycling, it will be finest if various kinds of plastic weren’t blended in collectively. Strike one for leaving the caps on.
But when the caps and lids are left unfastened within the mixture of recyclables, most of them are so small, they’ll merely fall by way of the disk screens on the Supplies Restoration Facility (MRF). Right here’s a fast video to point out you what disc screens appear to be and the way they separate small bits of particles from the bulkier recyclables.
Sadly, most moldable caps gained’t make it by way of this course of, they’ll fall by way of into the particles or find yourself contaminating the glass shards. Strike one for leaving the caps unfastened within the combine.
If caps are disregarded of recycling totally, effectively then that’s only a wasted unrecycled useful resource. Plus plastic bottle caps are an enormous drawback with regards to ocean particles and air pollution. Strike one for leaving the caps out of recycling altogether.
Lengthy story brief – all of the choices kinda suck.
Your native MRF (recycling/sorting facility) has been making an attempt to find out how finest to take care of this challenge. Probably they’re deferring to what the top person of the plastic prefers (i.e. whether or not the receiving producer is okay with blended plastics, or whether or not they solely need #1 and #2). My program (for now) is asking us to go away caps and lids on. Others request you to go away them off and out of your recycling totally. Test together with your native recycling program and see what they’d such as you to do.
Is there some other method to recycle plastic bottle caps if my program gained’t take them?
There was one program that was taking plastic caps for recycling: Protect’s Gimme 5 program. However it went on maintain in the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and as of this writing (Jan. 24, 2022) it’s nonetheless on maintain. I’ve been conserving watch to see in the event that they restart this program hopefully. You possibly can examine the Treasured Plastic map to see if there may be anybody close to you accepting caps for recycling. Treasured Plastic is a group if DIY plastic recyclers.
NEW! Flip your plastic caps right into a bench or picnic desk.
There’s yet one more choice I’ve simply found for recycling your plastic caps, and that’s to discover a native firm that makes recycled plastic benches, picnic tables and different outside, heavy-duty sort plastic gadgets. A few of these firms have applications to take your plastic caps and make them right into a bench or desk for you. The draw back is that you simply as a person can’t merely ship them your plastics, you must be ready to purchase the top product.
It is a good challenge for colleges as a result of they will purchase and put the bench or desk on the varsity property. I might see this additionally being a chance for a public park. If that is one thing you assume your youngsters’ faculty or your native park may take part in, you possibly can Google “plastic caps to benches” and the title of your state to see if there are any firms close to you which have a program like this.
Anybody on the market actively looking for plastic bottle caps for making into recycled merchandise? Please let me know so I can add your data to this text.
(Please don’t write to me asking the place you possibly can take your plastic caps for recycling. I’ve put all the data I’ve on this article and if I uncover something new, I promise I’ll add it right here.)
Go to this text for extra details about what’s going on with the present state of #5 plastic recycling and your choices for coping with the sort of plastic.
Associated: Can I Recycle Plastic Tablet Bottles?
[ Originally posted 2/11/2021, Updated 1/24/2022 ]