Bottle caps are removed and discarded prior to the recycling of plastic or glass bottles and most refuse companies require you to remove the bottle cap before putting the bottle in your recycling box.
Plastic bottles are made from either polyethylene terephthalate (plastic #1) or high density polyethylene (plastic #2) but the plastic caps themselves can be made from high density polyethylene (plastic #2), low density polyethylene (plastic #4) or polypropylene (plastic #5).
The polyethylene caps are the caps that you can deform easily if you squeeze or bend them with your fingers. These can be included with the plastic bottles in your recycling collection. An example of a polyethylene cap, is the flat cap commonly found on the top of plastic milk jugs. These caps push on to the top of the bottle rather than having a screw thread. Caps with a screw thread are usually made from polypropylene.
Polypropylene caps are much harder and more rigid than polyethylene caps, often with a screw on thread, and should not be included in your curbside recycling collection. If you try to bend these caps with your fingers the plastic will only bend a small amount. Polypropylene cap examples are detergent bottle caps, screw caps on soda, water bottles and toothpaste tubes or the flip top caps on shampoo bottles or other cosmetics products.
To identify polypropylene caps look for the #5 in the chasing arrows recycling symbol on the underside of the cap although many bottle caps are not marked with a recycling symbol.
Metal bottle caps are made from steel or aluminum with a polyethylene lining to prevent the metal from contaminating the liquid in the bottle. Metal bottle caps, commonly found on beer bottles should be removed from the beer bottle before the bottle is recycled.
There are privately run recycling schemes available for all New Jersey residents that will accept either plastic or metal bottle caps.
Details of these recycling schemes can be found below.
Aveda Salon's partner with schools to collect unwanted plastic bottle caps for their recycling program. Currently (March 2011) they have sufficient numbers of schools in their program that they are not looking for any more collections locations. They can only recycle the amount of plastic required to produce new caps for their range of products.
Aveda Salon's collect polypropylene (plastic #5) caps to be melted down and used to manufacture new caps for their hair, styling and skin care products.
Collect plastic bottle caps from all types of plastic bottles: soda bottles, water bottles, shampoo bottles, plastic ketchup bottles, cooking oil bottles and washing detergent bottles. However, Aveda will not accept any bottle caps with pump action dispensers or the lids from pharmaceutical tablet containers.
Click here for more information on the bottle caps they accept and to see if any more schools are needed as collection locations.
Caps Can Do® accepts plastic caps and other #5 (polypropylene) containers that are clean, free from metal, and are clearly marked with the #5 recycling symbol. The caps are recycled into new plastic products. Caps Can Do® works with zoos, aquariums and other like-minded organizations to educate people on the harm plastic caps cause to wildlife and the environment, and through its collection efforts, diverts thousands of pounds of plastic from landfills. Cap collection bins are available for organizations to purchase, and label with their own mission/message along with the CapsCanDo® information.
Individual consumers can also recycle plastic caps and other #5 plastic through the Caps Can Do® program by mailing them to...
For more information on recycling your caps, please visit CapsCanDo.org
In an effort to reduce landfill waste, save wildlife, and conserve our natural resources a new recycle program has started called Caps-n-Cups (www.capsncups.com). It’s mission is collecting and recycling plastic caps and rigid plastic cups.
Currently, the majority of plastic caps and cups are being sent to landfills or being littered on our beaches and elsewhere. Most plastic bottle recycle programs, including community curbside collections, ask that the plastic lids or caps be discarded prior to recycling the plastic bottle.
Even though the caps are small in size, the amount of plastic cap material going into the landfills is staggering, nearly 700 million lbs/yr. This plastic material can be reused into many plastic parts conserving the natural resources that it would take to produce new plastic material. More alarming is the number of ocean and land animals that are ingesting these small plastics ultimately resulting in the death of several thousand birds and sea animals every year. Caps-n-Cups has successfully worked with companies and organizations in Hawaii to begin a state wide effort to clean up their beaches from this waste stream.
Because many plastic caps are not marked with the recycle number, Caps-n-Cups will accept ALL Plastic Caps. No sorting of plastic caps is necessary but all caps should be rinsed clean.
In addition to plastic caps, Caps-n-Cups will accept #5 plastic cups. Examples of these kinds of cups are the large hard plastic soft drink and kid’s meal cups from many restaurants. Cups must be clearly marked with the recycle symbols #5 to be eligible for collection. Paper, Styrofoam, PET, and HIPS cups and lids are not eligible.
Currently, Caps-n-Cups offers two ways to recycle:
- Mail clean materials, postage paid, to...
1700 Lynch Rd
Evansville, IN 47710
Large collections / Fund Raisers - For very large collections (full semi trailers) Caps-n-Cups will pay for the lbs collected and arrange to pay for the trucking needed to move the materials. For more information call 812-492-3812 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caps-n-Cups is the product of Lucent Polymers from Evansville, In. Lucent Polymers has engineered and patented a plastic polymer based on recycled plastic bottle caps. Lucent Polymers is working closely with many large global companies such as General Motors to use this polymer in their products.
Plastic bottle caps can also be collected together and mailed to The Recap Co.
For this scheme they only accept caps from soda or water bottles and not the larger plastic caps found on washing detergent bottles or shaving foam/deodorant cans.
There is no charge for the recycling but you do have to pay for the shipping of the caps to the recycling facility.
Mail your unwanted bottle caps to...
The Recap Offer, 6465 Lewis Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140
Metal Bottle Caps
Metal bottle caps and jar lids are made from steel with a polyethylene lining. Despite the plastic lining, the metal caps can still be placed in your recycling collection. Remove the caps from the glass bottles or jars and place them loose in your metal recycling container or commingled container. The plastic lining will be burnt off when the metal is processed to make new steel products.