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15 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottle Caps

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15 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottle Caps

Heading to the recycle bin to toss a plastic bottle? Did you know that in many places, you can’t recycle the cap?

Bottle caps are made from #5 plastic, which many municipalities do not recycle. That means that even if you can recycle or reuse your plastic bottle, you can’t toss the cap into the recycle bin.

Even if you are able to recycle those plastic bottle caps, recycling plastic is very inefficient. When you recycle plastic what you’re actually doing is called downcycling. Each time plastic goes through the recycling process, you end up with a lower and lower grade of plastic. Eventually, that plastic is of such poor quality that it’s headed straight to the landfill, where it doesn’t biodegrade. For plastic, the recycling center is just a pit stop on the way to the landfill.

Many people don’t know that they can’t recycle plastic bottle caps, and when you toss a bottle with the cap on into the recycling, it can cause problems at the recycling center. According to Earth911:

“The simple act of leaving a cap on the bottle has also traditionally created problems at the sorting facility. When bottles are crushed for shipment, caps can shoot off at high speeds, causing a safety hazard for recycling workers. Or if the bottles aren’t crushed but caps are left on, the bottles retain air and take up too much space, meaning fewer bottles can be transported for recycling.

That’s no good at all! If you’re not craft-minded, reusing bottle caps might not be high on your to do list. Luckily, there are some resources for recycling those suckers. Check out the next page for deets!

Next>> Resources for Recycling Bottle Caps

Creative Commons photo by stevendepolo

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
11:49PM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

all good ideas

1:34PM PST on Jan 25, 2014


4:17AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

We collect them and some charities exchange them for wheelchairs.

4:12AM PST on Jan 25, 2014


12:49AM PST on Jan 25, 2014


3:46AM PDT on Oct 9, 2013

i agree in not buying plastic and refilling them when you have no choice. i use glass bottles and jars to make tea and lemon water and for leftovers whenever possible (i'm not even 80%, i suppose).

i feel like we're preaching to the choir though. i can't convince my family to do this however.

the most important point i saw was to take the lids off and recycle separately.

4:34AM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

Spending your time & energy on making something out of crap that will only end up in landfill itself before too long seems like a waste of energy. If you really want to make a difference, stop buying plastic bottles. I drink tap water out of a steel bottle when I'm out, I refill my laundry liquid bottle at the health food shop, my dishwasher detergent is powder & comes in a cardboard box & I only use solid bars of soap & shampoo. Plastic bottles, especially single-use plastic bottles such as water bottles, are smothering this planet, I try real hard not to add to the problem.

2:33PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

thank you for sharing these tips

1:54PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

Uhhh, thanks?

8:51PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013


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