Different types of plastic require different approaches for recycling. One of the more confusing plastics for recycling is the plastic bottle cap. Should you leave the caps on this time? Or should you remove them?
What to do with plastic bottle caps? Are HDPE bottle caps worth anything?
When it comes to recycling bottles, people are often confused about whether they should include bottle caps. Well, we’ll tackle that in today’s blog post, so you know exactly what to do with those bottle caps.
Are Plastic Bottle Caps Recyclable 2021?
For a long time, people were told to remove the bottle caps from PET or PETE bottles before bringing them to the curbside deposit. This was the basic instruction if they wanted their bottles to be recycled.
There are now big changes in the recycling industry, and these changes are mostly positive because it includes the inclusion of the bottle caps. The recycling industry is now asking people to bring back the bottle caps to increase the number of plastics being recovered or recycled.
The plastics recycling industry is now doing this because they don’t want to send the wrong message anymore to people – they want more plastics to recycle, and there’s nothing wrong with adding the caps.
So why did MRFs reject bottle caps before? It had everything to do because plastic bottles had a different resin compared to their caps. If you have been reading about recycling, you may have already come across the factoid that you can’t recycle in one batch different types of plastics or resins. Plastics are composed of different materials, despite being all plastics in the first place. In plastics recycling, all the materials must be 100% homogenous and clean, too, before the actual materials recovery.
Now, MRFs are leveling up – they are now equipped with machines that can remove the plastic bottle caps to be recycled properly. The main implication is recyclers will be getting more plastics for material recovery, getting more garbage off beaches and the ocean. The main goal is further garbage reduction and less plastic pollution so that North America will be cleaner. The main problem before was safety issues, too.
During the crushing process before transport, the bottle caps would shoot off, which was dangerous for people crewing the operations in the first place. The crushing has to be performed to reduce this problem before people brought the bottles in for recycling. All large volumes of liquids must be removed, but there is no need to soap and rinse the bottles before manually crushing them.
The best approach is to read the local guidelines for recycling in your state or city, so you know exactly how to sort and recycle your bottles. After that, you can safely bring in your bottles for recycling.
How Do You Recycle Plastic Bottle Caps?
Many materials recovery facilities are now capable of separating bottles and caps. You can now ask your local recycling facility if you can leave the bottle caps on your soda bottles and other types of containers. However, recycling facilities request that consumers crush the bottles before bringing them to the curbside, so the bottle caps don’t shoot off when crushed and compacted before being brought to the recycling facility.
What are plastic bottle caps made of?
The majority of the bottle caps that we see in spring water bottles and soda bottles are made from either #2 resins or #1 resins. In some lower quality bottles, resin #5 is used or polypropylene, which is sometimes recyclable, but most often not. Higher density plastics are more recyclable, and in higher demand in the market generally, so many MRFs will most likely be accepted throughout the country.
Should I Leave the Caps on Bottles for Recycling?
In a nutshell, yes, you can now leave the bottle caps on your recyclable bottles. The history of recycling in North America would show that before, MRFs did not accept bottle caps before due to mechanical issues and because they did not have machines for removing the bottle caps in the first place.
Since bottle caps can be made from other resin types and there’s a big difference between the bottle and the caps’ body, it’s obvious that different resins cannot be recycled together. This creates a problem for many MRFs, as a missed piece of resin in one batch can cause that batch to become a failure.
Plastics are recycled mainly to be resold to manufacturers at a lower price. However, materials recovery facilities still need to obtain a good price for them, and the computation of the price includes overhead and operational expenses, too.
Our Bottle Caps Worth Anything?
Where to sell plastic bottle caps?
Yes, bottle caps can be worth money. They are valuable if we look at the price that MRFs get for them, and they are worth your time and effort. Unless you have a material recovery facility yourself (even a small one), then it’s not likely that you will make a big bundle from bottle caps. But then again, some people make some money by simply recovering plastics and selling them off. The exact amount you can earn by recycling plastic bottle caps will depend on your city, state, and exactly you want to sell them. You can look for city scrappers who might be interested in buying your plastic bottle caps, should you have them. These scrappers will also be interested if you have metal bottle caps and aluminum bottle caps at home. In terms of possible profit, aluminum bottle caps offer the highest return for your effort, at nearly 50 cents per cap. Scrappers only buy regular metal bottle caps for five to nine cents apiece. With plastic bottle caps, you will make more money by selling them in volume (by the pound).
But don’t fret. In case you can’t sell your plastic bottle caps, you can always be creative and use them for craft projects, such as tabletops with resin. There are always great ways to recycle plastic bottle caps.