I have to ask, when a plastic bottle cap is on a plastic bottle, does that make it unrecyclable? I have heard that recycling facilities just trash bottles with caps on them, is there any truth to that?
And if I separate my bottle from its cap, are the caps recyclable?
Thanks! Plastic Bottle Cap Quandary
This is a great question! I have a feeling many subscribers are reading this right now and thinking, “Hey, I was wondering the same thing!”
The short and sweet answer is YES – plastic bottle caps are recyclable. And YES – you can leave them on the bottle. Since we all know I can’t leave it at that…
Once upon a time, plastic bottle caps were not as recyclable and leaving them on the bottle was not a good thing. Bottles are typically made from PET #1 while caps are made from plastic #5. The two types of plastic melt at different temps, which meant they needed to be separated and processed differently. Also, when it came time to compact plastic bottles for shipping, caps would shoot through the air, making some recycling centers an artillery zone.
Innovations in the recycling industry have remedied these issues and now some recycling experts even say that leaving caps on is better. Caps that are separated from their bottles are small and have a tendency to fall through the cracks, decreasing the amount of material that is actually recycled. So, I say, “Twist that cap back on and toss the bottle, cap and all, into the recycling bin.”*
*Disclaimer: this advice is based on circumstances where a plastic bottle is the only hydration option. A reusable bottle filled with your favorite beverage is ALWAYS the preferred choice.
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