Are You Making This BIG Mistake When Recycling?

cap view of a single-use water bottle - recycling questions

Understanding More About Recycling

Recycling isn’t always very straightforward. Certain items can be tossed in recycling bins without a second thought, but other items cannot. Still, other items, like single-use plastic bags can be recycled, but are generally not accepted in most residential or multi-family recycling programs.

Keeping all of the rules straight can be difficult. One item that sometimes presents confusion is plastic bottle caps. Should these tops be tossed in recycling bins, and if yes, should they go in separately or screwed on to a bottle? A recent article by LifeHacker gets to the bottom of these questions and we’re here to help.

More About Bottle Caps

Plastic caps are used on a variety of bottles. From soda and iced teas to sports drinks, water and more you likely use these screw-on caps daily. The plastic used to construct bottle caps is different from the bottle itself. Many people think the cap and bottle should be recycled separately – which means the cap should be removed from the bottle and both items go into the recycling bin not connected.

It turns out this isn’t the best way to handle plastic bottle caps. By keeping the caps and bottles separate you may think you are helping out the employees at recycling facilities, but you’re really sending your bottles caps off to a landfill.

What Happens During Recycling

When items get to a recycling facility everything needs to be sorted. Paper and cardboard need to be pulled out and sent to one location while the same is true for glass, metal, and plastic. Once items are sorted into these categories, additional sorting may be required. Small items sometimes fall through the sorting equipment, and many facilities simply sweep these items up and send them off to landfills. This is what typically happens to bottle caps.

When plastic bottles are recycled with the caps attached, the odds of the caps being recycled dramatically increases. The caps will make it through the initial sorting because they are screwed onto the larger bottles. By the time the capped bottles make it to the more specialized sorting and the bottles are processed for recycling, the caps will be separated and both the bottles and caps will be handled accordingly.

Impact of Recycling

Recycling matters because it enables us to make the best use of available resources. Materials like plastic can be recycled over and over again. When items, like plastic bottle caps, end up in landfills those resources are lost. They will not be recycled and repurposed into useful materials, which means new virgin materials need to be used to create even more plastic.

Those virgin materials are often nonrenewable resources which could be put to better use for other purposes. Screwing the cap onto a bottle before tossing it in the recycling bin may not seem like a big deal, but this simple step can ensure the caps are recycled.

Stay Connected

Recycling matters a great deal to us at Factory Direct Promos. We strive to use recycled or sustainable content in the manufacturing of our products and we work hard to protect the planet from plastic trash and litter. Learn more about recycling, plastic bag bans, and more eco news by signing up for our newsletter!


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