Recycling Bottle Caps

Are you looking to increase your businesses’ sustainability?  While one big improvement for businesses is implementing a recycling program, this can be taken another step further.  Plastic caps, one of the Earth’s least commonly recycled items, are inevitably used at your business.  While throwing these caps away has long been standard behavior, Julia Joseph, owner of the Ohiopyle Bakery & Sandwich Shop, suggested a remedy for this practice.  Joseph participates in Caps Can Do®, a program that is dedicated to plastic cap recycling, promoting education, increasing awareness and providing solutions to the problems that littered plastic caps cause to Earth’s inhabitants.

The instructions for recycling a typical plastic beverage bottle often say to recycle the bottle, but then to throw away the cap.  The reason for this is that bottle caps are made from plastic #5 (PP or polypropylene), which is a different material than the bottles themselves.  Because of this, caps must be removed from bottles for recycling purposes, which unfortunately tends to land caps in landfills.  Additionally, the small size of caps makes it difficult to sort them out from other plastic pieces later in the recycling process.  As a result, plastic caps often end up as litter, where they accumulate into a larger problem.

Little plastic caps in the wild are dangerous to wildlife, because they can be mistaken for food.  Since most plastic does not easily break down over time, caps collect with other trash.  In the ocean for example, currents create rotating whirlpools that accumulate plastic trash.

          The Caps Can Do® program conducts plastic cap collection and recycling in order to decrease the production of more plastic, and to prevent the spread of hazardous plastics in the environment.  Caps Can Do® exclusively collects #5 plastic caps.  Collection bins are available for purchase at www.capscando.com.  Once received, a bin can be placed in a business to collect #5 caps.  As the bins fill up, they become colorful and eye-catching, which draws the attention of customers, and actively engages them in the cause.  The three main goals highlighted on the Caps Can Do® website are:

  • To help eliminate #5 plastic from the waste stream by recycling bottle caps
  • To educate the public on the harm littered plastic caps can do to wildlife
  • To turn a seldom recycled plastic into useful products

Once a collection bin is full, it can be mailed to the Weisenbach Recycled Products factory.  Here, the caps are sorted by color, crushed, melted, and recycled into Weisenbach’s products.

An important thing to remember about sustainable business is that our actions have great power to impact the environment.  Caps Can Do® is an original idea, addressing a void in the recycling industry.  Recycling #5 plastic caps through this program is a great opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship between business and the environment.

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