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Jul 18

Dear Recyclinda: What about bottle caps?

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 8:45 AM by Becky Robinson


Dear Recyclinda,

I keep reading different information online so I wanted to confirm: Do we leave bottle caps on for the recycling or take them off? It seems this varies county to county/state to state.

And if we have to take them off, how do we recycle the caps? For years, I collected the caps for a charity but they are no longer collecting them so I want to ensure I recycle them properly now.

Michelle in Delray Beach

Michelle, allow me to put on my thinking cap.

The answer to this quandary is, as it is for most recycling topics: It depends. For plastic caps on plastic bottles, leave the plastic lids on. If plastic lids are off the bottles, they fall through the equipment at our recycling center and may not be recycled. If those lids are attached to their bottles, however, they will be baled up with their plastic bottle counterpart and sent to a recycler.

For metal lids on glass bottles and jars, leave the lids off. Still place both the glass container and metal lid in the blue recycling bin. These metal lids will get pulled out by a magnet before the glass is broken and recycled appropriately.

All glass gets crushed during the sorting process. Some is even broken by the time it arrives at our recycling center. By leaving the metal lids on, we could get broken glass in the metal recycling, or get metal in the broken glass. Neither is ideal.

I tip my cap to you, Michelle, for Recycling RIGHT!


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