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Why It Is Important To Always Leave the Cap on a Plastic Bottle Before Recycling It?

Some people are kind enough to keep planet earth clean by recycling things but there is a right way of doing it. Keep reading to find out why it is crucial to think twice before removing the bottle cap prior to recycling.

By Cookist

Recycling is great but there are rules surrounding the concept that many people are unaware of.

Before tossing another plastic bottle into the recycling bin around you, it is important you make sure the cap is still attached.

When you remove a plastic bottle's cap, “you’ve essentially thrown it right in the garbage.” We can't argue with the logic even though it goes against traditional teachings.

It is certainly true that bottles and caps are typically made of different kinds of plastic, something that used to be a problem at recycling plants.


“In the past the plastics recycling industry was not able to effectively recycle bottles with caps on so the message to remove the cap was created,” the Association of Plastic Recyclers stated on its website.

Recycling technologies have improved now so keeping the lid on is not an issue. The two components are separated naturally in the process of a water bath.

The bottles float and the caps sink — a simple way to separate them. Unfortunately removing the caps can get them improperly sorted early on in the recycling process.

Due to their small size, individual caps are often sorted into piles of landfill-bound waste. They are also common ocean pollutants, small enough to seriously harm marine life if ingested.

It is estimated that about 5 billion plastic caps pollute the environment in California alone annually.

People have also been known to crush plastic bottles before placing them in the bin, but that's not good for recycling.

It could get them confused with paper during the sorting process meaning they will end up in the wrong place.

“Retaining a 3D form can help containers be successfully sorted,” The Association of Plastic Recyclers writes.



Get rid of any liquids left inside the bottle, replace the cap, then toss it in the recycling bin. In that order preferably to help the recycle process.

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