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Should You Leave Caps On Plastic Bottles When Recycling Them? 5

By Recyclebank |

Plastic caps are often a different material than plastic bottles, so should they be together or separate in the recycle bin?

Should You Leave Caps On
Plastic Bottles When Recycling Them?
Yes, most likely. Leaving caps on
plastic bottles helps recycle-sorting
facilities process these small items.
Sometimes though, your hauler will
tell you not to, in which case,
follow their instructions.


As technologies have improved, MRFs have found better ways to sort different plastics even if they come to the sorting facility attached together, as should be the case with #1 (PET) bottles and their caps, which tend to be #5 (PP) or #2 (HDPE) plastic. This does not work the same for caps on glass bottles and jars. Those should be put in the recycle separately, unless you are told something different by your hauler.

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  • Shannon R. 2 months ago
    I always throw them in the garbage so I will double check with the hauler to see what they want me to do thanks
  • David S. 2 months ago
    Our hauler does not accept the plastic tops whether they are attached or not, so we rinse and donate them to a local art museum where they supply them for the kids to use when they create their art pieces.
    • Beverly Y. 2 months ago
      I do the same thing. Except I have a dear friend that is an art teacher. so i save lots of stuff for her. I encourage everyone to donate things like the bottle caps to either a local museum or find a local art teacher that would like to have them. My friend sends me pictures all the time of the things that they have made.
  • Sue L. 2 months ago
    I was told quite a while ago when recycling started to not leave the plastic caps on the bottles as they would get caught up in the machinery. I have been throwing them in the garbage for all this time. Does anyone recycle metal lids from glass jars? I've been tossing them in the garbage, too, but now wonder if I should stick them in recycling since they are metal. Anyone have an answer or idea on this? thanks!
  • JANET C. 2 months ago
    I was under the impression NOT to leave caps on bottles
  • Joan B. 2 months ago
    I NEVER leave caps on any bottles — for all the negative reasons listed by readers here
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