How can I reuse or recycle single use medication vial flip caps?

Over on the Suggest an Item page, Valerey explained:

I work in the medical profession and I open and use medications all the time. I was wondering is there any way to reuse the flip seals on the top of the single use vials. I have a quite a few and need some suggestions….thanks.

I’m not a medical person so I’m not familiar with the caps – but after a bit of time with Google Image search, I think I know what Valerey means – the flat top bit in that picture (if it’s not that, please do let me know). It’s a disc with a protruding centre, which seals into the top of the bottle. Some seem to have “flip off” stamped into them too, which seems a little redundant as it’s inside the bottle but gives them a bit of fun attitude…! :)

People who know what they are: do you know if the caps come into contact with the medication at all, or is there another seal in between? If it does come into contact with the medication, that will probably limit the potential reuses – they look like they could be used as coins in a toy till/cash register but you probably wouldn’t want kids getting their hands on them if they had the slightest traces of medicines on them.

And for those already familiar with them, any suggestions?

UPDATED TO ADD: lots of people have been asking for pictures of flip off cap creations for inspiration. Here are some that I can find – if anyone knows of any more examples, let me know and I’ll add them to my list:

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43 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle single use medication vial flip caps?”


  1. Roger says:

    I don’t think the caps come in contact with anything because usually there is a film seal underneath that must be pierced for access, so counters would be a good use. You could collect them en mass write numbers on them and bring back the old tombola days of yore.

    • Celeste Martinez says:

      I use the flip cap to make decorative ID holders at work. I am always in the hunt for them. Lucky I work at a hospital so it’s not too hard. Everyone loves the ID holders I make. I really need pink flip caps :-) if you want I can send you pics of what I make. Some nurses actually sell them as a fundraiser. They go for approx $5 an ID and money is donated to charity…..

      • valerey says:

        I would love to see pictures…please email your photos at valliekat@gmail.com. I have tons! and of course can get more but will keep an eye out for pink ones. I have used them in scrapbooking to make buttons and flower centers….I knew there had to more ideas out there.

      • Rosemary Graham says:

        I would love to make these as a fundraiser, would you mind sending me pics and if anyone knows of a web site with ideas for these Id holders.

      • Julia,RN says:

        I’d be interested to see pictures of the ID holders you’ve made. I’ve recently started collecting these caps at my workplace to make flowers.

      • Lolo says:

        Can you send pics and instruction for flip cap ideas. I have access to some and would love to make id holders for my coworkers. I can send u some pink ones. What size?

        Thanks much.

        Lolo

      • Anonymous says:

        can you plz email me pics of the badges aakinzie@gmail.com

      • idania hernandez says:

        If you could please send me some pictures, I would love to see what they look like and they would make a really nice gift for the nurses in my family and friends. thank you, idania

      • BECKY says:

        PLEASE EMAIL PICS OF YOUR BADGES. WE ARE MAKING THEM ALSO ET ARE DISCUSSING THE IDEA OF SELLING THEM AS A FUNDRAISER. WE HAVE BEEN MAKING THE FLOWER ONES, BUT WOULD LOVE DIFFERENT IDEAS. THANKS

      • idania hernandez says:

        PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU SELL ANY OF THESE LOOSE FLIP OFF CAPS, I WOULD LOVE TO BUY SOME. I AM MAKING SOME ID
        BADGE HOLDERS FOR MY FRIENDS THAT ARE IN THE MEDICAL
        PROFESSION. IDANIA

      • diane says:

        What type of glue can you use on these?

      • Trina says:

        I work in the medical field and hav tops i would like to us to make ID holders for my staff as gifts

  2. Glass Bottles

    From fragments of bottles you can collect a beautiful mosaic.

    Make their own hands a decorative bottle with Vegetables – fill the bottle, for example, pepper, garlic and pour vinegar.

    Use glass bottles for lessons with the child, such as coloring their colors.

  3. Celeste Martinez says:

    I’m sorry for the delay on responding. I’m at work at the moment and saw that you replied. As soon as I get home I will send you pics of my ID holders.

    Celeste :-)

    • Genevieve says:

      Hi Celeste,

      I’m trying to get ideas on how to create cute ID badges from these recycled med caps. Could you please email me pictures of your ID holders? (geny025@yahoo.com) I’m going to make some colorful ones for my co-workers here at the hospital.

      Thanks!

    • Melody Falsis-Mittelbuscher says:

      Hi! Celeste,

      Like the rest, we are making these, too for our medical missions fund raising. If you don”t mind, I would like to have pictures of your designs as well. Her’s my e-mail address: mmelrose2001@msn.com
      Thank you!!!

  4. Tisha says:

    Hi. I’m a NICU nurse and some of my friends make the ID holders with those caps as well. I’ve seen their flower designs. So cute. I’m currently on bedrest in the hospital because of my complicated pregnancy. Could you send pictures to me of the creations you have made (thaydt21@hotmail.com). I’m already thinking of asking the maternity nurses if they can start saving me caps so I have a craft to do while on bedrest. I’m stuck here for at least another 2 1/2 wks! My friends at the children’s hospital have sold them as well for $5 each and took the money to buy swings and toys for NICU babies.
    I’ve been trying to look for pictures of them online but no luck. I guess you just hot glue them together?

  5. MaryS says:

    I also work in a hospital and recycling medication vial flip caps for crafts has become very popular. I decorate retractable reel-type name badge holders with them:
    there are basically 2 sizes of the flip cap: 1/2 inch and 7/8 inch. Many are imprinted with the words “flip off” or “must be diluted”. I make a circle with 5 small caps , and hot glue a larger cap on top, making a “daisy”; I then glue the daisy to the badge reel. These are fun and popular. I buy the blank badge reels on line from Staples in bulk for abt $1 each. I then take the decorated badge holders to work and ask for a charitable contribution(to the local food bank) for each one.
    I think there are countless ways to recycle these plastic discs. I look forward to reading more comments!

    • Darlene Walker says:

      I have tried to make these but cannot find a glue that seems to work. I tried the hot glue but the vial caps can be pulled off. Is there some other glue that bonds permanently?

  6. Mendy says:

    I make the 5 petal flower on the reel badge also. I use glitter glue to sparkle them up- they are very cute and a fun way to recycle.

  7. Lori Kitchens says:

    Will you email me some pictures as well. I love the flower ones but would like some other ideas. lori.kitchens@yahoo.com

  8. Gina says:

    Are there any website with pictures? I would really like to see some samples. If anyone could send me pics? (gina_nbalboa_03@yahoo)

  9. Bethanie says:

    Can anyone please send me their pictures of these badges, I have a good quantity of these flip tops and would like to make some badges for some friends. My email address is bfreeman281@gmail.com. Thanks for all your help!!

    • idania hernandez says:

      I CAN SEND YOU SOME PICTURES AND IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SELLING SOME OF YOUR LOOSE CAPS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I MAKE THEM FOR FRIENDS IN THE MEDICAL FIELD, I HAVE NO WAY OF
      GETTING THE CAPS, I HAVE TO BUY THEM. THANK YOU.

  10. Katie Bridges says:

    I’d love to see pictures of these badges if anyone has time to email them to me. I’ve seen the flower designs but would love other ideas as well. I’m an anesthesia resident and probably open 20-30 of these vials a day. It would be great to have a way to use the tops instead of just throwing them away. Thanks!

    • IDANIA says:

      Katie,
      I can actually send you one by mail and you can see how they are made, I would like to know also if you would be interested in selling me some of these loose caps. I do not sell mine, I just give to my friends and family. If you write to my email address, I can tell you how I can mail you one and I also have pictures of the different ones I have made. Idania

      • Kim says:

        I am a unit secretary at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey and would like to see a sample. I would love to make these for the nurses I work with.

  11. louisa says:

    Just a note to say I’ve updated the post with some examples of badges, ID card decorations, jewellery and wedding bouquets – all made with flip off caps! :)

  12. ann white says:

    I would love to get some of your flips caps to make some flowers for my friends and love one.

  13. Lori says:

    The Flip caps are also good for game peices (checkers, ect) or hot glue to a circular magnet for the refridgerator to either hold things or can be used for chore lists and schedules. If I come up with any other ideas I will post them.

  14. Lori says:

    Oh….also can hot glue them to a flat thumb tac and use on a cork board.

  15. Becki says:

    I run an Arts in Medicine program at a hospital. I collect thousands of them from throughout the hospital and I make large mosaics out of them. I get 2′ by 2′ shadowbox-ish frames custom built, then glue the tops down to create words and simple pictures, and finish it off with a few layers of resin. These mosaics then get hung up in the units that helped collect them.

    • Martin says:

      I’m coming on pretty late to this thread.

      I’m an anaesthetic trainee in Australia. I’ve been collecting these caps for a while but haven’t done anything with them just yet. I’d like yo see what people are doing with these caps.

      Feel free to send through any photos of designs and artwork using these flip caps (martin.nguyen2@wh.org.au).

  16. Emily says:

    I know I’m behind! But I would love to see pictures of the badge reels, I would love more ideas besides the flowers! Please email me as soon as you can! Thank you!

  17. Cassandra says:

    Can anyone tell me the best glue to use for med cap flowers? I tried some super glue gel and my caps wouldn’t stick together. It was a mess! Is hot glue the best way to go ? Id love to see new ideas and pics too! (Cmh.rn79@gmail.com)

  18. Cheryl says:

    I work in an injection clinic and we save our caps for a retired co-worker who glues them in a design onto old tables; she then varnishes over it.

  19. Chena says:

    There is a lady at the health department in the county where I live that saves them and makes pictures from them. You would be amazed at the creations that she has made. The health department is full of her work. This has become a project for her. She saves them from the immunization clinic for a year and when her grandkids come to visit for the summer they make pictures to donate to different facilities like nursing homes, group homes, etc. I have just started saving them from work so I can do the same. Wish me luck!!

  20. Kentoy says:

    I am a Filipino Nurse and I’ve ben collecting these flip caps since 2012. i would love to see your finished products. please email me some of your work so I would have an idea how to start recycling mine.

  21. Reneel says:

    What glue is best to use for these

  22. Steph says:

    Yes, same question here! please someone answer…what glue is best? I made some with hot glue and they all broke apart :(



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