How can I reuse or recycle plastic screw-top bottle caps?

water_bottle_cap.jpgWe’ve had an email from Am about bottle caps:

As we have a lot of plastic water bottles, and they are easy enough to recycle/reuse… but what about the screw-on bottle tops?

When they are recycled the council insist the lids are not included…and I hate to waste all those little lids.

I always keep a few spare ones in case I lose/drop-somewhere-rank the lid of a bottle I’m re-using. I’ve also used them (usually in pairs for stability) to add height when a plant pot sits too low in the planter – water bottle caps add about 1cm while milk bottle ones are a little wide and not as tall.

Anyone got any other suggestions?

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118 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle plastic screw-top bottle caps?”

  1. trish says:

    You could use them as cutters for dough.

    Use them as paint wells.

    Stick some kind of axle in them and use them as wheels for a homemade toy car.

    Use them to cap open pipes or chair legs.

  2. suz says:

    You can also collect them and take them along to the local school or kindergarten for their art/crafts classes. They can use them in their artwork for car wheels etc.

  3. ana says:

    In Portugal, a nurse started to collect them in her hospital to sell them to a recycling company, to buy wheelchairs with the money.
    The campaign spread all over the country and since 2004, they have been collecting about 8 tons of caps every year (each ton can raise enough money to pay a couple of wheelchairs).
    It’s not unusual to see little boxes made for collecting them in universities, cafés, hospitals or other shops and I think it’s a sign of how a country can get together for a good cause. :)

    • Katz says:

      wow! this is increadible. It is hard to believe that so many people started doing this! I am having trouble persuading colleagues at work to put the recyclable things in a special bin, not in the trash bin! I would love to know how this nurse did it!

    • Liz says:

      there was this girl in my dorm building who was collecting the caps for this cause so almost everybody has been saving their caps. Unfortunately, she has moved and we still have all these bottle caps. She didn’t say where she would send them, so i was wondering if you knew where to send these caps for this good cause.

      • Shannon says:

        Plastic caps need to be recycled!! We would love to have all your plastic bottle caps!! We are starting up a small manufacturing company in which we will reuse plastic bottle caps. Our company will repurpose these caps for an Eco friendly product that will be used by consumers for many, many years. We are not having any success trying to retreive from waste management facilities before they ship to landfill. We need to collect post-consumer!! If you are interested in participating in our quest for caps contact and I will provide a prepaid envelope for mailing.

        Thank you!!
        Shannon Clark
        The ReCap Co.

    • Cocoa says:

      Hey that sounds really cool! But still… where do the bottle caps go AFTER they are sold to the recycling company? I mean, it’s great that she sells them, but they probably still get thrown away in the long run. It would be awesome to find a place to send the caps where they would not be hurting the environment AKA getting thrown away.

      • We are setting up the company so that when our product has served it’s purpose it can then be mailed back to company to re-purpose bottle caps again and again. We have come a long way on our quest for caps and would like to Thank all of you who have donated. We will be using a minimum of 500 caps per product. Which means we will be re- purposing in the beginning up to 20,000 caps a week!! That is a lot of caps not going to landfill. Since we have so many request now for prepaid envelopes we decided to make things easier we have launched a new website where we are giving away free organic cotton tees or hats for minimum donations.
        Thanks to everyone for participating!! Keep the caps coming please!!
        Shannon Clark
        The ReCap Co.

    • wanda says:

      Would like to get more information concerning the wheel chair programs. Do you know whom to contact in the US

      • Amanda says:

        My daughter is collecting bottle cap to recycle, but then I heard about a company that collects them for children with cancer. For every 400 caps 1 child would receive one free treatment. Her school collected over 14,000 caps. I did my research and found out this cause was a hoax. So now I am looking for an other organization out there that collects them for a cause. Can you please give the information you have on your cause. I can bring it up to the school.

    • Ian says:

      It’s called “projecto tampinhas” and is now backed by many local authorities (in Portugal!)

      If you search in Google images for “projecto tampinhas” you can see the campaign has good graphics, with a little cartoon bottle cap urging people to recycle it.

      There are also pix of people getting wheelchairs, so the scheme must work.

      Google search

    • sharon says:

      just collected with my class over 1,000 water bottle caps for an estimation lesson. Interested in info. about the organization to donate them to, to buy wheelchairs.

  4. Bsnightsky says:

    Plants come in various plastic planters. When the smaller plant grows I move them up to the next size that I reuse. All have the holes in the bottom, and some are quite large allowing soil and too much water to escape. The caps can be placed over these holes open end down with the new soil to fill the pot holding them in place for prefect drainage.

  5. parrots toy says:

    just collect a lot of caps, drill a little hole and put them on a steel thread just like a necklace, they’ll quiet fot hours and hours..

  6. glenda says:

    i use them to make mini pincushions,also a tiny piece of cotton wool glued to top of lid cover with a round piece of fabric,add to different shapes of felt to make piccies.

  7. Keith R says:

    There’s a guy in Honduras I profiled a few months back (“More construction with PET Bottles”) who constructs houses out of PET bottles, used tire rims and concrete. One of his dilemmas was what to do with the caps. The solution he hit upon is to use the different colors to make decorative mosaics in the concrete, particularly on benches and around arches. To see a photo of what I’m talking about, go to this direct link of the photo. Hope this helps!

  8. Damon says:

    You can buy your water in glass bottles with aluminum caps and recycle both through the council. Plastic can be recycled but more energy is wasted in the recycling process than if they were to start from scratch.

  9. mike says:

    Stateside, I have found that the thread sizing on most water/soda bottle caps is a perfect fit for washing machine barrel drains. I discovered this as I was trying to angle a washer to examine the motor, only to find that smelly fluid would pour out all over the workspace/house. Unable to relocate to the outdoors, I had to plug it up, and in my dilemma I was struck by what my eye estimated to be a match, protruding from the recycle bin. I couldn’t think of a reason to not try it and was rewarded with a dry operation for my ingenuity.
    This may not be the case in the UK, though. Maybe the standardization goes out the window with metrics. I have no idea.

  10. Dina says:

    Here it is common to drill or punch (scissors are good enough for this purpose) two holes in each cap, then thread them together is a manner that’ll allow for bottles to still be screwed onto the cap. Attach this brilliant object to your backpack, and now, each time you find a PET bottle on the curb or in the forest or park, you can easily pick it up and attach to this “necklace”. Later, just drop the bottles in an appropriate recycling bin. This is a very eco-friendly advice. You can make those for friends and family. If a variety of colored caps exist in your area, this “necklace” can also be very-very pretty. I would have posted a photo, bt it’s a bit complicated for me at the moment. ENJOY.

  11. anita backensto says:

    i take two lids, drill a small hole in one, thread a metallic piece of thread through it,then glue another lid to that-threaded side to threaded side. cover seam with lace,cord, trim of choice, add any decorative trims you like, and you have a beautiful ornament.

  12. Katz says:

    I saw a website of a company that were making very colourfull plastic sheets for decoration and home and idustry use from recycled plastic. This included plastic lids from the bottles, mobile phone covers, yoghurt pots ets.

    Not everything is allowed to be put in the recycling bin for collection, but if look at your council’s website – you will find recycling sites where you can bring things yourself. I do this with aluminium foil.
    Even if you don’t find recycling facilities for the type of plastic you want to recycle – just leave it there. If loads of people want to recycle particular items – the council will take the hint eventually and include this in their recycling program.

  13. Katz says:

    Another idea – I just came across an interesting webside – they were making really funky bags out of them! have a look!

    • christinet says:

      These bags are amazing -pity they cost £115 !! Maybe someone cleverer than me collects them to do something similar ?I would send my million and one tops to her.

  14. Isabel says:

    Use them to make a memory game. Put small circle stickers on the flat side with numbers or letters.

    You can also buy a reusable bottle and refill it with filtered tap water to cut down the the number of bottles you have

  15. Tami says:

    I am a teacher we used the bottle caps with the small stick on foam shapes you can buy at a discount store to make sets of “stamps” for our children to make patterns with or just to practice their fine motor skills.
    Stick the foam shape on the top of the lid and you are ready to stamp.

    • christinet says:

      As A fellow teacher, I ‘m interested in this idea but not sure what you mean by the small stick on foam shape?

      • Jenn says:

        there are foam shapes that could be found in shapes or letters and she is stating that a small stick of tape could connect it to the bottle cap

  16. kittie says:

    use them for a cool craft like a bracelet or neckalace

  17. Natalie says:

    Have two different color or sizes of caps and make a tic-tic -toe game out of them . For the board you could draw in the sand or use 4 twigs crossed,or draw on the back of junk mail or inside of a cereal box.

  18. Nicky says:

    In Japan, we collect them, and 800 caps become 20JPY. (app. 20cents). We donate and use the money for the vaccines to save the children. The vaccines will be distributed through a Japanese non-profit organization.

  19. sherrie says:

    You can send your bottle caps to:

    Aveda Re-Cap Program
    ACA Waste Services
    40 EADS Street
    Babylon, NY 11704

    Aveda is recycling caps for a new shampoo they are coming out with this fall.

  20. comfyfit says:

    garden enthusiasts pb tops of all shapes and sizes accumulated can be easily stuck together to form trellis for the plants to creep along making a very colourful garden indeed

  21. Rosalinda says:

    The most useful thing I’ve ever made from plastic bottle tops is a ‘fly discourager’. Similar to the plastic strips often used in shop doorways. Punch a small (central) hole in each & thread fishing line thru, tying knots to prevent them slipping. Door-height lengths are then attatched to (something else you want to recycle) rod of appropriate length to be hung above an outside door from a couple of nails. Most flys don’t get in but children & pets can enter & exit without adult assistance. This object will use up thousands of bottle caps. And if you are artistically inclined, you can place different colours so as to produce a design when the strands are at rest.
    Once this project is completed, you can start on a mud-trapping mat.. Hem a sturdy piece of appropriately-sized fabric (canvas is good) & ‘sew’ the flat end of the caps to the fabric to fill the entire surface. Make it sturdy by gluing the caps closest to the outer edges to each other… These mats will trap a lot of mud in sludgy weather. Make a fresh one each winter & re-use the old ones as weed mats in the garden by tipping them upside-down & placing them where required. A quick spray from the old hairspay can across the canvas will stop it breaking down as fast but please don’t buy it specially.

  22. valkiriaazul says:

    I send you this links to see some mini boxes made from plastic bottles’ tops.

    Do you like it? I hope so. Enjoy!

    Ciao tutti!

  23. J says:

    Tiny pincushion tutorial (instructions and pictures):

    These are soo cute, and I’m thinking of making one myself!

  24. Kei says:

    Theses ideas to re-use the bottle caps are great, but is there an actual way to reprocess the plastic into something else? I’ve heard rumors of them being recycled into plastic bowls…but haven’t actually seen anything on it yet.

  25. Just Someone says:

    Search Google for “recycled bottle caps” to see dozens of things made out of these caps.

    If you’re recycling out of a concern for the environment, might I suggest not using plastic bottles at all?

    You can buy a reusable bottle (Sigg for example) and not generate any waste. Also, filling a bottle at home means that a factory didn’t need to create each of your plastic water bottles and trucks didn’t need to drive the water and the bottle to your local store and you didn’t need to drive the water home from your store.

    Not that I never use a plastic bottle, but I try to use a refillable bottle filled from home whenever possible.

  26. Helen says:

    If you are within Hampshire (UK) there is a company which will collect the plastic milk bottle tops (in fact any plastic tops that have the “2” recycling logo inside – but not any others just yet) – for every 500kg they collect they will donate £25 to the charity of our choice.

    We are collecting at work and are raising money for the Rose Road Association through this scheme (Rose Road support families with children with disabilities). Rose Road cannot accept/collect the tops themselves but through this recycling scheme we can still help them.

    This solution is positive for everyone – the plastic gets recycled into new things (even t-shirts!), the lids don’t end up in landfill (thus reducing environmental impact) and the charity gets well-earned cash as well. Go to GHS’s website for more details… for more details.

  27. Hector says:

    If you are really trying to help by recycling or whatever you preference is, I found this organization that for every 800 plastic caps that they recycle, a child will get one vaccination for free. Those plastic caps are later shredded and molded to be used for concrete molds.

  28. Ashley says:

    Hello. If you want to recycle plastic bottle caps I discovered this program from AVEDA shampoo company called Recycle Caps with Aveda. You can collect and send caps to them but you are responsible for the shipping. They send the caps out to their recycler where they are made into new caps and containers. Here is the website and good luck!

  29. Shaelyn says:

    This fitness club that i work at collected millions of bottle caps for cancer treatment but it ended up being a hoax…i would hate for all this hard work to be thrown in the dumpster … Any ideas please?!

    • Stephanie says:

      Do you happen to live in Florida? The reason I ask is because someone I know started this in my company and I just found out they are no longer collecting. So I thought I’d come on to find something to do with them.

      • heather says:

        hey i live in fl and have lots of caps too… but nowhere to donate them… i had an idea of still saving them and then Recycle the caps at any location that will take them and then donate the money to a Charity. We all could work together and grow this so called Hoax into something. Please send me some feed back….

  30. I`M an American living in Japan,and I have been saving the screw on caps for plastic bottles for some time now,and if there is anybody that can get me information on where I can take the caps (in Japan)that I have collected it would really be a good thing for me,because I really want collect and help provide wheelchairs for the unfortunate people not only in Japan,but all around the world!
    by the way……….
    Everyone’s suggestions for the caps were great!

  31. Thomas Zdobylak says:

    Why not use this water bottle caps and remake them into somthing that people use every day or somthing that will be handy when you have an emergency. But you have to clean them first you never know if they contain any bateria that can harm the owners that want to buy this product^_^

  32. Cheryl D says:

    For those interested in recycling bottle caps (because they definitely do NOT get recycled when left on the bottle), Aveda is recycling them in the U.S. They can be dropped off or mailed to Aveda – lots of info on their website. If you’re outside U.S., I would still check with Aveda in your country.

  33. My laptop’s quite ‘old’ (which means more than 1.5 year) and it’s starting to get very hot nowadays.

    To prevent it from overheating, I use plastic bottle tops to make sure there’s enough air below the laptop for proper ventilation.

  34. Jeanette says:

    Hey! I’ve used them before to hold small amounts of paint in. Great for kids!! =]

  35. Suzie.M says:

    can any one please tell me what kind of metal bottle caps like J2O and Becks caps are made from?And also how much money u could get for melting them down pound for pound? thank you xx

  36. Lizz M says:






  37. CDMalcolm says:

    I came up with some Ideas for Bottle Caps for Practical use and non Practical use.
    1) I make Closet or Draw Air Fresheners. I buy Natural Scented Oils, felt sheets, and use junk mail for some filler. I sell 6 to a pack for $2. also in the makes, a mothball versions.
    2) Make spinning tops out of them. toys for children 10 and up. you can make it into a old game of fighting tops and just add a non sharp object and thick paper cut into stars with 3 to 10 sides. It needs to just stick out by 2 cm from the 2 caps (open side facing each other) paper star in between. use a large bowl and watch them go.
    3) Make furniture sliders, requires some cutting gluing them together using recycle rubber sheet about a quarter inch thick. you may find this one challenging. (5 to 10 caps needed)
    4) Fishing Floaters, using foam. 2 caps 1 washer, 1 nut and 1 closed hook screw. (2 caps needed)
    5) This is more towards the arts and crafts. make bugs out of them. Use the flexible fuzzy thingy that can bend any which way for legs. use your imagination.
    6)Christmas ornaments, use your imagination
    7)make a starship, some cutting required, your imagination, glue.
    8)Make game Playing Pieces.
    9)This is a dumb one but Seed holders for selling seeds. Just remember to mark them.
    10) Refrigerator magnets. Design it anyway you like.

    I guess this is my 10 useful purposes for Plastic Caps from Soda Bottles.

    If you plan on selling any of these, MAKE SURE you remove ALL logos. The caps are generic. You can even buy them.

  38. Ivette says:

    My art teacher gives us foam plates as palettes. Soon I started to hate it because the paint would spread all over the plate, so I decided to hot-glue bottle caps on the plate =) ta-da! that was my new palette!

  39. Bobbie says:

    Drill a hole in the center of each one, then mount on a drawer for pulls…

  40. Hard to believe, but I’ve been working with kids and large plastic cap art projects since 2004! I generally visit 10-15 schools/organizations each spring and we make bottle cap murals and freestanding garden installations. Check out past projects on my site:

    My booklet “Bottlecap Little Bottlecap” explains the supplies needed and all the steps for the murals, free-standing yard ornaments, lawn installations and fridge magnets. It provides many tips on how to collect, clean and affix/apply bottle caps in general. It is 30 pages with many color photographs and examples and is available for $22.00 here:

  41. Mark Lawrence says:

    is there anyone living in Japan that`s saving bottle caps???? if so ……..

    please E-mail me so that I may if possible, get information on where I can start looking for a recycling center to help these ppl in need.


  42. GW says:

    Found this on a site for Aveda:

    Aveda found that a majority of plastic bottle caps do not get recycled today.

    Often these caps end up as litter or trash, ending up in landfills and beaches or migrating into our rivers and oceans. Birds and other marine creatures mistake them for food with tragic results. The magnitude of this pollution problem is devastating to our oceans and wildlife.

    You can be part of the solution by joining Recycle Caps with Aveda.

    Aveda is announcing a new recycling initiative that helps extend the current boundaries of recycling and elicit participation from all corners of our community. With the help of our network of salons and stores, in partnership with community schools, we are building a new recycling program for plastic bottle caps in which caps are collected at stores and schools and then sent by Aveda to our recycler where the material is recycled into new caps and containers. Aveda has been able to work closely with our suppliers to develop ways to make new caps and containers from the recycled caps. We hope to ship new products using this reworked, environmentally-friendly material later this year.

    What type of caps do we collect?
    The program accepts caps that are rigid polypropylene plastic, sometimes noted with a 5 in the chasing arrows recycling symbol. This includes caps that twist on with a threaded neck such as caps on shampoo, water, soda, milk and other beverage bottles, flip top caps on tubes and food product bottles (such as ketchup and mayonnaise), laundry detergents and some jar lids such as peanut butter.

    Excluded from collection are pharmaceutical lids and non rigid lids such as yogurt lids, tub lids (margarine, cottage cheese), and screw on lids that are not rigid. If you can bend or break the lid with your bare hands, then it does not meet the rigid plastic definition. Please do not include any metal lids or plastic pumps or sprayers. Unfortunately, too much of the wrong types of materials can contaminate the recycling process. We appreciate your efforts in keeping it clean!

    We kicked the cap out of plastic at
    New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009

    Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009 marked the official kick-off of Aveda’s Caps Recycling Program—our powerful grassroots effort to help save marine life by reducing the amount of caps littering our beaches and oceans. Models, stylists and designers backstage participated in the program—bringing in their plastic caps to Rodarte, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Preen and Alexander Wang—Aveda’s designer partners in “green-ing” the runways.

    Join the Recycle Caps with Aveda campaign. Bring your plastic caps into an Aveda Store and feel great knowing that they will be repurposed into new Aveda packaging and kept from entering our waterways and harming wildlife.

    Want to know how your school can get involved?
    Click to learn more: Parents | Teachers. Remember to contact when you are ready to enroll your school.

    Like to color or know a child who does?
    Click here for a Fun and Educational Recycle Caps with Aveda Coloring Page. Enjoy!

  43. Gabriella says:

    I collect bottle caps for a Girl Scout project that i am working on. i am 13 years old and just started the silver award the highest award for my level of girl scouts and i am collecting bottle caps for and art workshop where we will be making a mural i am also collecting art supllies to make “Comfort Bags” for kids in the hostipital orin the local womens shelter. If you have any questions or would like to learn more contact me at or

  44. addy says:

    for metal bottle caps you can make a trivet by hot gluing them onto a piece of wood. you could probably also make a trivet with cement. i am not sure if these ideas work for plastic bottle caps though.

  45. INFUSEDgoods says:

    You can make a basket from plastic caps and some wire. I have instructions on my blog here:

  46. Nancy says:

    There is a “Recycle Caps with Aveda” Program. It is an ongoing program for Aveda.

    You may bring your caps to any Aveda Experience Center or send them in by mail to:

    ACA Waste Services
    40 Eads Street
    West Babylon, NY 11704

    Caps included in this collection are any plastic “twist on” caps. Some examples are; water bottles, soda bottles, laundry detergent bottles, ketchup bottles, and shampoo/ conditioner bottles. Caps that are NOT included are any metal caps and any “snap fit” plastic caps. Some examples of snap fit caps are; margarine and cottage cheese caps.

  47. Louise says:

    We are making new products from recycled bottle tops, our first product is a stylish pet bowl which is made in the UK. We are collecting and recycling milk bottle tops to make these products and making a donation to charity per tonne of tops that we can recycle. Current bowls are black but future ones will be green, have a look at them at the sucess of our recycling project depends on us being able to sell the finished product so hopefully they will be popular!
    Let us know what you think at

  48. Diane says:

    Currently living in Okinawa…just wanted to give out info on what I found out about the “vaccine for the worlds children”

    for mainland Japan contact:
    Tel : (81)3-3591-0623 Fax : (81)3-3591-0624
    For Information : Toll Free 0120-555-895

    Official Web Site : Email

    For Okinawa:
    1-6-11 Uehara, Ginowan City Okinawa Japan
    Tel: 098-975-8880/fax 098-975-8807

    Hope this helps.

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