Are Metal Bottle Caps Recyclable?
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Most communities will ask you to leave small items out of your curbside recycling because they tend to fall through the cracks in the sorting equipment and end up in the wrong place. On the other hand, all types of metal are generally desirable because they have more monetary value than other materials like plastic. So are metal bottle caps recyclable?
Recycling Metal Bottle Caps
If you throw a metal bottle cap like a beer bottle cap into your mixed recycling, it will likely end up with the small bits of everything (dirt, paper, glass shards) that fall to the lowest conveyer belt or end up on the recycling center floor. But there’s still a decent change that it will find its way to the right place eventually because most metal bottle caps are made of steel and those types of metal can be skimmed out with the use of magnets.
However, if you want to give your caps a greater chance of making it to the right place, Jennie Romer of Can I Recycle This? recommends putting them into a steel can (like a soup can), and pinching it closed so that the bottle caps can’t fall out. Test the caps and the can with a magnet to ensure that they are both steel. If the magnet does not stick, that’s an aluminum cap and should be put in an aluminum can. Don’t mix them, recyclers don’t want mixed metals.
Note: If your community recycling specifically asks you to leave these caps out of your recycling, please always follow your local rules.
Collect “oddball” metals and drop off at a metals recycler.
If your local recycling program won’t take these, another option would be to save bottle caps with your other “odd” metals (cookie tins, nails, old hardware, metal furniture, etc.) and when you have gathered a fair amount, you can take them to a dedicated scrap metal recycler. They will pay you for it, so you can even make a few dollars this way!
What about the plastic lining?
It isn’t a big issue, so don’t worry about it.
For answers to more of your recycling questions, visit the Master Recycling Guide!