Are Bottle Caps Recyclable? (And Clever Ways To Reuse Them)

At a point in time in your life, you would have come across bottles of some kind. Whether plastic bottles, glass bottles, or bottles made from steel or aluminum. The point is you have most likely drunk from a bottle.

However, regardless of how valuable bottles are, you cannot use them forever. You will most likely get exhausted from using it or have it become unusable in the long run.

You don’t care about the bottle any longer, not to talk of the bottle caps. Sometimes you even toss off the bottle cap before you are done with the bottle container. However, these bottle caps are just as important when it comes to environmental protection.

So, have you wondered about the possibilities with bottle caps? Are bottle caps recyclable? Well, if you need an answer, you are in luck. In this article, we will speak all about it.

Dive in!

Can You Recycle Bottle Caps?

They appear quite small, and you have heard how it is difficult to recycle small materials. So, you are wondering if you can recycle your bottle caps.

Well, you are in luck because yes, you can recycle bottle caps. Even more, this might be a bit confusing, especially if you have previously heard that you should always remove the bottle caps before turning the bottles in for recycling.

However, do not let that confuse you. Now, most bottle caps come in the form of plastic or metals. And you can generally recycle both materials.

The major thing to note is they must be unscrewed from the container and somewhere separate before you can recycle them. Also, you will need to find yourself a recycling center that would be willing to accept them.

Afterward, you are good to go!

Can You Recycle Bottle Caps for Money?

By now, you know for sure that you can recycle your bottle caps. All you need to do is just collect and forward them to a recycling center.

It doesn’t just stop there. If you have been wondering about the likelihood of making money from bottle recycling, then do not just discard those thoughts yet.

You can recycle bottle caps for money. In fact, curbside recycling programs and recycling centers would be glad to take them off your hands. As such, they may feel inclined to compensate you for bringing those items that they can recycle and transform into other objects. After all, they will also make money in the long run.

However, not all recycling establishments are like this. Some would accept scrap metals without bothering to pay for them.

Also, there is no guaranteed price that these bottle caps are worth. It largely depends on the recycling company. Regardless, you can recycle bottle caps for money.

Can You Recycle Metal Bottle Caps?

Now that we have assessed the possibility of recycling bottle caps in general and recycling them to make money. Let us proceed to examine the likelihood of recycling particular types of bottle caps.

For now, our attention is on metal bottle caps; let’s find out if it’s possible to recycle them or not. And if you can do it, are there complications involved?

Shall we?

If you think that you can recycle metal bottle caps, then you guessed right.

You can recycle metal bottle caps. However, there is a certain way that you must collect them to ensure you can recycle properly, and they do not end up in a landfill.

Ways to Collect and Recycle Metal Bottles

You probably think that since there are just two forms of metal bottle caps; aluminum and steel. It would be best to toss them into the recycling machine; they are both recyclable, after all.

No! this is very wrong. In fact, if you do it this way, your bottle caps might not get identified for recycling due to their small size. And when they are unidentified, you cannot recycle them. Thus, they end up going to a landfill.

So, here’s how to ensure that your metal bottle caps go in for proper recycling.

  1. Collect and sort your aluminum bottle caps from the ones made of steel. This way, you can ensure that the bottle caps of the same sort are processed together. You can do this easily through a very simple magnet test once the bottle cap sticks a magnet, its steel. And if it doesn’t stick its aluminum. After deciding this, sort them appropriately.
  2. After sorting, make sure you fill the recycling cans with the bottle cap. Then close the can to prevent the bottle caps from falling off during the entire recycling process. You should be conscious not to flood the cans with the bottle caps. If you are filling to the brim, the recycling cans will not close. You certainly don’t want the caps to fall off during the collection or processing.

That’s all; if you can successfully follow these steps, then you’d be sure to recycle your metal bottle caps.

Can You Recycle Plastic Bottle Lids?

Moving on to the next type of bottle cap, let’s find out if you can recycle plastic bottle lids. If yes, what are the steps or procedures involved?

Let’s go!

Over the years, there has been so much controversy around the recycling of plastic bottle caps. And this controversy originates from the fact that the bottle caps come from a different form of plastic than the bottle container.

The bottle caps come from #5 plastic, which is polypropylene. In contrast, the bottle’s body is #1 and #2 plastic, which are polyethylene terephthalate (PET, or plastic #1 based on resin codes) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE, plastic #2 based on resin codes).

Generally, this should not be an issue. However, it was discovered that the #5 plastic has a higher melting point than #1 and #2 plastic. So, there is a high chance that if you place them under the same melting degree, you can end up ruining the plastics you want to recycle.

This is why it has been instructed that the recycling of bottle caps has to be done separately from the plastic bottle containers.

However, nowadays, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) has claimed it’s okay to keep the bottle caps on during the recycling process. So now, you have the option to either remove the bottle caps and recycle separately. Or you can recycle both cap and container together.

However, you should always follow the instructions set by your local recycling centers. Also, the bottles must be liquid-free before recycling, and it needs not to be rinsed.


Can You Leave Caps on Glass Bottles for Recycling?

So far, we have examined the possibility of recycling plastic bottles and metal bottles.  Now, let us see if it is possible to leave the caps on glass bottles during recycling. Or different things apply to both bottle caps.

Most times, what we have on glass bottles are small metal caps. These caps are so small that they fall off through the spaces in the recycling machine. They sometimes go as far as getting stuck and causing mechanical faults to the recycling machine.

To avoid confusion, the examples of bottle smack we are discussing here are; wine and alcohol bottle caps, Olive oil bottle caps, etc.

As such, you shouldn’t leave the caps on while recycling glass bottles. However, you can recycle these bottles caps separately in recycling equipment that would not allow the bottle caps to fall through.

Steps to Recycle Bottle Caps on Glass Bottles

  • You should collect the bottle caps and put them separately in an aluminum can.
  • Place a lid to ensure the bottle caps are trapped in and will not fall off.
  • After this, you can get on with your recycling.

Are Bottle Caps Worth Anything?

At this point, you are probably still perplexed about all these fusses on bottle caps. You are wondering if they are valuable monetarily. Or, if at all, they are worth all the fuss and efforts that accompany them.

Relax! We would tell you.

So, as it is, bottle caps are quite valuable. They are worth money, although the exact amount they are worth largely depends on the market.

Usually, the price per bottle cap made from steel ranges from 5 cents to 9 cents. However, for food-grade quality aluminum, it is worth far more than that. It goes as high as 35 to 45 cents.

Now imagine the price of just one bottle cap and how much you would realize if you had a whole load of bottle caps.

There, you have your answer. In a normal market, Bottle caps are worth some money. But in a favorable market, they are worth much more.

This is why a lot of organizations, especially charity organizations, collect them so that they can raise money.

So, the next time you want to toss out your bottle caps, remember you are throwing away money. So, you should send them to a collection point and gain some money. Or you donate them out to organizations that would use it to raise money for charity.

5 Clever Ways to Reuse Old Bottle Caps

Perhaps you have no interest in selling or donating your bottle caps. However, you still do not want them lying around idle in your house.

There are a lot of creative ways you can put your bottle caps to use. And here, we will tell you some of these creative uses.

Let’s go!

1. Countertop

In case you own a bar, and you are looking to redecorate. You can make use of your collected bottle caps to make a countertop or a bar top. With your collected bottle tops and a proper arrangement, you will get a very nice makeover.

2. Home Decorations and Interior Designs

You can also make use of your collected bottle caps for several home decorations. For example, you can use them to make a coaster for your drinks. You can also make the bottle caps into a picture frame. The various colors and arrangements would no doubt give it a feel of an artwork.

3. Accessories

Additionally, you can use your bottle caps to make accessories. For this, you don’t need many bottle caps. You can use less than ten bottle caps to make a unique key chain or accessories like rings and earrings.

4. Coasters

Another clever idea to use old plastic caps is to make coasters. For instance, you can make a coaster from juice bottle caps and use it when drinking juice. Similarly, you can make a coaster from wine bottle caps and use it when drinking beer.

5. Design Frame For Mirror

Old plastic caps can also be used to decorate a unique frame for the mirror. You just need glue and some bottle caps. Just glue the caps one by one to the actual frame. It’s a very simple craft project that you can do at your home and can give some more recycling ideas to you.


Bottle caps undoubtedly play a huge role in keeping the content of our bottle containers safe. It ensures that dirt or germs do not fall inside. And therefore, it prevents us from falling sick when we drink from the bottle container.

So, we can say that as small as bottle caps are, they play a very instrumental role. As such, you should be very concerned about matters relating to their recycling or reusing.

Now that you have been equipped with the necessary information about them remember that the ball is in your court.


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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.