Most plastic bottle tops are made from a plastic that can be recycled, but the vast majority of local authorities do not have the equipment or facilities to process them, particularly small bottle tops. This is often because the bottle tops are too small to go through the machinery, and can cause a problem in the process.
They are often made from different plastic resin to the rest of the bottle or container too, which can make it more complicated. Most caps are made of polypropylene (#5 plastic), with some composed of high-density polyethylene (#2 plastic). Plastic bottles and jugs are typically #1 or #2 plastic. For more information on the different types of plastic check out Types of Plastic.
Recycle Now actually advise you to put them back on to your bottle and that way they will get recycled, but that is certainly not the case in every area and you should definitely check locally.
Some recycling plants will recycle the larger plastic bottle tops, such as coffee jar lids, butter box lids, etc, and it is important to check your own local facility. You can find a link to your own local council recycling page here.
If you are unable to recycle bottle top lids in your normal kerbside collection, there are several options available.
Handmade cosmetic company Lush will recycle your plastic bottle tops so save your lids and head on down to your local Lush shop and help the environment at the same time! They accept them in all stores however, they are not now accepting lids by post, as they were inundated!
The bottle tops are processed and sent to another company (Storm Board in Somerset) to be made into the bottle board. The Bottle Board is then used for useful things from wall cladding to furniture and beehives. They’ve even been used to make a play area at a refugee camp in France.
You can include almost most plastic bottle tops, including:
- Lush bottle caps
- milk bottle caps
- soft drink caps
- juice bottle caps
- fabric softener caps
They are NOT able to take large, thick plastic lids (like coffee jar lids) as these do not go through the small granulator. NB. Larger lids like coffee lids can sometimes be recycled in kerbside collections. Check your local rules.
A Local Charity Scheme
Many charities collect bottle tops, and particularly milk bottle tops to raise funds. It is worth keeping an eye out for collections in your area on social media, etc. We have listed here those that we are aware of. Charities can often receive up to £30 for every 500kgs of bottle tops collected and are always looking for bulk. It is possible to set up your own scheme and collect for a charity of your choice as well.
Budleigh Salterton, East Devon – Budleigh Salterton Lions Club collect milk bottle lids. You can drop your lids off at Bradleys Estate Agents, 9 High Street or Fulfords Estate Agents, 19 High Street, or at Budleigh Salterton Library or pop through the letterbox at the Lions Hut opposite the Spar. For further information, check out the Lions website. https://www.budleighlions.com/collections
Southampton – Gift of Sight – The Gift of Sight Appeal was established with the aim of funding world-class research into the prevention and treatment of blindness and is managed by Southampton University. https://www.giftofsight.org.uk/support-us/ways-you-can-help
Southampton Bottle Tops for Charity – they collect for a children’s charity called New Beginnings and you can drop off at Unit 31, New Forest Enterprise Centre, Chapel Lane, Totton, SO40 9LA, or 2 1, Denbigh Close, Totton, SO40 7QD.
Portsmouth – GHS Recycling – runs many schemes for various charities in the area – a full list is available on their website at https://ghsrecycling.co.uk and includes drop off points at the following:
- Prostate Cancer Support (Eastbourne)
- Lupus UK (Brighton)
- Salisbury District Hospital – (Salisbury)
- Thames Valley and Chiltern air ambulance (Sandhurst)
- Chestnut Tree House (St Pauls Church, Chichester)
- Great Ormond Street Hospital – (East Grinstead)
- Solent MS Therapy Centre (Hewet Road, North End, Portsmouth)
- Dementia Support (Tangmere)
Horsham – Sussex Green Living collect for the Springboard Project in Horsham which provides inclusive play and leisure opportunities for families with young children and fun short breaks for children and teenagers with disabilities. They are recycled to make hard plastic toys for children, such as slides and other garden toys. They also go to make more bottle tops! For further information and drop off points:
Chichester, Rustington, Petersfield & Arundel – collect bottle tops for Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice – see their web page for drop off points.
Wisborough Green – you can drop off your milk bottle lids at The Old Pond Cottage B&B – the lady there has been collecting them for many years and distributes the between Chestnut Tree House and Springboard in Horsham. You can leave them in a basket on the doorstep but please make sure that they are rinsed, and put in a bag before they are dropped.
Burgess Hill – these ladies both collect milk bottle tops for the Princess Royal Hospital Charity raising money for Hurstwood Park Neurolosciences League of Friends – only milk bottle tops with number 2 or 4 inside the cap – must be washed clean and dry please.
- Lucy at 14 The Acorns, Burgess Hill, RH15 8UW (24 hour drop off within reason! Clear tubs in front of garage for drop off).
- Natasza at 297 London Road, Burgess Hill, RH15 9QJ (in the black and blue recycling bin with silver tape on the lid and front, 24hr drop off within reason).
Northern Ireland – this chap collects them all over the country – you can contact him via his Facebook page to arrange a collection. https://www.facebook.com/jonnycollectsyourtops/
Start Your Own Charity Scheme
GHS Recycling are a recycling company who will collect bottle tops and pay charities for the bulk they receive. For further details check out their website at https://ghsrecycling.co.uk/charity-scheme/
TerraCycle will also collect bottle tops, and almost anything else. At present, however, they do not have a charity scheme, but do have Zero Waste boxes for commercial organisations to buy. For further information check out: https://www.terracycle.co.uk/en-GB/zero_waste_boxes/plastic-bottle-caps
We always say this, there is always the option of creating Gotham City out of bottle tops, and you just know that Pinterest will provide you with some inspiration! I have to say though, I am sorely tempted to have a go at the giant Hama bead approach!! Some very cool stuff indeed! https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sherron/plastic-bottle-cap-crafts/?lp=true
Local Kerbside Recycling of Lids
Rules differ of course, but we will endeavor to provide a full list here!
|West Sussex||Only large ones such as coffee lids.|
|Caerphilly County Borough||Recycle provided the tops are screwed on to the bottle.
PLEASE KEEP US UP TO DATE!
If you know of any other places collecting bottle tops, please let us know and we can keep this page as up to date and useful as possible. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Recycle Plastic Bottle Tops
If you know of any other places collecting bottle tops, please let us know and we can keep this page as up to date and useful as possible.