- Preserve, a sustainable goods company, announced plans to partner with several businesses to design a far-reaching method for recycling plastic bottle caps, which commonly fall through the cracks of recycling machinery. Certain caps can be recycled when screwed onto their bottles, but many of them lack a recyclable bottle to "carry" it.
- The company is partnering with ACURE, Burt’s Bees, Stonyfield, Brita, and Plum Organics on this project, with a long-term goal of establishing a bottle cap recycling program in schools nationwide. For now, partners will enlist K-12th graders in 160 Massachusetts and Florida schools to participate. Students will learn of the caps’ harmful effects on oceans, be encouraged to recycle caps that can be recycled, and save those that can’t be.
- The pilot bottle cap recycling program will provide marked recycling bins in schools, and collected caps will be recycled through Preserve’s network of "Gimme 5" bins at Whole Foods Markets nationwide. Preserve will then turn those caps into new products like the "Preserve toothbrush."
Plastic caps are one of the most common forms of trash polluting beaches and oceans, harming marine life and their habitats.
Just three years ago the Association of Plastic Recyclers came out with the stand that caps should be left on plastic bottles for recycling. This message came after years of concerns that recycling technology could not handle PET bottles and their polypropylene or polyethylene caps all together.
"I dare say that of all the things that APR has done in the last 25 or 30 years, messaging that we would like the caps on has generated as much response as just about anything we have done in the marketplace," APR Executive Director Steve Alexander said during an Oct. 27 webinar.
"We consider caps to be one of the next key recycling frontiers," said Eric Hudson, founder and CEO of Preserve, in a press release. "Our goal is to not only keep caps out of the ocean but out of landfills as well. We are proud to be joining forces with like-minded companies … to provide an efficient recycling solution for caps."
Preserve believes that a school recycling program, coupled with municipal programs, will mean significantly less effort dedicated to cleaning caps from waterways and more protection for marine life. An initiative to teach children about recycling at a young age will allow them to create sustainable habits, as well.