Let me start this post with a reminder that the overall idea is to reduce the amount of plastic we use. That will inevitably reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate. The ideal is a zero plastic lifestyle.
It surprises me that I actually have to point this out, but reaction to previous posts in the series makes it clear that I do: none of the ideas shared in this series about reusing plastic are meant to encourage readers to go out and buy products in order to get their hands on the plastic items needed. Quite the contrary. If you decide you’d like to build a greenhouse out of 2 litre pop bottles, I can almost guarantee that you won’t need to buy a single bottle of pop yourself. Put a call out on your local Facebook group. Send an email out to your friends and family. Go door to door down your street, and chances are you’ll have enough bottles to build a double storey house… although I wouldn’t recommend it.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to the intended subject of this post: the reuse of plastic bottle caps. This is the last in this series. From next week, I’ll be looking at something other than plastic for a while.
The real bummer with plastic caps is that they are less widely recycled than the bottles they seal. Please check to see whether your local recycling service recycles PP (pop bottle caps) and HDPE (sometimes used for milk/fruit juice). If they don’t, you’ll need to separate them out from your trash. If you sling a bottle-with-cap into the recycling in an area where the caps are not recycled, there is a good chance that this will be seen as ‘mixed plastic’ and will be removed. At that point, landfill is a very real possibility. If your local recycling centre doesn’t recycle this kind of plastic, there are some charities that do. Do a quick Internet search to see if there are any such services in your area.
So, what are we going to do with the little blighters?
Some of the projects I shared in my post about reusing pop bottles, include the lids, so I won’t repeat those. But do have a quick (re)read to see whether there’s anything there for you. Other ideas include:
- a mini paint palette by sticking a number of bottle caps (open side up, obvs) onto a larger lid from an ice cream tub, for example. You could make a hold for your thumb, too
- fridge magnets
- murals for your garden, the local park, the beach, or school
- pill cases or tiny containers for camping/hiking
- creative flooring (note – the bottle caps used in this project are metal, but plastic ones could work too – see the picture)
- door curtains
- wall and floor treatment for a funky bathroom
- table tops – in fact, I’ve been saving the chartreuse coloured caps from citrus splash coke for just such a project
- garden paths
- lighting and decor
- place name holders for weddings or parties
- toys – and there are so many ideas out there, I didn’t know how to choose which one to link to!
I have also seen ideas for Christmas decorations, and even jewellery. And, if you’re anything like me, each new thing you see will foster ideas of your own. What I love about this era is how much people are willing to share their skills and ideas. There’s a generosity among creative people that warms the cockles of my heart.
Until next time.