Cap on or Cap off? Could You Be Hindering Your Recycling Efforts?

By Cindy Pantea

Recycling Caps on Plastic Bottles

The statement and article that prompted the tweet above can be found at:

Keep Akron Beautiful wanted to get the scoop on this, so I asked Greenstar Recycling Consultant, Scott Dellinger, who said that while the statement and article are based on truth, they are a bit overanalyzed and overcomplicated. Scott says that the real deal with caps is,

Bottle caps impact our processing at the MRF [Materials Recycling Facility] more than the actual end users of plastic. As facilities become more and more automated bottle caps become a bigger problem. Our initial sorting process is done by size and we remove glass. As you can imagine, bottle caps are small enough to fall through the glass screen and contaminate the materials for the end user companies. If the lids stay on the bottle through the sizing screens, they tend to keep the bottles inflated. When inflated bottles run through our perforator and flattener they can eject the caps and could potentially injure an employee, […] but the bigger issue is if the bottles fall through the perforator and do not become flat, they spin on our high speed belts and the optical scanners are less effective in recovery.

So, best thing to do is smash and cap — smash the bottle to deflate it and cap it to keep out the air. Or, if you have an Aveda Hair Salon or Whole Foods store nearby, these stores, according to an article, accept plastic caps for recycling.

Just on a side note, the recycling process is quite interesting, according to our Keep Akron Beautiful President & CEO and Greenprint for Akron Director, Paula Davis, who toured Greenstar Recycling with Akron teachers on a Greenprint for Akron tour this past summer. I’m sure a lot of what was learned was passed on to students on America Recycles Day!

What About Plastic Grocery Bags?

While we are on the topic of recycling, another item to keep out of your recycling is plastic shopping bags. It is best to take your plastic bags back to your grocer or other stores who recycle them, like Marc’s, which was  confirmed recently through Twitter:

Recycling Plastic Grocery Bags

Thank you @MarcsStores for confirming this for us!

Other Questions on Recycling

If you have questions about recycling, your local recyclers may have a handy question and answer page or even offer newsletters. For example, a couple recyclers in Akron, Ohio we can visit are: Greenstar Recycling’s Q&A page or River Valley Paper Company’s FAQs page.

For other local recycling solutions, talk to your local Solid Waste Management Authority. In Akron, it is the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority (SASWMA) at 330-374-0383 or

For the most recent recycling solutions from  the SASWMA, I’ve attached a .pdf link below that you can view and/or print and keep. It’s free!…

Local Recycling Solutions from SASWMA

We’d also appreciate if you would sign up for our Keep Akron Beautiful free newsletter, so we can give you more up-to-date tips on recycling and more. Signup is at the left of our homepage at, we just need your name and email, which we do not share. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.

Big thanks to Scott Dellinger at Greenstar Recycling and @OptimizedMom.

One thought on “Cap on or Cap off? Could You Be Hindering Your Recycling Efforts?

  1. Pingback: KAB Asks: What is Your Green Resolution? | Keep Akron Beautiful

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