By Liesl Clark
Plastic bottle caps are beguiling: Perfectly round shapes in every size and color under the rainbow. If you collect enough of them you’ll start to think there must be something remarkable to do with them. You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for inspiration. But first, you must know that you can keep the cap on your plastic bottles if you want to recycle them. Nationwide, recyclers are alerting the general public that it’s okay to keep your caps on your bottles for recycling. The Association of Post Consumer Plastic Recyclers supports this practice, and if you’re not sure you can do it check with your local recycler and show them the APR press release.
If your town or city won’t recycle them, then you still have some options. First, you could look for your nearest Aveda salon or store. Go to their store locator page to look up those nearest you and then call them to make sure they’ll take your bottle caps. If they do, they’ll take flip-top caps like ketchup bottle caps, and prescription bottle caps as well as shampoo bottle caps and laundry detergent caps.
Whole Foods and Preserve have a joint program called Gimme 5 that collects yogurt cups and other #5 plastics including caps. You’ll need to check their website to make sure there’s a Whole Foods in your state participating in the program.
If there isn’t a Gimme 5 drop off location near you, don’t give up yet! You can mail your stockpiled caps to Caps Can Do in Ohio. They make funnels and buckets out of them, among other plastic things.
If you have some you’ve saved up and want to do something interesting with them, here are a few reuse ideas to keep your creative juices going:
1) Watercolor Set: With an Altoid tin, a set of plastic bottle caps can fit nicely inside to make a cool portable watercolor set.
2) CD Spinning Top: This one’s fun for the kids and also utilizes old CDs. You’ll need a glue gun and some ping pong balls, too.
3) Christmas Tree Ornament: Make a multicolored Christmas tree by stacking and then stringing together your colorful lids.
4) White Cap Lampshade: This lampshade looks more like a chandelier with translucent white caps.
5) Bottle Cap Magnets: These colorful magnets with faces on them will brighten up any refrigerator.
6) CD Hovercraft: If you have a push-up water bottle cap a CD hovercraft would be fun to make. You’ll need a CD and a balloon, too.
7) Plastic Cap Picture Frame: Cover up an old picture frame with your favorite colored bottle caps.
8) Kandinsky-esque Art Projects For Kids: Teach your kids about Kandinsky’s squares and concentric circles by using lids and constructing your own 3D art.
9) Snowmen: These adorable ornaments are easy for small hands to make and make use of those white bottle caps.
10) Toy Cars: These plastic bottles on wheels are too cute to not try. And they’re not just for boys. Girls like cars, too.
11) Bottle Cap Frogs: Creative Jewish Mom has some adorable frogs for the kids to make. Should keep the little ones hopping for hours.
12) Screen, Curtain, or Room Divider: Colorful caps can create screen if strung together using fishing line.
13 – 25) Our last 13 reuses can be found in our original article about plastic bottle caps. They’re wonderful reuses so please don’t miss them!
And if you want more, we have many more plastic bottle cap reuses in our Trash Backwards app! Be sure to check them out: