By Liesl Clark
If you drink wine, you’ll know the caps I’m talking about. They also come on other glass bottled liquids, are made of aluminum and are never mentioned in municipal recycling lists. What’s a person to do with these things?
Here are 5 options:
“Put small caps in the garbage. Small lids can jam the machinery at the recycling plant.”
After a few hours of research, I was able to sample enough municipal sights that do take these small caps (Los Angeles, CA and Boulder, CO for example) but they ask you to NOT screw your metal caps back onto your bottles (same goes for metal lids on glass jars) as they will then need to go to a secondary sorting facility where someone will have to take them off. Metals go in metals, glass in glass.
2) Even If Your Recycler Doesn’t Take them, Recycle Them! If you can recycle cans, step on them to squash them and put them inside your can. Then close the lid a little so the caps don’t fall out. It’s subterfuge, but should keep the caps from getting into the equipment and will add them to the recycling mix. These caps are made of aluminum, so you should probably put them inside an aluminum pop can (that you’ll have to open with a can opener). If you’re really cautious, then save them and put them in the scrap metal bin. We have a friend on our island who collects them, along with all aluminum foil, pie plates, aluminum wine cork wrappers, etc. and she delivers this aluminum to a recycler in Seattle who will pay for it!
3) Screw Cap For Your New Water Bottle: Reuse the cap, wine bottle and all by turning the whole thing into your new glass water bottle. It’s chic, cheap, and easy.
4) Pin Cushion Ring: This cute pin cushion is easy to make and handy for sewing projects. You could also make one as a bracelet.
5) Oil Lamp: Turn your wine bottle with twist cap into an oil lamp.
That just about sums it up. I had a tough time finding ANY information on these twist caps, except the fact that scientific studies are showing that twist top wine tastes better than natural corked wine (!), but some aged red wines do better with oak cork though they run the risk of cork taint. Other than the cork vs screw top debate, there’s a hole in the materials culture media about these little caps and we’re happy to fill it as best we can.
Am I missing something really cool (or obvious?) Please let me know.
If you’re interested in the non-twist-off metal caps, like beer caps, let me direct you to our Trash Backwards app that has an excellent page on what to do with your beer and soda caps: