A Cause for the Cap Collection

8 12 2011

My #intcom class has a deep place in their hearts for breast cancer.  We all own pink pens thanks to our professor (@coryOConnor) who practically bought out the pink breast cancer center of Staples, and we all did our best to tweet #projectpink whenever we could, donating money towards breast cancer, sponsored by Puma.  That being said, I would love to donate these bottle caps to an organization sponsoring breast cancer, or turn them in somewhere for money so I can donate on behalf of the Chapman students!

Unfortunately, I am not having much luck.  Malia Walker, the woman I interviewed from the Waste Management of Orange County also told me there is no place she knows of where I can turn the caps in for money.  I found a few websites online about donating the caps to provide a session of chemotherapy for a patient, but looking at snopes.com (a site uncovering rumors), it is apparently not true.  As I began to think my goal was impossible, I walked into a meeting on campus and a girl was carrying a handful of plastic bottle caps, ready to bring into her work where they were donating them to provide a friend with chemotherapy.  I told her about my blog and findings but she told me that she knows it provided the patient chemotherapy because they have provided enough caps to already give him a session.  She is checking with her work today about the contact information and exact details, so I am very excited to hear back about that!

Another option for those of you who may want to donate these caps rather than just throw them in the recycle bin (unscrewed of course), is to donate them to Aveda.  Find the closest Aveda Experience Center on the Internet (Earth911.com) and take your bottle caps in. They will recycle them, turning the caps into new packaging for the Aveda hair products.

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The Issue

6 12 2011

One of the biggest issues, is that the right answer when referring to what one should do with their bottle caps, is slightly unclear, even within the waste management companies.  Credible sources need to publish more information about the process and what the correct thing to do is, so people can make a change. Bottle caps and the bottle itself are made of two different plastics. Bottle caps are labeled with a 5 (the resin identification code), while the bottles are labeled usually 1 or 2.  Recycling centers only take certain resin identification coded plastics, depending on the location.  Even if a recycling center nearby takes plastics labeled 1, 2, and 5, they do not all get recycled together.  The higher the number, the higher melting point the plastic has.  If the caps and bottles were to all be recycled together, the bottle caps would shatter rather than melt due to the decreased heat.  These shatters cause a problem as they jam the machines that need to be running all the time to take care of the waste humans create.  While melting the bottles, pressure is created due to the heat and the rest of the recycling process.  This pressure can be dangerous as caps can pop off the bottle and injure workers at the recycling centers.

Because machines can get jammed and workers can get injured, bottles that still have the caps screwed on are most times thrown away, and headed towards the dump. This causes problems as our landfills are filling up and plastic does not decompose well.

As a little background information, I have added this video that goes through the process of recycling plastic.

To verify my information, I interviewed Malia Walker, a worker in the customer service department of Waste Management of Orange County.  She confirmed my research that “it is better to keep the caps off the bottles because it is better for the process of the bottles getting smashed down”.  I always wondered what I should do with the cap after I take it off, and Malia Walker said that it is best to also place these in the recycle bin.  As stated earlier, I wanted to collect bottle caps to raise money for breast cancer, but between Malia and snopes.com (a rumor has it site), it seems as though there is no where to collect money to be donate in exchange for the bottle caps.