Want to Know Where to Recycle Your Bottle Caps?

recycling plastic bottle caps

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Keep saving your lids for the next time you need to buy some more shampoo or lotion at Aveda. The company accepts all polypropylene (plastic #5) lids for recycling at its stores, which you can quickly search for using Earth911.com.

Did you know that bottle caps are generally a different type of plastic than the bottles themselves? Put down your water bottle for a second and flip it over. On the bottom, you’ll probably see a triangle with chasing arrows and a “1” on the inside. That means that the bottle is polyethylene, a plastic generally accepted for recycling in most curbside and drop-off programs. But have you checked out the lid yet?

More than likely, the lid doesn’t have a number on it. Or, if it does, it’s a different number than the bottle itself. The problem with this is that, sometimes, your recycler may not accept this different plastic, and the lids end up getting sent to landfills in the recycling process.

You can determine if you have the right kind of plastic by checking to see if the lid is:

  • Bottle caps usually require a separate recycling process from the bottles themselves. Aveda recycles plastic#5 caps at its stores.

    Bottle caps usually require a separate recycling process from the bottles themselves. Aveda recycles plastic#5 caps at its stores. Photo: Flickr/Bridget Benton

    A twist top, or a cap with a threaded neck (think: shampoo, water, soda, milk)

  • A flip-top cap from a tube or food product bottle (think: ketchup, mayonnaise)
  • A laundry detergent or peanut butter lid
  • Rigid and resistant to tears (think: can you bend or break the lid with your hands?)

The program doesn’t accept lids like yogurt lids, pharmaceutical lids, tub lids (like margarine or cottage cheese) and non-screw top lids.

Once collected, the caps are recycled and turned into new packaging for Aveda products, like hair color and shampoo.

Just think: by the simple act of saving your bottle caps and jar lids for your next trip to the mall, you’ll also end up saving valuable plastic from getting trashed and possibly prevent a marine animal from attempting to eat these colorful caps.

(Don’t have an Aveda near you? Whole Foods is another national retailer that is now collecting plastic #5 products.)

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  1. Ya, goo question Jenae, were would we send our bottle caps? I live in a very rural area. No malls, (thank God and Goddess, or whoever you worship), this would be the best alternative vs. trashing it, and killing a marine animal’s life.

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  3. THANKS for the questions!

    Jennifer: What do you mean when you say: “…saving your bottle caps and jar lids for your next trip to the mall.” ? What do you mean??? Am I supposed to visit the shoe store, the book store, the sunglass hut….WHO or WHERE should I take the caps??? Someone else (not as dedicated to re-cycling) might read this and become VERY discouraged. People want to know specifics. They don’t have the time to read a ‘fun’ article titled “Want To Know Where To Recycle Your Bottlecaps?” that is inspiring but UN-informative! If they are at the site and have begun to read an article they are already inspired. They simply need specifics on WHERE to recycle or a phone number, at least!

    In my experience, which is considerable, I have not found anyone at a mall telling me where to re-cycle bottlecaps. I certainly have not found anyone at the mall collecting recyclables!

  4. Our school was told to collect bottle caps for a student who has cancer. It is supposed to help pay for chemo. But no one knows what to do with the large quantity we have collected. The source of the request has disappeared. Can you tell me where I can take these to be recycled? Anything would help – they are piling up fast because we all care about the student with cancer . . . I am located near Charlotte in NC.

    Thank you!

  5. I need to start checking my caps out.

    For those of you who are confused as to where you are supposed to recycle the #5 plastics in the caps, scroll to the top of the page, enter #5 plastic in the box for what you want to recycle and enter your location in the box for where, then click “search” All your options will be shown.


  6. People think that recycling is not that important. but it really does something to help us survive in this world. What recycling does is it actually helps to make energy, or protects the envorinment. People don’t know this but actually it is the common habit of a daily life.

  7. There is no such promotion that will turn caps into help paying for chemotherapy. This was a hoax on the internet for a long time. It was perpetuated by a story talking about caps for cancer, but upon further research, nothing came of it. As a cancer survivor of almost 2 years, I have looked into this and there is no such thing as saving caps for chemo. If there was, why wouldn’t everybody be doing it?
    Aveda.com does have instructions about saving caps and sending the caps to them for use in shampoo bottles, etc. Check out their website for the info.

  8. I tried several times to recycle plastic caps at Aveda stores, but there are no Aveda salons in Thurston or Pierce Counties in Washington state that participate in the recycling program. Aveda has a nice web page about recycling bottle caps, but since each salon can choose to participate or not, the recycling program is not really an option. The Aveda salons in my area in Olympia, Washington had not even heard about the cap recycling program. I sent several emails to Aveda to try to find a place to recycle the caps, but never heard back from them. It appears that the Aveda recycling program is just smoke and mirrors and sounds nice, but is not really functioning as a true recycling program, but as a public relations gimmick.

  9. In case you cannot find an Aveda salon to bring your plastic caps to, if you live in the Western United States, you can send plastic caps to:

    Distribution Center
    Aveda Cap Program
    Attention: Cesar Soto
    475 West Apra Street
    Rancho Dominguez CA 90220

    I called the Aveda Corporate Headquarters after many unsuccessful email requests for help with finding a location near where I live for Aveda’s recycled cap program, and they kindly gave me the above address.

  10. thanx for the bottle cap info, however, was disappointed to read someone said the aveda’s she tried did not accept them. i will call the two i know of to inquire. rita m.

  11. I own an AVEDA salon in South Tampa, Florida. You can bring your bottle caps to us and we will distribute them to AVEDA for you. Visit us on Facebook for more information.

  12. To Eric above- no, typing in their search does not work. It shows the places that accept #5 plastics, which is very different from the CAPS. All the search results for my area don’t actually accept lids, but there is no way for this search engine to tell you that, I just know from checking their websites. And I tried typing in things with “cap” “lid” etc, but they don’t list that here.

  13. I always need to own a company that reciles in Ethiopia .But I can’t do it because of financial problems . Here where I live there are many throun waste materials that can be recicled ? Is there any one up there that can help me .

  14. Does anyone know where I can find some data on the damage metal beer caps do when thrown into the ocean or lakes? I know fish and other marine life might eat them but i’m looking for some scientific data or studies that have been done?

  15. My school is interested in collecting bottle caps, but a Middle School would like to do it for a reason, like get supplies for the school, etc. Is there anyone that sponsors recycling programs for schools?

  16. Hi, my family just got word about the caps for cancer and have started collecting caps, however after research, the cancer society has released a statement that this is a HOAX. please check into this i would hate to crush the dreams of a cancer patient so please research this.

  17. I’m in San Diego, CA – are there any real simple answers instead of going from website to website on recycling plastic water bottles?
    So far I learned “no caps”.
    Do I have to take the wrappers off the bottles?
    Do I need to separate the clear from the colored? I would think so.
    Would I receive the 5 cents per bottle or do I get paid by weight?
    How much do I need to have for the recycler to take them?
    I want to start recycling even tho I really don’t have the room where I live.

  18. Someone should make a sheet we can print off an hang by a box to collect these. Something with pictures of acceptable items, maybe a list, maybe the symbols that have a 5 in them so we know the difference, maybe a list of items that cannot go in there, and maybe the reason why we are seperating the caps from the bottles…………….

    I might work on that, but don’t know how to share it with others.

  19. im looking to do artwork with bottle caps, so if anyone would like to donate them to me i would be more then greatful

  20. So are the plastic caps on 20 oz soda bottles # 5’s? People at work collect them for the “reward points”, & after they are done throw about 20 away at once. I would love to be able to start a collection bin at work & drop them off at Whole Foods myself as it is closer to me than an Aveda salon. So, just to clarify, are Coke caps #5?

  21. As the art teacher in an elementary school we are huge into recycling. I am in the midst of an art unit on reuse, recycle, reinvent…and would love any bottlecaps you would like to send our way. I’m also looking for lids (from containers) in any color or size. Please contact me if interested. Thanks!

  22. Help-Please help! I have been collecting bottle tops for some years.When our local collection point here in Teignmouth, S Devon UK stopped I took them to our friends [linked to Secours Catholic]in Casteljaloux France where they went ‘to help provide wheelchairs for handicapped children’. Now they too no longer use them. I regularly receive carrier bags full from our church members. Do I now have to tell them to throw them in their bins. Surely that too cannot be a HOAX like ‘caps for cancer’ Sometimes it is so difficult to do the right thing. Good luck to you all.Rosemary

  23. where do i send my caps????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  24. Read everyone of these postings! It’s really sad in this day and age with so many concerned people that our government hasn’t come up with some way to keep these out of our landfills. I’ve also been saving mine for years and refuse to give up. Someday, someone will take the time and invest the $$ to make it profitable. Maybe the answer is to go to the source. The manufacturers to come up with something biodegradible. Just a thought. Until then I’m hanging onto mine till there’s a true solution. I’m proud of you all. Keep up the effort. If we keep this dilemma alive in voice and writting maybe someday.

  25. Aveda will send you pre-paid mailing labels to send them the bottle caps. AT NO COST TO YOU. I just enrolled our elementary school in their program and we now 400 students collecting caps. We are promoting this to our parents and — the class that collects the most will get an ice cream party at the end of the year. Just think of all the plastic that won’t end up in a landfill. AND we’re teaching our children (our future!) to recycle.

  26. What are soda bottle caps generally made out of? I was really happy when I found out that the local recycling program expanded to accept plastic numbers 1-7, but they still ask us to remove and throw away the lids.

  27. Stephanie, I have been collecting the caps because I had heard about the Caps for chemo. I was extremely disappointed to find out this was a hoax. I would love to donate them to your art class if you are still interested. I will ship them UPS if you give me the address.
    Thank you,

  28. Open the website http://www.aveda.com, at the very top click on Find Location, type in your zip code and make a call to the first one that comes up. Ask if they participate. If not, keep calling until you find a local salon.

    OR – you can read the Aveda page (search cap recycling program on their website) and you can find out what they accept and how to get it to them or contact them.

    READ people.

    This is an excellent program to help reduce our waste.

  29. I just wanted to let everyone know that there is now a program out there that let you recycle your caps for children with sever injury and illness and animals that are homeless and abused. Caps for Care was started in December 2009 by me to bring this hoax to a reality. From the money raised I only keep enough to keep the company running, the rest is donated to organizations that help children with sever injuries and illnesses and the Human Society to help the animals. Please visit my web site http://www.capsforcare.com If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I am based in Florida but accept the caps from all over.

  30. I just came upon this site. I am also collecting caps for my elementary school. We are making a mural for our hallway out of these caps as a way to help the environment (preventing the caps from going in the trash). If anyone still has their collections and would like to donate it would be great. Just let me know.

  31. Greetings.
    I am currently in south sudan supporting one of the development agency programs. I am looking for an organization willing to collect the PET that generously litters the whole place including plastic bags.
    I am more interested in partnering with an organization that will support my efforts to work with the schools to trade in the PET for books and other stationery as well as some food items for the carbage they collect. In this place its all over. All i need is an incentive to make people collect.

    I am giving a presentation in a university college on the benefits of recycle but would be interested to know what agencies or organizations are willing to support the South Sudan people collect adn recycle the plastics and hopefully have construction and other materials too.

    please advice

    +254 733 787499

  32. We will take your plastic bottle caps! Check out ReCap Co. where we will re purpose caps for doormats. We will provide shipping, if necessary, we will also provide collection bins, if needed. We provide organic cotton tees, (in lieu of shipping), for a minimum donation. We are excited to get schools, businesses, and other organizations involved for collecting. Feel free to contact us with any questions about getting involved.

    Thank you,
    ReCap Company

  33. Great news! The ReCap Company… that’s one, or you can send your #5 plastics (yogurt tubs, lids, etc.) to “Preserve” in upstate New York. Whole Foods does NOT have #5 recycling at every location. We do have to mail it back though.

    *** IMPORTANT: 5.5 quadrillion plastic pellets are used each year in the production of plastics…

    Please recycle your lids!!! All plastics, everything.

    (310) 642-7529

  34. ReCap Company still wants your plastic bottle tops!! You may donate any number of caps and earn a free organic tee. We can also assist with shipping if necessary! So far, we have brought in over 500,000 plastic caps!!! We would like all of our participants for their interest and support in our quest for caps!! Keep up the good work!!!

    Thank you!!!
    ReCap Company

  35. Thanks so much , I had read about the plastic bottle lids awhile back in one of my magazines. My husband Fred and I have been collecting the lids and I was hoping to find a craft that I can use these caps for something useful…possible a mat for the door? or stand for a planter? any ideas welcome.

    Peace and Be Green

    OKC, Oklahoma

  36. hello, i save tops too, they are so pretty and colorful, i save all kinds of tops, i was wanting to know are they some places that will exspect all i have, they are many different kinds, Not only bottles tops, I want to be a help with all my tops. Thanks

  37. I need to know where to take beer bottle caps. I have a huge amount and want to recycle them for the cancer walk I am doing. 🙂 Let me know,.

  38. I want to craft with used bottle caps but I can’t find a bulk supply.I’d rather buy used so that the products I craft will be recycled. How do I get my handson a bucket-ful of colorful plastic? If you are curious about what you can make with bottle caps there are many websites devoted to the task – I was supprised to find that no one had listed a bulk supplier for commercial productin of recycled bottle cap products.

    Any input would be very much appreciated.

    Todd Weaver

  39. Also, anyone on this list is welcome to contact me about your plastic bottle caps.. I will gladly pay you for amounst as little as 25 caps or as much as you have and pay the shipping. Let’s talk!


    Todd Weaver

  40. Your article refers to #1 plastic as “polyethylene”. But most bottles labeled #1 are “PETE” or PETG”–polyethylene terephthalate or polyethylene terephthalate glycol. Aren’t the polyethylenes are #2 (HD) and #4 (LD)? What am I missing here?

  41. What a farce recycling is………….i have all kinds ……….and no where to go……..The oil companies have a strangle hold on recycling your P.E T E. 2 thru 9……including the caps……..this country is full of liars and thieves………your city or county recycling program are stealing you money and not letting us have a fair shake at recycling…….it is all fixed up for them to score on your waste…….what a sham!!!…..we should demand a change ASAP

  42. Im diabetic and twice a day(some other people more) use those small test strips that come in those plastic containers. I go thru so many of these plastic containers per week i was wondering where these and pill, vitamin bottles can go to be recycled and if they can be recycled.


  43. Here in Austin,Tx. we have single stream recycling and put all plastics up to #7 in are big 90 gallon bin,along with paper ,cardboard,metals and foil.

  44. here in Gainesville, Fl…i am collecting plastic twist caps for a friend, his family has a very close family friend who needs 800 bottle twist tops for chemo help. we have collected about 500 tops in 4 weeks…

  45. I have a whole lot of plastic bottle caps we were saving for a boy to receive chemo treaments and now he has passed away. Anyone want them?

  46. Just went to the Aveda.com, clicked on locations, call one of the store in our area and they directed me to a drop off store. So if you live in the NJ area go to the Garden State Plaza Mall and drop off your caps at the Aveda store there. Hope that helps people in the area who want to have a safer environment.

  47. What about the plastic ring that strips off the bottle top when you open it? Can they stay on the plastic bottles, or do you have to strip them off?

  48. My husband’s company was participating in the Aveda program by mailing them in. However, they were just notified that due to an overwhelming response by recyclers everywhere Aveda has been swamped with plastic caps and has discontinued accepting any further plastic cap donations.

  49. The plastic ring that strips off the bottle top can be used to make christmas ornaments. (My grandma did this many years ago – way before recycling was cool.) She crocheted around the ring. (Wish I could include a picture on the site – I still have them). Does anyone have a pattern for these?

  50. Reply to Al’s Sept 22nd post: In my community, the local vet will accept plastic pill bottles. They reuse them to send medications home for people’s pets. Just take the current label off. They even give you a dollar off your pet’s medication if you bring in your own pill bottle. Ask your local veterinarian, maybe they would like them.

  51. For those of you looking to recycle plastic caps with Aveda – below is the e-mail response I received when I inquired in April 2010 on where to send the caps:

    Thank you for your interest in the “Recycle Caps with Aveda” Program.

    You may bring your caps to any participating Aveda Experience Center
    (store) or send them in by mail to:

    ACA Waste Services
    40 Eads Street
    West Babylon, NY 11704

    Caps included in this collection are any plastic “twist on” caps. Some
    examples are; water bottles, soda bottles, laundry detergent bottles,
    ketchup bottles, and shampoo/ conditioner bottles. Caps that are NOT
    included are any metal caps and any “snap fit” plastic caps. Some
    examples of snap fit caps are; margarine and cottage cheese caps.

    Thank you for your help with the “Recycle Caps with Aveda” Program.

    Have a great day!

    Kendra Fleischer
    Aveda Cap Collection Program

  52. Since the discussion is regarding recycling plastic, please consider recycling your used gift cards (after spending them this holiday season). Typically, the retailer retains your used gift card, and they get thrown away. Most gift cards are made of PVC, a known toxic type of plastic that does not biodegrade in landfills. After spenging your gift card, ask the retailer to give it back to you, so you can recycle it. Earthworks (www.earthworkssystem.com) will take your old cards and recycle then. Collect a big batch and sending them to:
    Earthworks c/o Halprin Ind.
    25840 Miles Rd.
    Bedford, Oh 44146

  53. We have businesses in both Lancaster, PA and Virginia Beach, VA and have garbage bags full of caps to donate. Due to the quantity, we cannot mail them anywhere. Is there a drop-off point anywhere in either of these areas? Please advise. Thank you!!

  54. making an extra trip to recycle lids will waste more energy than throwing them away unless you save a ton of them first. most standard recyclers can handle the slight number mismatch.

  55. IF anyone has bottle caps to recycle please bring them to the Aveda store at South park Mall. We accept all hard plastic caps that twist. Flip tops also acceptted.

    AS A SPECIAL THANK YOU for taking part in helping the earth we will treat you to a moment of wellness ( neck and shoulder massage) and a FREE gift!

    Please contact us with any questions


    THANKS! and happy recycling!

  56. I save all the amber-colored prescription bottles (remove labels) & save seeds in them, and one’s I’ve plucked at end of season for next year in the garden. Am wondering if a community garden could use my extras. I never tried it, but heard that little dishes with beer can rid garden of slugs, and caps seem a good way to do this.
    Soda flip tops can be used nicely for camp kids making necklaces.
    fyi:There is a website called DoSomething.com and it might help class or club start a green project.

    AnneMarie, Croton-on-Hudson, NY

  57. I collect soda and beer bottle caps-used and unused-cork and plastic lined. Please contact me if you have caps that you would like to sell. Thank You. Dianne

  58. is anyone still saving the bottle caps for the chemo-treatment? i live in nj and i have over a 100 caps who can i send it to?

  59. My understanding is that the response to Aveda cap recycling has been so good that they have had to stop allowing drop-offs in their stores and now only collect through schools signed up to their cap recycling program. No more schools are being accepted as Aveda can only recycle plastic caps for the amount they need to make new caps for their products.

    You can collected your plastic caps in a box and once full mail it to Caps and Cups for recycling. They take any bottle caps no matter which plastic for their recycling program.

  60. Whole Foods in Charlotte, NC doesn’t collect any bottle caps for recycling because they don’t have enough store space and it’s the only Whole Foods store in the area. I’ve been told by Habitat & Wildlife Keepers (H.A.W.K.) that Aveda no longer takes the caps.

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