Friday, January 30, 2009

Plastic Cap Dilemma

Usually I'm fairly shy. I like to pretend that I'm outgoing, but I'm really not much of a small talker. But one day last fall, the planets must have been aligned perfectly. I walked into the Aveda store and began chatting with the friendly sales associate. I noticed a special anniversary bottle and she shared that it was made out of recycled plastic caps. First, Aveda began recycling its employees caps. Then, they tried opening the recycling program up to their customers. Now, the program has gone nation wide!

A store who takes responsibility for what they sell and actually takes it back? Fingers crossed that this is the newest trend of the (near) future.

Plastic caps cannot be left on plastic bottles when they are recycled. Local towns don't stress that point enough. Municipalities need to step-up and educate their residents more fully. (that's a whole different post) Walking around my neighborhood on a Sunday night, you would notice that most of my neighbors add their plastic caps in their recycling bins. Mistakenly believing that these caps can be recycled.

Plastic caps cannot be left on plastic bottles when they are recycled! (that point was important enough to say twice.)

Put on your science thinking caps kids...All plastic has different melting points. So if a plastic recycler was to melt down #1 plastic for recycling and a few caps with a different melting point found their way into the batch, the entire batch may become contaminated.

Plastic caps have also shown to clog up recycling systems and even become dangerous projectiles in the recycling facilities. Pinnggg....

What to do? What to do?

The Aveda Corporation realized that poor defenseless caps were being tossed away to forever live in the landfills. They also realized that the plastic used to make caps can be worth more money that regular old plastic bottle plastic. The friendly people at Aveda have devised a way to recycle rigid, plastic caps into new plastic bottles.

Aveda accepts clean, rigid plastic caps for recycling at most of their store locations. Also, if you have a school or group that collects these caps, they will send you free mailing labels to return the caps. Easy smeeshy.

My kid's school has welcomed the Aveda cap recycling program. Collection boxes can be found in the school hallways, the cafeteria and in the staff room. And boy are these boxes filling-up fast!

The cap recycling was easy to start. I just sent Aveda and email, asked the friendly principal (report cards are coming soon) for permission and tossed some labeled boxes liberated from the lunch room out in the halls. A quick emailed note (not to waste paper) went out to the parents. So easy that even you could do this at your school, office, church, restaurant or dance studio (Thanks Amy!). Hint Hint

It makes me smile on this dark, frigid day to know that there are a few less caps in the landfill today than there were yesterday.


Erikka said...

Gruppie to the rescue! I am going to post about this on my blog soon and see if I can bring it to the school at which I work.


i am feathermaye said...

Hi there. I came across you blog as the result of a google search about upcycling plastic caps.

I'm soon launching an etsy store featuring many items I have upcycled. Since I recycle my plastic water bottles, I've been saving the caps (since I know they're not to be included).

I've been trying to come up with a creative use for them, like heating and manipulating them into interesting shapes.

In any event, I now know that if I can't come up with anything creative on my own, I can take them to Aveda, thanks to your blog!