General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Should we recycle bottles and jars with their caps or lids on or off?

Asked by Jeruba (55741points) July 1st, 2010

It’s a habit to return caps and lids to their respective bottles and jars even when the contents are gone. Perhaps there’s also a desire to avoid an odor from any residue until they get carried out to the recycling bin, even if they’ve been well rinsed.

But is this contrary to some sort of recycling guidance or wisdom? Do the lids interfere with some recycling process? Is it a bad thing to keep the containers afloat somewhere? In particular is it a problem if a metal or plastic lid stays threaded on a glass jar or bottle?

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13 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I would say off, since they’re of different materials and would have to be separated at some point.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Recycle them separately. The lids are recycled with the metal cans and such.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is an issue. The recycling instructions given by my town specifically state to take the tops off and to only recycle metal, glass and plastics #1 and #2.

zenele's avatar

Here there is a little bin attached to the bottle recycling “cage” specifically for bottle caps and lids, to separate them from the bottles.

marinelife's avatar

It is not wise to leave the lids on. You can recycle them separately if your recycling allows or throw them in the garbage.

I usually rinse food bottles and jars out before throwing them in the recycling.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
stardust's avatar

Separately :)

lilikoi's avatar

Where I live they will not accept bottles with the lids on. I am not sure if this is because they pay you by weight and don’t want anyone to cheat the system by filling the bottles up and making them much heavier or due to dissimilar materials or both. I’d be interested to know.

beccalynnx's avatar

I recycle with the lids off. my Grandmother crafts with the lids, so they all go to her. :)

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
PandoraBoxx's avatar

You should recycle the lids separately, but if you miss magnets extract metal from the glass after it’s crushed.

They make all sorts of cool things out of recycled glass, including roadbed under road paving. So no worries about it floating if you accidentally leave the lid on.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks. I think I will make it a point to remember to leave the caps off.

nicobanks's avatar

Go to your local government’s website and see what they say. I might answer based on what my local government says – say, to leave them on – but that doesn’t prevent the practice in your region’s recycling plants from being to remove the lids and throw them out (in which case you should throw them out yourself or to find some other use for them).

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