It is difficult to recover small, loose bottle tops from mixed kerbside recycling with sorting technology currently used in Materials Recycling Facilities (MRFs). However, technology is always improving, and we may be able to sort bottle tops more efficiently in the future.
Bottle tops and lids must always be removed from any bottle or container you place in your recycling bin. Bottle tops and lids larger than the size of a business card (eg. lids from jam jars) are much easier to sort, and can be placed in recycling bins, provided they are separated from the bottle or container.
At this time, plastic bottle tops smaller than the size of a business card should not be placed in recycling bins, but steel and aluminium bottle tops can be recycled if you follow the directions below.
Bottle tops are too small to get collected in the sorting process, but if placed in a can of the same metal type they will get collected for melting with the appropriate material. To present these bottle tops for recycling you need to:
The steel and aluminium from bottle tops can be turned into street signs, car parts and new bottle tops.
Most councils will accept steel and aluminium bottle tops in kerbside recycling bins. Follow the four steps listed above to recycle these bottle tops through kerbside collection.
Always remove plastic bottle tops and dispose of them with your usual household waste. This is important because it means the plastic bottle can be prepared for reprocessing more effectively and it keeps non-recyclable material out of the recyclable waste stream.