Category Archives: Environmental Education

Can I Recycle Bottle Caps and Jar Lids?

Ever wondered if you can recycle bottle caps and jar lids? The answer is a great illustration of how to keep it pure! Let’s break it down.

Metal Bottle Caps = No
While this handy invention is primarily metal, it’s lined with plastic, so it contains two types of recyclables. In a few specific cases, it’s okay to mix types of materials in small amounts: You can leave the labels on glass jars and the plastic or metal rings on glass bottles. But metal bottle caps cannot be recycled because the metal isn’t pure enough. In addition, these tiny gadgets can catch in the conveyor belts of recycling machines and temporarily stop the recycling process.

Jar Lids = No
For the same reason that metal bottle caps cannot be recycled, jar lids must go in the trash.

Plastic Bottle Caps = Yes
Plastic bottle caps, when placed back on the top of a rinsed plastic bottle, can be recycled in a place like Lake County that takes plastics #1-#7. It’s best to reattach them to their original mate, however, to keep them from getting jammed in the recycling machines’ conveyor belts.

For more information, please explore the recycling tips on C4Leadville.org, or ask a member of the Recycling Center team at the Lake County Landfill. Thank you for recycling with care!

Recycle with Care: Keep it Pure

When you’re not sure whether you can recycle an item, carefully consider what it’s made of. Items that contain more than one kind of material, like a paper with a heavy plastic or wax coating (think milk carton) or a metal bottle cap lined with plastic, cannot be recycled. That’s because the recycling process is made for only the primary material.

There are some exceptions:

  • Paper labels on glass bottles = Yes
  • Plastic or metal rings around the top of glass bottles = Yes
  • Small amounts of packing tape or labels on cardboard = Yes

Here’s an easy rule of thumb: “Keep it pure!” This little slogan is sister to another important recycling reminder: “When in doubt, keep it out.”

For more information, please explore the recycling tips on C4Leadville.org, or ask a member of the Recycling Center team at the Lake County Landfill. Thank you for recycling with care!

Rinse Recyclables with Care

When you’re recycling an item, how clean should it be? The short answer is “pretty clean.”

If there has been food or drink inside, rinse it well enough to remove all the residue. If you think it might not smell so sweet after a couple days, please give it another rinse before recycling it.

If a recyclable is greasy, scrub out the grease first. If that’s not possible, throw it away. Oily pizza box? Tear out the oily parts and recycle only the clean cardboard left over.

If you’ve picked up an aluminum can along the trail, good for you! Before you toss it in the recycle bin, please make sure it’s free of dirt and, say, soda sludge.

Why does this matter? Enough dirty recyclables, and the entire bin can be considered contaminated. When that happens, Lake County cannot sell the bin’s contents for recycling—and every item inside, clean or not, must be dumped in the landfill. That’s why it’s so important to recycle with care!

For more information, please explore the recycling tips on C4Leadville.org, or ask a member of the Recycling Center team at the Lake County Landfill. Thank you for recycling with care!