Plastic Bottles and Caps

Plastic Bottles & CapsPlastic bottles come in all shapes and sizes; many can be recycled

Companies use different plastic resins to do different jobs and if you look at the plastic bottles in your home, you'll probably note that they are all a bit different.

Companies use different types of plastic to do different jobs such as keeping condiments fresh, preserving the life of medications, maintaining bubbles and flavour in pop or ensuring that corrosive chemicals won't leak in your cupboard.

Bottles aren't just used to contain products. They present barriers to moisture and air, resist breakage, tampering, corrosion or chemical destruction and present information to consumers. While extremely valuable, these diverse capabilities can be challenging when it comes to recycling.

Our goal is to provide options to landfilling all kinds of bottles and containers. Recycling is an important part of this process.

Bottles can be recycled!

The majority of plastic bottles you'll find on your shelves are technically recyclable.

For some end markets (i.e.,  the companies that process plastic materials and produce resins to use in new products and packaging), having a ‘pure’ raw material is very important. So, while the companies that use plastics for packaging need different resins that offer diverse benefits, at the recycling end, processors often need to be sure that they have only one or two bottle types.

And when they're recycled...

Bottles & Caps

What about those caps?

Increasingly in Canadian communities, empty bottles are collected for recycling with caps on. It makes it easier for people to recycle and the caps yield more valuable plastics that can be diverted from landfill. But…as always… it’s very important to check with your local program. Do they ask that you include caps or take them off? 

What is CPIA doing?

As the technology used to sort recyclables at recycling facilities evolves, new equipment known as “optical sort machines’ are increasingly being brought online to identify and separate different types of materials – not just various types of plastics, but papers and other items, too. CPIA works with recyclers and manufacturers to identify and test new options that can ensure the greatest range of materials can be collected and recycled in as many programs as possible.

Fast facts

  • PET is recycled into many common household goods, from carpets, to fleece sweaters to filling for pillows, sleeping bags and more. Make sure your bottles go to recycling. They’re valuable for more than you know! All about PET bottles
  • PET bottles are recycled in virtually all Canadian recycling programs
  • Why do some programs accept caps on bottles and others don’t? Learn more at Association of Plastics Recyclers Caps On FAQs           
  • For every pound of recycled PET flake used, energy use is reduced by 84%; greenhouse gas emission by 71% (Source: NAPCOR)
  • Find out all about PET recycling: The Lifecycle of a PET bottle (Avery Denison, 2014)

For more information: see Recycling Resources