Welcome to “Ask Recology,” a monthly feature from sponsor Recology King County.

You have questions, Recology has answers!

Whether it’s about Recology services and collection, or tips and tricks to make sound everyday sustainable choices, the knowledgeable folks at Recology will share up-to-date information on this important topic.

They encourage your feedback and questions at: information2@recology.com.

Read on to learn more:

Dear Recology,

Please solve a disagreement between my partner and me. Do we keep bottlecaps on or remove them before recycling? I know that I am right, but they will never admit it. Please help us put this argument to rest!


Hi Riley,

Great question! We are asked this question a lot, so don’t think that you and your partner are alone in this disagreement. The easy answer is that you can leave bottle caps on…if they are plastic! If they are metal or another type of material, please remove them prior to recycling. Small items, such as bottle caps, fall between the machinery in a recycling facility. Leaving them on the bottle allows them to make it to their end destination without being lost! If the lid is not made of plastic, and therefore needs to be removed, make sure it’s as big as your palm before putting it in the recycle bin. If it’s smaller than your palm it needs to be placed in the trash. Thank you for recycling right, and I hope that we solved your disagreement!

If you and your partner would like to see how materials process through a facility, and why leaving the caps on is acceptable, please schedule a facility tour at https://www.recology.com/recology-cleanscapes/seattle/tours/#/info

If you have further questions, please contact us at educationoutreach@recology.com.

Have a suggestion for a topic? Have a recycling question you’re dying to have answered? Suggest a column topic at information2@recology.com.

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