Fishing nets, plastic bags and containers, balloons, cigarette butts, and bottle caps are the top 5 types of litter found on beaches. Billions of plastic bottles and bottle caps are produced every year, and an untold but an astronomical number of them end up as litter, polluting both the land and the sea.
Plastic is non-biodegradable: any plastic, in this case, plastic caps, that ends up in a landfill will stick around for thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of years. Plastics can also release toxic chemicals over time that pollute the soil and groundwater.
The problem worsens when litter like plastic bottle caps enters the earth’s oceans. Ocean-dwelling animals, reptiles, and fish mistake these bottle caps for food and ingest them. And since bottle caps are the opposite of nutritious, many die.
Further, though made of harder plastic than bottles or packaging material, plastic bottle caps break down into smaller pieces over time. This happens mostly in oceans where the currents can cause the plastics to hit obstacles or collide with one another to break them down.
After many such cycles, they turn into microplastics- deadly microscopic pieces of plastics that cannot be filtered out and cause massive biological damage if they find their way into your body.
While plastic bottle caps are the biggest issue today because of their widespread use, they are not the only kind. There are different types of bottle caps in use around the world.
- Plastic screw caps
- Crown cork
- Flip tops
- Sports caps
How to reuse bottle caps?
Bottle caps can be reused in various ways, and you can turn them into decor or playsets for your kids. While we believe that only your imagination is the limit, here are 15 ways to reuse your bottle caps to get you started.
You will need several plastic bottle caps of the same size and the same or different colors. Arrange them in a formation of your choice: you can make a pattern using different colors or randomly arrange them.
Then use E6000 or similar strong glue to attach the caps. Let dry, and you have a colorful coaster that’s washable and cheap.
Bottlecap wall hangings
Bottlecap wall hangings are easy to make: you can make any design by sticking bottle caps together and painting on them if you want, and then attaching your designs using a string. Here are a few designs to get you started.
Using scissors, cut slits into the vertical part of a plastic cap, flatten it out, and you have a beautiful flower. Another way you can make bottle cap flowers is by attaching five bottle caps to a central cap.
Place these flowers on a stick, and you have decorations for your garden, lawn, or even your living room.
You may also add flowers made from reused bottles to the mix, like the ones here.
Not just plastic bottle caps, you can also make flowers out of metal ones. Arrange the bottle caps in the shape of a flower and stick them together using glue.
If you have a lot of metal bottle caps lying around, you can repurpose them into a beautiful metallic curtain. You will need metal rings, a nail or something similar to punch holes into the caps, and a pair of pliers to fix the rings together.
Make two holes on diametrically opposite ends of a bottle cap, and pass the metal ring through one of these holes.
Then pass the metal ring through the hole in another bottle cap, and tighten the ring using the pliers. Instead, keep adding more rings and caps until you have a chain of bottle caps of your desired length.
Make more such strings and hang them together to make a cool bottle cap curtain. You can even spray-paint the whole thing if you want to, and gold and silver colors work best.
This long-term project will keep you and your kids busy for a long time, keeping you engaged happily for a few weeks. It will allow you to spend quality family time and give everyone something to look forward to once they get back home.
Bottlecap wind chimes
If you like making a curtain but don’t have as many metal bottle caps, fret not; you can make a beautiful wind chime using the same method.
Attach your bottle caps together in chains using rings, then hang them from a circular (or square, or any other shape) plate. Hang the whole contraption from the ceiling, and you have a wind chime.
Plastic bottle caps can be turned into doormats too. Similar to making coasters, only larger. You need an assortment of plastic bottle caps, E6000 or similar glue, and some free time.
Arrange the bottle caps in any pattern you like and stick them together using glue, and you have a doormat that is funky and will bring a smile to your guests’ faces. A bottle cap doormat is best suited for the front door.
If you have an old table that needs repainting or is bored with the same old look of your table, you can spice things up with a bunch of metal bottle caps, some premixed tile adhesive, and some grout.
Clean the table’s surface properly, then stick the bottle caps onto the tabletop using premixed tile adhesive. You can arrange the bottle caps in a radial, circular, spiral, or any pattern your heart desires.
Once the caps are in place, mix and pour grout onto them, filling up all the space left between the bottle caps. Wipe off the excess grout and let dry. Polish the tabletop using sandpaper and apply some glass mosaic spray to it. Then go nuts over how cool it looks.
If you do not have an old table, you can turn a stool into a side table using the above method.
Bottlecap Flowerpots/ pen stands
Plastic bottle caps can be turned into excellent pen stands and classy flower pots for your table. Take a piece of thick cardboard for the base, then using the bottle caps like bricks, build up the sides of the pen stand or the flower pot.
Another way you can do this is by taking an old pen stand or a flower pot and sticking metal caps to the sides using tile adhesive and filling in the in-between spaces with grout.
Games for children
Bottle caps can be used in several ways to make games for children. Not only are these games fun and educational for your child, but involving your child in making their games gives them a feeling of accomplishment and teaches them the basics of green living at an early age.
Not to mention, you get to spend time with them both while making and playing these games.
If you don’t know, a sensory bin is a bin or tub filled with different kinds of materials and objects to stimulate a child’s senses and help them develop better- used mostly for preschoolers and toddlers, sensory bins consist of a filler like sand, rice, or beans, and objects like pom-poms and cardboard shapes mixed inside.
Plastic bottle caps can be added to a sensory bin for children to find and recognize. They can try to find bottle caps of the same color or size and have fun playing with them.
One of the most accessible games you can set up for your kids is a sorting game using bottle caps. Please give them a bunch of bottle caps and ask them to sort those according to color or size—hours of simple fun for the kids and time for you to get your work done.
If your children have started learning words, it will be a great idea to create a Scrabble-like game using plastic bottle caps.
Simply paint or paste letters onto the flat side of the bottle cap, and you’re done. Tell your kids to spell a word using those letters, or give them a set of letters and ask them to create words using only those letters.
You can create funky fridge magnets using your old bottle caps. While you can use plastic bottle caps for this, they won’t look perfect on your fridge, so use the metal ones.
Stick a small circular magnet to the inside of the bottle cap using strong glue, let the glue dry, and have a bottle cap magnet.
You can also paint smiley faces or anything you want onto the bottle caps or stick miniature photos of your family onto them.
A very common and chic way to reuse metal bottle caps is to turn them into jewelry such as earrings and necklaces. There is no one way to do this, but you will need to make holes in your bottle caps to attach chains and hooks and strong glue like the E6000 to stick the bottle caps together. Beyond that, let your imagination fly.
You can even sell such jewelry on Etsy or eBay if you want to, so you can hustle while saving the world.
Take a metal bottle cap, put a short wick, and fill it with molten wax. Once the wax hardens, you have a cute little candle. And it is reusable.
Chic up a photo frame by covering it with multi-colored bottle caps. Or spray the whole thing gold.
Most of the keychains you come across are either bland or pricey. But what if I told you that you could have a cool keychain for almost free and customized on top of that? Reuse old metal bottle caps to make a keychain, and make it however you like.
To make a bottle cap clock, you need some hard cardboard, a bunch of metal or plastic bottle caps, and a clock movement system that you can get easily on Amazon or a home supplies store.
Attach the clock movement system and the clock arms to the center of the circular cardboard. Paint the numbers onto the inner sides of twelve bottle caps and stick them onto the positions of the twelve hours. Paint the face if you want to, and attach more bottle caps to the outer rim.
Reusing doesn’t have to be bland. Even an ordinary object like a bottle cap, even a bottle cap that is not useful anymore, can be turned into something beautiful and extraordinary with imagination and effort.
And only through such little effort can we stop the destruction of our beloved planet and maybe one day reverse it.