Recycle more by leaving your cap on

arc21 has launched the 'You Can Keep Your Cap On' scheme to encourage householders to recycle aluminium screw caps from glass bottles. INNT 12-504CON
arc21 has launched the 'You Can Keep Your Cap On' scheme to encourage householders to recycle aluminium screw caps from glass bottles. INNT 12-504CON
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Residents in Newtownabbey now have 90,000 reasons to improve their recycling rate, according to the waste management body arc21.

90,000 is the estimated number of glass bottle aluminium screw tops used by householders in Newtownabbey annually, and arc21 has launched the ‘You Can Leave Can Your Cap On’ campaign to increase the numbers that are recycled.

Aluminium screw tops have become increasingly popular on glass bottles such as wine, spirits and olive oil. The campaign aims to increase the recycling of aluminium bottle caps and collars by asking people to screw the tops back onto empty glass bottles before recycling them.

All aluminium and glass packaging is 100 per cent recyclable; so every screw top and bottle deposited in Household Recycling Centres, community recycling centres and glass bottle banks can be transformed into something new, including more bottles, drink cans, mobile phones and even cars.

Ricky Burnett, Policy and Operations Director at arc21, said: “Screw tops are a far from insignificant part of the waste stream and because they are made from aluminium their recycling potential is enormously valuable. If everyone in Northern Ireland recycled all their aluminium caps this would save approximately 1,125 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year which would have the same effect as taking 450 medium-sized cars off the road.

“arc21’s aim is to implement environmentally sound waste management programmes based on the principles of ‘Reduce, Re-use and Recycle’ and the ‘You Can Leave Your Cap On’ campaign is a good example of this. A small change can make a big impact, so encouraging people to screw the bottle caps back on will help boost our recycling performance and reduce everyone’s carbon footprint.”

It is estimated that over 1.8 million aluminium caps are used in bottles throughout Northern Ireland every year.

Rick Hindley, Executive Director of the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), said: “The market for aluminium bottle closures is growing rapidly, particularly for wine bottles. It is important, therefore, that we get in the habit of recycling them so that the aluminium can be re-melted and re-used.

“Thanks to modern recycling methods, aluminium bottle tops are easier to recover for recycling when they are collected with the glass. It is now possible to recycle and continue re-using this precious metal over and over again. Simply screwing the top back on the empty bottle before recycling is the simplest and easiest way for people to do their bit in recovering this valuable, sustainable and recyclable material.”