You can leave your cap on. But should you?


Should you remove caps from plastic bottles before putting them in your Blue Cart? Marjorie Isaacson, our favorite recycling block captain, says Chicago policy is that either way works. But the devil is in the details.

"The city sends recyclable materials to different private recycling sorting facilities," says the city's recycling newsletter. "Some prefer that caps are removed while others prefer they stay on — it all depends on their process for recycling plastics. Since we can't tell which facility your recyclables will go to, it is best to do whichever is easiest for you."

Why would you want to remove the caps? They melt at different temperatures, according to Recyclebank, a recycling loyalty program the city cites as an authority on this issue. When melted to form pellets for recycling, unmelted plastic can ruin the batch. Some cities won't accept drink bottles because of the sorting issues.

That would seem like a good enough reason to remove the caps. But who are we to fight City Hall?

Leave your questions on recycling in the comments and we'll try to get answers.

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