I was surprised by the advice in this article about recycling plastic bottles. I don’t use a lot of water bottles, but we go through a lot of milk bottles and surely that must be similar.

The gist is that when recycling plastic bottles, you should leave the cap on so that caps don’t get sorted by the recycler into landfill-bound waster by the recycler. I’ve had a habit of leaving them on and recently stopped after Melanie asked me about it and I realized that leaving the cap on trapped moisture in the bottle, which can lead to grossness. So now I’ll start leaving it on.

However, I’ve always crushed plastic containers when putting them in recycling because an empty milk bottle takes up so much space, which means I have to empty the recycling more often.1 But now they say crushing the containers can confuse the sorting machines into thinking they’re paper and they’ll end up in the wrong place (if your recycling pickup is single stream and not pre-sorted).

So, on the plus side I was right about the caps. On the negative side, I guess I’ll be taking out the recycling more often.

  1. Taking out the trash and recycling is my job and with a family of seven it’s a constant battle to keep them from overflowing.

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