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How to Recycle or Upcycle Bottle Caps

Updated on February 12, 2013

Recycle, as it has been widely known, is how we can turn waste materials, often called thrash into something new.

Upcycle means how we can turn waste materials to become something new, useful, and in better quality.

Both recycle and upcycle are expected to bring positive results for environment protections since they can prevent people from dumping their thrash to nature.


When empty bottles need to be recycled the cap must be removed first due to some reasons :

  • Small bottle caps cause jams in recycling machine if they are not separated.
  • The lids that are still on when being baled will keep air in the bottle and cause explosions and that may risk the worker's safety, let alone more space they take during transportation.
  • Bottle caps which are made of metal needs specific treatment in its recycling and totally different from the bottles which are made from glass or plastics.
  • Most of recycling sites reject plastic caps because they are made of different type of plastic. Plastic lids are made of material no 5 (PP) while the bottles are made of type no 1 (PET). Mixing them together will contaminate the recycled products and lower their quality.

A fruit shredder.
A fruit shredder. | Source

What can we do to recycle and upcycle bottle caps ?

Here are some ideas how to deal with bottle caps to make them into something useful . They are graded from the simplest to the most complex uses:

Coconut/fruit shredder.

We often need a tool to shred particular fruits like young coconuts, pumpkins, or melons so that we can eat them conveniently. Here in emergency situation you can make the shredder using a bottle lid.

I recommend that this shredder is used temporarily and disposed after being used and not suitable for long term use since it tends to corrode.

Tools & Materials :

  • A metal bottle cap . If the cap is bent.
  • A pair of chop sticks.
  • Two cable ties.

First wash the bottle cap cleanly.

Bend down the cap side where you'll place the clamping chop sticks later.

Place the cap at upper tips between the two chop sticks at exactly where you bent it so that the sticks clamp the cap.

Unite the sticks by tying them using the cable ties so that the ties strongly secure the shredder at its place. One tie is placed near the cap and the other one on lower part.

Wash it cleanly and now it's ready to be used as a coconut/fruit shredder.

Heat resistant mat.

Putting hot pans on the table without an underlying mat can cause the paint of the table peeled off and damage it. Here is an idea how to make a heat resistant mat for hot pans to make them safe to be put on the wooden table.

Tools and Materials:

  • Scissors
  • Small size plastic ropes
  • White cement
  • 16 plastic bottle caps

1. Make two or three holes on opposite sides of every cap then join them using binding plastic ropes that you can buy at hardware stores so that they make the following formation:

A  binding plastic rope.
A binding plastic rope.
Fill it with cement dough.
Fill it with cement dough.

Fill the caps with cement dough, the cement will make the mat sturdy when it's dried and can resist heavy pan on top of it. The cement also has function as isolator which absorbs heat coming the hot pant so that it won't burn the table.

A hot resistant mat
A hot resistant mat | Source

Put a metal cap on every cell of the isolator while the cement dough is still wet, the metal caps will make the mat stronger, more resistant to heat and more aesthetics in its appearance.

Other possible shapes of heat resistant mats.
Other possible shapes of heat resistant mats.
The Materials to make a key chain.
The Materials to make a key chain. | Source


We can make a keychain from two bottle lids. Here is how to make it.

Tools and materials :

Two metal bottle lids.

White cement (gray cement is also acceptable)

Regular/plain keychain .

PVC glue.

Super glue/hot glue/sellotape.

Some wire.


The Procedures:

1. Prapare two metal bottle caps and clean them.

2. Make a small cleft on the side of each cap. Through this side you'll insert the chain.

3. Prepare cement dough which is made from 200 gram of cement plus some water. Mix them thoroughly.

4. Fill each of the caps with cement dough then place the chain exactly at the cleft and let the chain tip immerse in the cement dough. After the dough inside the caps becomes less wet, join the two caps and let the cement inside completely dry.

A key chain
A key chain | Source

To strengthen the joint between the two caps we can give some power glue, hot glue, or sellotape. If you use sellotape or if you think you want to make your key chain looks prettier you need to give a cover on both cap surfaces to hide the lines made by the tape or rugged surface due to the glue application.


There are many variations in making key chains from bottle caps or lids which all depends on our creativity. Colorful key chains, or the one with embossed initial letter of your name are some other kinds you can produce.

The one with embossed initial letter of your name.
The one with embossed initial letter of your name. | Source

Thematic Pins

You can also make pins from bottle caps. The styles of the pins can be made matching with particular occasions where the pins will be used, like birthday parties, seminars, exhibitions, etc.

Here is one idea how to make a pin which can be used for birthday party or other fun events.

Prepare two clean bottle caps.

Wrap them with color paper.

Put color ribbons or other kinds of embellishments in between the caps and join them using sellotape.

Put a safety pin on the back of it using hot glue or super glue.

Now you can use the pin for a special occasion.

A celebration pin.
A celebration pin. | Source
The original box before make over.
The original box before make over.

Pencil Holder.

Tools and Materials :

A cutter

A Scissors

20 plastic caps (plastic and metal caps).

A Small used box. (choose one which can be proportionally used as a pencil holder)

White (PVC) glue

Color paper (any colors)

(Paper) ropes.

The basic idea in this project that the box is going to be made a pencil holder with a vine twines around it and the caps will be made as the leaves of the vine.

To give an attractive look, the box should be covered with color paper and if you think the box is not sturdy enough, you can give double layer on every side of it using thick carton which are glued onto each outer wall.

Wrap every single cap with some thin color paper, here I wrap it using green crap paper.

Bend the cap a little bit to give a leaf look after it's completely wrapped.

The cap after being wrapped.
The cap after being wrapped.

Wrap every cap.

To hide the cap physical appearance including the brand names on it, we need to wrap every single cap with green paper. To do the wrappings we should use white glue or PVC glue which makes the paper stick to the caps very well. Smear the cap surface with the glue thinly then put the crepe paper on it, make sure there is no wrinkle when you wrap it. Since one layer is not enough because we still can see the brands though it so we need to repeat the layering twice after the first one has dried.

After the cap has been wrapped and dried, bend it a little bit to make it similar with a leaf shape.

A paper rope
A paper rope

Make some paper ropes.

The paper ropes will be used as the vine stem. You can make a paper rope from some thin paper then twist it. Rub with some diluted PVC glue while the paper being twisted which will keep its shape like a rope when it's dried.

Cover every paper string with brown paper to give it a stem look.

The stem and leaves are put on.
The stem and leaves are put on.

Put the stem.

After the glue on the paper ropes is dried, now we can put them on the box. Put some PVC glue on locations where the ropes contact with the box surface. Arrange them in positions that you think are artistic.

Put the leaves on.

After the stems are on their positions, the next step is put the leaves on the holder. Close the cap hole with a piece of thin carton, it will help stick on the pencil holder later. Give some glue on the carton and stick it at the stem that has been put on earlier.

Do the process all the way around the holder.

The result: A pencil holder twinned by an ivy.
The result: A pencil holder twinned by an ivy. | Source
Another result: Bottle-cap painting.
Another result: Bottle-cap painting.


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    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      6 weeks ago from Indonesia

      Hi Audrey Hunt,

      Thank you for reading and your appreciative comments.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 weeks ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I'm a huge advocate for recycling and reusing so kudos to you for creating this useful hub! Nice variety of ideas and good information about bottle caps.

      Thanks for sharing these excellent ideas.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Indonesia


      I'm so glad to receive your appreciative comments. Among parts of plastic bottles, the caps are the least useful and have the least economy value, so I think it is very necessary to find ways to recycle bottle caps like the one I present in this hub.

      Thank you so much ChitrangadaSharan.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice and useful idea!

      Recycle and reuse is the need of the day for everyone around the planet and I can see that you have contributed some very useful and interesting ideas in your hubs on this crucial topic. I also believe in this and do as much as I can with old and used fabric, paper, bottles etc.

      The above article is a perfect and innovative idea and I would love to try this.

      Thank you for sharing your talent and thank you for the follow as well.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Indonesia

      @Vinaya Ghimire:

      Thank you for reading and your comments, Vinaya Ghimire. Glad that you'll give it a try, let me know if you can make one.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      Your recycle and upcycle ideas are wonderful. I will see if I can make use of these tips.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Indonesia

      Hi Peggy W. Thank you for reading voting up this hub. You're right, many of us see bottle caps only as garbage but there are many interesting things can be created from them actually.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What an ingenious use of used bottle caps! You certainly come up with great ways to reuse items that would normally be tossed in the garbage or recycled in other ways. I especially liked the look of the pencil holder. Very pretty! Up and useful votes.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Indonesia

      @lenalena2013: I'm so glad that you find it useful. Thank you for dropping by and your vote.

    • lenalena2013 profile image


      5 years ago from Glasgow

      Great ideas- I like hot resistant mat the best! Voted useful.

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Indonesia

      Hi Jamie Brock. Thank you so much for dropping by and your vote up. I still learn and try how to realize more upcycle creations which are of the same material and share them in Hubpages.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      5 years ago from Texas

      I love the pins and the pencil container you made from bottle caps! Very neat.. thank you for sharing. I will have to give this a try sometime. Voted up and useful :)

    • agusfanani profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Indonesia

      Yes, upcycle it to make waste/thrash into something new and useful. Thank you for dropping by.

    • expertscolumn profile image

      Stanley Soman 

      5 years ago from New York

      This is the first time i've heard "upcycle" very interesting


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