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How to Recycle Plastic Water Bottles

Refilling a high-quality reusable bottle from your water cooler or filter is always our recommended choice for sustainable water consumption. However, we fully understand that there are times that this is not possible. Sometimes single-serve plastic water bottles as the only healthy alternative to satisfy your thirst. This is why bottled water should not be banned. Handled mindfully, this option does not have to result in those water bottles ending up at a landfill. In this article, we’re going to show you how to recycle plastic water bottles the right way.

Are Single Use Water Bottles Recyclable

Billions of water bottles are used every year throughout the world. A small portion of them are recaptured and recycled as they were intended to be. Water bottles can be melted down into plastic pellets, which are then sold to companies to produce carpets, clothing, furniture, and much more. Plastic bottles are an essential part of this supply chain and you must provide them via curbside or drop-off recycling.

You can become a part of this process by learning the proper way to recycle plastic bottles. To assure that you are properly recycling your single-use water bottles, follow these simple tips:

putting cap on bottle to recycle

How to Recycle Plastic Bottles

Leave the Caps On

It’s common when someone thinks about how to recycle plastic bottles, they want to remove the caps.  Water bottle caps are only recyclable in most municipalities if they are twisted tightly onto the bottle. Separated caps wreak havoc on equipment, sending them to the landfill or stalling production. To prevent this, always replace the cap once you have finished drinking your water.

Do Not Crush Your Bottle

Regrettably, we made the mistake of crushing our bottles at home for years. Initially, this decision seemed sensible. Smaller bottles occupy less space in the truck, increasing curbside pick-up efficiency. We even recommended this approach to our customers. However, our perspective changed when the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District pointed out our error. If the bottles are crushed, the sensor at the recycling facility may fail to recognize them as bottles. Therefore, we stand corrected: it is advised not to crush your bottles for recycling. Instead, ensure they are as dry as possible, securely tighten the cap, and do not bag them.

No Need to Rinse

Although other bottles, cans and jars should be rinsed, there is no need to do so with water bottles. While there’s no need to clean them, they should be emptied and free of any noticeable liquid.

Don’t Bag ’Em

When you recycle plastic bottles, remember to not place your water bottles in a bag or any other recyclables for that matter. Bagged items prevent the process from being completed properly or slow down the system. It might seem like you’re making things more convenient for the recycling plant, but that’s not the case. The bags cannot be recycled and will rob processing plants of man-hours removing them. Water bottles should be placed in your recycling bin or a public bin free of any confinements.

placing a plastic bottle in a recycling bin in an office setting

Are all Water Bottles Recyclable

All plastic and glass water bottles are recyclable with major haulers such as Waste Management. Boxed waters and other non-standard packaging may not be. Boxed waters contain layers of plastic that are difficult for recycling facilities to handle. Check with your municipality before placing these types of containers in your curbside bins.

Recycle the Outer Packaging

If you purchase bottled water by the case, the plastic packaging that holds them cannot be placed in your recycling bin. However, it can be dropped off at participating grocery stores such as Heinen’s, Dave’s and Target to be processed along with any other plastic film or grocery bags.

Think of your water bottle. It wants to be more and do more than end its life in a landfill. From flip-flops to backpacks to decking, your water bottle has an entire second life to live. It is up to you to make this happen. Now that you know how to recycle plastic bottles, you can start to make a difference in your community.

Only small portions of plastic bottles get recycled, which is the normal standard for most recyclable material. No single person is going to fix the problem of things not being recycled. But now that you know how to recycle plastic bottles, you can make a difference one plastic bottle at a time.

Learn More About Sustainability with Distillata

Now that you’re trained on how to recycle plastic bottles at home, our sustainability article can give you more information on how you can make a positive impact on the environment. Read it today and contact Distillata to learn more about our sustainable water solutions and products!

More important information about sustainability:

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