By Nina Wu
I've had a bag full of bottle caps for some time. I know the city doesn't take them for recycling in the blue bin (only No. 1 and No. 2) in Honolulu. So, honestly, I was hoping to recycle them somewhere convenient.
And now that opportunity is here, with the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's first Hawaii School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Visit kokuahawaiifoundation.org/bottlecapchallenge to find a list of participating schools.
Each participating school collects plastic bottle caps from the community and turns them in by March 31. Schools will submit a collection report online and also document the process with photos, videos and blogs.
The school that collects the most caps for recycling wins a special performance by musician Jack Johnson (the foundation’s co-founder).
The challenge, which started Feb. 1, is open to all Hawaii schools, from pre-school to high school. More than 50 schools, so far, are participating, mostly from Oahu, but also from Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. New schools are still welcome to register.
The foundation partnered with Method and Preserve to send the plastic caps to California, where they will be recycled into new products, including Method’s Ocean Plastic bottle and Preserve’s cutlery, plates and cups.
At Kokua’s beach cleanups over the year, volunteers have collected more than 25,000 pounds of waste, including thousands of discarded plastic bottle caps.
Can your cap be recycled?
The Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation has a collection guide. Look for the No. 5 inside the triangular recycling symbol, which stands for a rigid plastic called polypropylene.
These usually include caps that twist on to shampoo, water, soda, milk and other beverage bottles, as well as vitamin and medicine cap lids, the flip top caps on ketchup and mayonnaise, and peanut butter jar lids.
The recycling challenge is not accepting plastic pumps with metal springs, margarine tub lids or metal lids.