I see people recycling plastic bottles with caps on, but I have always been told to remove the caps before putting the bottles in recycling. Is it really important to remove caps from plastic bottles? ~Just Wondering

Dear Just Wondering,

It is critical to remove the caps of plastic bottles before recycling, as bottles and caps are made from different kinds of plastic. When two kinds of plastic are mixed, one kind contaminates the other, reducing the value of the recycled material. Additionally, it takes extra time for workers to separate caps from bottles before processing. If caps are left on the bottles, they could jam the processing equipment and also, the bottles may not compact properly. More significantly, a capped bottle might explode and become a safety hazard for workers. As you can see, there are several good reasons for removing caps from plastic bottles before putting them into the recycling bin or bag.