While there are not a lot of charities that will take your bottle caps and turn them into funds for the needy, there are a few. In addition, you can turn your trash into treasure or recycle them so they avoid filling a landfill.
Beware of Hoaxes
In the past, an email was circulated that asked individuals to collect large numbers of bottle caps that would be redeemed for one chemotherapy treatment for a needy patient. When this chain message caught on, especially in the regions of Virginia and West Virginia, large corporations like Walmart got involved in the bottle cap raising efforts. After digging deeper, it became apparent the entire cap drive was a hoax.
The scheme became so widespread, the American Cancer Society issued a statement. If you are ever asked to collect bottle caps for a worthy cause, be on guard - most charities do not do anything with bottle caps.
Nonprofits That Collect Caps
Not many nonprofits collect bottle caps. The value of plastic is so low that many charities have found collecting caps to not be worth the effort. However, there are a couple that will collect and use your donated bottle caps.
Caps of Love
Caps of Love is a charitable organization which partners with recycling companies to buy wheelchairs for disabled children. The organization has changed the life of many children with their free donations. They used to collect the caps but because of the drop in value for plastic the program runs through local recycling facilities. If you wish to set up a partnership, you work with the local recycling plant, turn in bottle caps, and the plant sends money to Caps of Love.
Tipton County, Indiana Recycling Department
Administered by the Solid Waste and Recycling Department of Tipton County, the bench project collects caps for the creation of benches. Each bench requires 400 pounds of caps and lasts without rotting, splintering, or needing any form of maintenance. Send in your caps, as long as they are clean and free of metal. You can send in your caps, even if you're not a Tipton County resident.
Charitable Recycling Ideas
Because of the decreased value of plastic caps, many charities have repositioned their efforts to other types of donations. Whether they collect their packaging for recycling or make donations based on items sold, these efforts make a difference in the world.
Since most people don't recycle bottle caps, they tend to end up in oceans where birds and marine life regularly mistake caps for food. Recycle your caps at select Whole Foods stores to keep them out of landfills. This effort helps charities like Clean Ocean Action which is dedicated to removing litter and debris from beaches and oceans. Join Clean Ocean Action in their commitment to protecting the oceans with bottle cap recycling.
Aveda Full Circle Recycling Program
The Aveda Full Circle Recycling Program helps to save packaging from landfills by collecting their packaging. Bring your Aveda packaging and accessories to Aveda Centers throughout the United States. Aveda takes products not accepted by city recycling programs. They use this plastic and the materials in making new packaging or accessories. The company accepts everything from jars, tubes, pumps, brushes and more.
If you are crafty, you can take beer caps, or any other metal bottle cap, and turn them into jewelry, coasters, decorative magnets, and anything else you can dream up. Glean some ideas off this website and then look to sell some of your creations at your town's art & wine festival, your church picnic, or even on crafty selling sites like Etsy.com. Donate the money you earn this way to charity and you will have found a way to make a difference with bottle caps.
Dream It Up
If you would like to use your bottle caps to help charity, then you can get together with a group of friends and dream up some ideas. Brainstorm to come up with an effective list of ways to utilize your time, talent and resources to benefit others.