Finding out that plastic bottle caps can't be recycled might make you want to flip your lid. But instead of getting frustrated, three Corner Brook entrepreneurs got busy recently to find a way to repurpose bottle stoppers.
Beverage containers are recyclable through the province's recycling program, but their plastic caps are not.
Lynn Howse, Denise Hynes, and Neil Nordeje came up with the idea to melt down the plastic and reshape it for other uses. Their goal is simple: keep bottle caps out of the landfill.
"We just decided that there was something we could do with the waste that we're generating," said Howse.
"We strongly believe there is a market for bottle caps that are traditionally not recyclable."
So far, the trio of entrepreneurs has created plastic coasters which they've been selling under the company name Rewind Plastics.
And they have created a prototype of a plastic plank that could be developed and used for various purposes.
Trying it at home
The idea first came about after Howse started looking for other uses for the non-recyclable plastic lids.
A quick search of YouTube led her to videos that showed her how to shred, melt and mould the plastic bottle caps.
"We essentially took a standard household blender — which we do not recommend you do — and we shredded them that way," said Howse.
The women said they will look at acquiring an industrial shredder to do the hard work for them in future.
After melting the stoppers, Howse and Hynes experimented and brainstormed way to repurpose the plastic.
"You can use it for anything. We're thinking about branching off and making shovels eventually with it, because it's super-strong," said Hynes.
The entrepreneurs recently pitched their idea at a business startup competition at the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre at Grenfell Campus, and the proposal took the top prize.
Saving your lids
To fully explore the potential for repurposed bottle caps, Howse said, they'll need lots of donations from people who share their vision.
Rewind Plastics is planning to have a few dropoff points in Corner Brook in the coming weeks.
But Howse said people are already getting in touch, and they've had one contribution of nearly a garbage bag full of bottle caps.
"A few residents had actually been saving them up because they wanted them to be recyclable," she said.
The entrepreneurs are planning to develop a website to sell their upcycled products but, for now, people who are interested can place orders through the Rewind Plastics group on Facebook.