In the last week, the #BottleCapChallenge has taken the internet by a storm. The idea is to unscrew the cap of a bottle with a wheel kick.
Just like the Ice Bucket Challenge raised awareness about ALS and the Tide Pod Challenge taught teens that laundry detergent is for… well, washing your clothes, the BottleCapChallenge has become so much more than a viral game.
People are taking to Twitter and other social media platforms, pointing out that littering is not a fun challenge and how plastic pollution can be deadly to sea creatures. Especially as celebrities like Kendall Jenner are taking on the challenge. Earlier this week she kicked the cap off a bottle while riding a jet ski, which sounds impressive, but the majority of the responses flooding her feed said we don’t need to add more pollution to the ocean. She later commented that she recovered the bottle cap, but the reality is that there are millions floating around in the ocean.
“5 billion caps from bottles are released to the environment every year in California alone, and bottle caps are the third most common item picked up during California’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day,” Plastic Pollution Coalition stated in an article.
And if you think bottle caps are recyclable, think again. Alone, they’re too small to be sorted and will likely end up in a landfill. Screwed onto a bottle is better, but they’re usually a different color and type of plastic than the bottle. These differences complicate the recycling process. And too many complications means it’s easier and more efficient for a recycling facility to just send a batch to incineration or landfill.
So what if we all played a different kind of #BottleCapChallenge instead? Pick up the bottle caps that you find on the beach and streets and make sure they’re disposed of in a responsible manner.
Together, we can clean up the planet.