After almost a year of collecting, the , the and have amassed about 250 pounds of plastic bottle caps for a recycling program they called "Caps Off to Port Jefferson."
The caps are made from polypropylene plastic, categorized as a number five plastic in recycling programs. Number five plastic is not accepted by Brookhaven Town for recycling, which only accepts number one and two plastics according to the town’s website.
Over the past year residents and customers of the library and Arame have been bringing their caps to the drop boxes. Ron Schlumpf from Arame Salon and Spa will take the bags each loaded with 50 pounds of bottle caps to a special recycling center in West Babylon where they will be made into packaging by Aveda, a company that makes cosmetics and hair care products.
“Whether you have a bag or an 18-wheeler they’ll take it,” he said. “Aveda picks it up and makes it into product packaging.”
He’s already delivered one bag and has four more to take over.
The idea to promote the recycling of plastic caps came when Linda Gavin from the Port Jefferson Library and Schlumpf struck up a conversation at a meeting over a year ago.
Gavin was watching a local news program when she saw a report about a school that had conducted a recycling drive to collect the number five plastic caps. Schlumpf, as the owner of a salon, knew about the recycling program through his business relationship with Aveda, which turns the caps into packaging for its products.
The two then conspired to start a plastic cap recycling program in the village. The program is promoted by the , a nonprofit organization that runs the used bookstore on East Main Street and raises money to support the library in its mission.
Once or twice a month student volunteers at the library’s Teen Center helped to comb through the piles and separate the recyclable plastic ones from metal and other bits of trash that gets mixed into the cache of caps. For their effort the kids received community service credit.
Gavin and Schlumpf thanked the community for participating in the program and said that it will continue at the same drop off points in the library, the teen center and Arame Salon.
Milk, soda, shampoo, detergent and pharmaceutical bottle caps are on the list of caps acceptable for recycling in the program. Yogurt, margarine, spray pump and metal bottle caps are examples of caps they will not recycle. There is also a chart available on Aveda’s website.