Which Charities Collect Plastic Bottle Tops?

Howard Lake/CC-BY-2.0

A few charities, including Caps of Love in Florida and several charitable organizations in the United Kingdom, do collect and recycle plastic bottle caps and use the proceeds for charitable purposes. However, many of the pleas to collect plastic bottle caps for charity are actually hoaxes.

Caps of Loves, a Florida-based charity, provides wheelchairs to disabled children in the United States. Charities which collect and recycle plastic bottle caps in the United Kingdom include the Matthew Project, St. Paul’s Church in Chichester and GHS Recycling, which donates the proceeds to the charity of the donor’s choice.

In the United States, many people came to believe beginning in 2008 that collecting plastic bottle caps could help an unspecified child who needed chemotherapy. Churches, businesses and Scout troops began to collect thousands of bottle caps in the belief that they were helping someone. However, this was false. Although some versions of the hoax specified that the American Cancer Society was behind the “caps for chemo” scheme, the ACS put forth a public statement declaring that the entire program was a hoax.

A similar hoax occurred in 2010 at a U.S. Air Force base in Afghanistan, where service members were led to believe that saved plastic bottle caps would be re-processed as prosthetic limbs. This also turned out to be false.