North Sea Foundation Report on Bottle Caps

Date: 14 Jul 2017 | posted in: plastics, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The North Sea bottle cap report provides the most thorough research effort to understand and prevent this deadly form of plastic pollution in our oceans. The North Sea Foundation undertook the ‘bottle cap survey” in order to document the quantity, type and origins of the bottle caps that pollute the country’s North Sea and its beaches. The bottle caps were collected by 2,000 volunteers. “This research,”, the report states, “is important for successfully addressing this pollution at its source”,

Summary of Bottle Survey Report:

“10,004 bottle caps were collected from the Dutch North Sea coastline during the 2016 Boskalis Beach Cleanup Tour.

More than 80% came from consumer drinks and food packaging.

The most common bottle cap colours that were found were blue and white.

80% of the bottle caps had no brand.

More than 70% were damaged, ranging from slight to severe damage. This may indicate that the bottle caps had been floating at sea for a long time.

The number of bottle caps found on the beach per kilometre numbered between 20 and 128.”

The following conclusions on the issue of worldwide bottle cap pollution were drawn from a survey of literature:

  • “Bottle caps are among the top 5 items found during beach cleaning and beach litter monitoring around the world.
  • Over the last 30 years, more than 20 million bottle caps and lids were found during beach cleaning activities around the world. Currently, it is unknown how many bottle caps actually enter our oceans and wash up on shore.
  • Plastic bottle caps are made of hard plastics and degrade very slowly.
  • Plastic bottle caps are among the top 5 ocean trash items that are deadly for sea life.”

Plastic bottle caps do not belong in the sea. The North Sea Foundation advocates for dealing with bottle caps at the source and for good waste management on land and at sea. To deal with bottle cap pollution, The North Sea Foundation suggests the following solutions by sector:

Government: introduce deposits for disposable plastic (single-use) drink packages, including the caps

Industry: develop new types of packaging so that plastic leakage will no longer be a problem

Consumers: use as many reusable bottles and caps as possible, and dispose of waste properly.

Click here to review the entire report.

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.