OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

The Bottle to Bottle Cap

A no-pigment PET bottle cap attached to water/soda bottle, such that cap and bottle can be recycled together into food grade PET.

Photo of Julian Coymat
9 3

Written by

PET bottles have one of the highest recycling rates of all plastic product, mainly because they are easy to identify and unprinted, which means you can recover the material without considerable contamination. On the other hand, we have the HDPE/PP caps that come with these bottles who have a really low recycling rate and are commonly found in abundance in beach cleanup activities. How can we replicate the PET success story to the caps that are used with these bottles?

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

Bottle Caps have low recycling rates and end up leaking into the environment, not even making it to landfill. They are a common component of plastics found in beach cleanup activities. My idea is to build on the high recycling numbers of PET bottles by making the Bottle cap out of clear PET and attaching it to the bottle, such that it effortlessly increases the PET recycling rate while lowering leakage into environment. If 55% of PET bottles are recycled already, why not give caps a free ride?

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case 2, Trevor & Benjamin

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Given than Coca Cola and Pepsico are Core Partners in the Ellen Macarthur foundation, the idea would be to learn about their interest via this platform. If they decide to implement this solution, the world will follow. Scaling up would have to be via licensing to their current bottling suppliers. Obstacles would initially be the bottling operation efficiency, given that this is a high-speed operation and a change as this one would change the process somewhat. Also, the mold design for preforms.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Becoming a Top Idea would give me access to expert plastic engineers, mould designers and bottling experts that could help me overcome obstacles explained previuosly. Most importantly, with minimum funding we could produce the mold and manufacture a trial lot, in order to understand the real viability of the project or know the necessary changes needed. Finally, I would have access to the brand owners who can provide input on what could we do differently to better meet their needs.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea emerged from the example mentioned in the project description, about how soda cans changed their can opener design to stay attached to the can and hence get recycled. Remembered the New Plastics Economy figure about PET having over 55% recycling rate worldwide and how plastic caps normally leak into the environment. How to build on this success? If all bottles were to use this method, we could recycle 1.5 million tons of plastic that mostly leak into the environment (estimate).

Tell us about your work experience

Industrial engineer, MBA, worked in plastic packaging manufacturing 9 years, started the company recycling division for polyolefins and spun off new comp. Assist companies in using recycled plastics.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Brenda

Hi Julian, I do like your bottle cap design and if the bit of material that holds the cap on is long enough to turn properly then I'll think it work well really well! All the best, BB

Photo of Julian Coymat

Hi Brenda,

The idea is that the connecting ring that the cap is attached to is loose fitting, so it would rotate with the cap. The challenge now is making a good enough seal with a PET on PET closure and how to change the bottling lines to attach a cap by screwing it on rather than pressing it down.

View all comments