why plastic bottle caps?

Bottle cap with crabs recovered from the Pacific Gyre _ algalita.org

if you read the ‘info’ section of this blog, it will give you a little bit of a background about this page. however, i haven’t fully described why i’ve decided to collect plastic bottle caps as opposed to bottles, bags, or any other commonly discarded one time use plastic item.  the image below is a common sight in Providence, RI.  it is disturbing but what worries me even more is to think that the amount of garbage in this river is not as much as in some other major metropolitan waterways.  if you look closely at the photo, there are dozens of plastic bottle caps in this small section of river.  you’ll also notice that even when they aren’t attached to the bottles, they float.

woonasquatucket river in Providence, RI

bottle caps are small and often overlooked as recyclable.  people often throw them in the garbage before they finish their bottle of water or juice.  i’ve seen many that never make it to trash bins or recycling.  they’re easily dropped or thrown to the ground and disregarded as litter. unfortunately, the bottle caps, along with plastic bags and other single use plastics, are probably the worst type of litter for our environment.

there is an abundance of garbage throughout the city streets of providence.  what happens to it?  how much of it actually gets cleaned up?  i’ve seen street sweepers drive past my block in the middle of the night but they don’t seem to be doing much besides helping the garbage find its way to the storm drains.

since i have been collecting bottle caps while walking through providence, i’ve noticed many things about the conditions of the streets.  certain pieces of garbage have been in the same location for weeks.  i occasionally pick them up and put them in the trash or if they are bottles, i will take some home to put in my recycling bin.  the depressing part is that there is so much of this waste that lies in the streets and will ultimately end up going through a stormdrain or will easily be washed down the hills into the Woonasquatucket River or straight into the bay.

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