Monday, 21 January 2013

What do 142 million milk bottle caps have to do with the Reuse Centre?

More than you would think! We completed our yearly numbers and it turns out we received 142.3 tonnes of items this year from Edmontonions! 

This amount of weight needs to be put into some perspective considering all the tiny-sized or light items that we accept at the Reuse Centre. As an example I will use plastic milk bottle caps, a popular item at our store. Teachers buy bottle caps to use as wheels in demonstrations to students or Reuse bloggers make lovely milk bottle cap crafts. People, having devotedly cleaned the bottle caps, drop off loads of bags of them to us.

So how can we interpret the scale of our yearly drop-off numbers using plastic bottle caps? Well after some very quick research online, I found that (according to the Green Centre, a non-profit environmental group in England*), assuming that the average milk bottle cap weighs about 1 gram, that we would need 1 million bottle caps to make a tonne. So to make up 142 tonnes, in milk bottle terms we would need to have 142 million dropped off.

So how much landfill space would one hundred and forty-two million bottle caps take up in any given landfill? With each bottle cap taking the area of 12.56 sq cms multiplied by 142 million it equates to about 178 352 sq. metres. About the equivalent of about 25 soccer fields*. Not bad, eh?

These bottle cap numbers are by no means official, just a few calculations by a history major/volunteer coordinator. They do show though that the Reuse Centre, its customers, volunteer and supporters are preventing a lot items from taking unnecessary space the landfill and that is undeniably awesome.

*associated football pitch is 7140 m² taken from Wikipedia

- Hayley (Staff) 


  1. That's amazing, I have to admit to keeping lids of all sizes out of my Reuse Centre donation box, I always find a creative use for them.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Ruby! Love to hear that reusing in your house is not just dropping items off at the Reuse Centre - it is about finding as many uses for that item and as creatively as you can! Cheers!