Nfld. & Labrador

Corner Brook entrepreneurs putting a stop to stoppers in landfill 

Lynn Howse, Denise Hynes, and Neil Nordeje say they'll help the world one bottle cap at a time. They're repurposing plastic bottle stoppers into new products.

With thinking caps on, a few innovators are finding ways to keep bottle caps out of landfill

Neil Nordeje, Denise Hynes, and Lynn Howse put together a proposal for repurposing bottle caps, as part of a business startup weekend at the Navigate entrepreneurship centre at Grenfell Campus. (Submitted by Navigate Centre)

Finding out that plastic bottle caps can't be recycled might make you want to flip your lid. But instead of getting frustrated, three Corner Brook entrepreneurs got busy recently to find a way to repurpose bottle stoppers.

Beverage containers are recyclable through the province's recycling program, but their plastic caps are not.

Lynn Howse, Denise Hynes, and Neil Nordeje came up with the idea to melt down the plastic and reshape it for other uses. Their goal is simple: keep bottle caps out of the landfill.

"We just decided that there was something we could do with the waste that we're generating," said Howse.

"We strongly believe there is a market for bottle caps that are traditionally not recyclable."

Rewind Plastics has already been selling some of its coasters made entirely of repurposed bottle caps. (Submitted by Lynn Howse)

So far, the trio of entrepreneurs has created plastic coasters which they've been selling under the company name Rewind Plastics.

And they have created a prototype of a plastic plank that could be developed and used for various purposes.

Trying it at home

The idea first came about after Howse started looking for other uses for the non-recyclable plastic lids.

A quick search of YouTube led her to videos that showed her how to shred, melt and mould the plastic bottle caps.

"We essentially took a standard household blender — which we do not recommend you do — and we shredded them that way," said Howse.

The women said they will look at acquiring an industrial shredder to do the hard work for them in future.

A prototype of a plastic plank was developed by Rewind Plastics to demonstrate some of the potential of repurposed bottle caps. The company's pitch earned it a first-place finish at a recent business startup event at Grenfell Campus. (Submitted)

After melting the stoppers, Howse and Hynes experimented and brainstormed way to repurpose the plastic.

"You can use it for anything. We're thinking about branching off and making shovels eventually with it, because it's super-strong," said Hynes.

The entrepreneurs recently pitched their idea at a business startup competition at the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre at Grenfell Campus, and the proposal took the top prize.

Saving your lids

To fully explore the potential for repurposed bottle caps, Howse said, they'll need lots of donations from people who share their vision.

Rewind Plastics is planning to have a few dropoff points in Corner Brook in the coming weeks.

Beverage containers are recyclable through the province's recycling program, but their plastic caps are not. (Lynn Howse/Submitted)

But Howse said people are already getting in touch, and they've had one contribution of nearly a garbage bag full of bottle caps.

"A few residents had actually been saving them up because they wanted them to be recyclable," she said.

The entrepreneurs are planning to develop a website to sell their upcycled products but, for now, people who are interested can place orders through the Rewind Plastics group on Facebook.

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About the Author

Bernice Hillier is a host of CBC Newfoundland Morning, which airs weekday mornings across western and central Newfoundland, as well as southern Labrador.