March 24, 2014 AT 2:00 am

Lego-like bottle caps!

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These lego-like bottle caps present an even-more sustainable alternative to recycling, from fast coexist:

Every year, around 87 billion plastic bottle caps are made in the U.S. alone– and most end up in the trash. A company in Brazil hopes to help change that with this line of caps that you might actually want to keep: Each turns into a Lego-like block that can be used as a toy or to build furniture.

“I wanted to develop a sustainable cap, and I think it’s better to innovate by looking for a problem than by looking for an idea,” says Claudio Patrick Vollers, the CEO of Clever Pack, the company that makes the new caps. “I looked at the whole lifecycle of packaging, including the recycling process, and looked for the biggest environmental problem.”

Recycling, he noticed, takes quite a bit of energy, both for transportation and the electricity used to melt plastic. So even if a cap makes it to the recycling bin (an unlikely event in the U.S., though it’s a little more likely in Brazil) it still has an environmental impact.

“I found my opportunity: develop a cap that doesn’t get into the recycling cycle,” Vollers says. “Making a cap with two lives–in the first it is a closure, and in the second life it becomes a block. It was important to me that the consumer wouldn’t have to do anything, like cutting, to reuse the cap. That inspired me to develop Clever Caps.”

The caps are compatible with Legos, both because Vollers is a Lego fan and because he thought that the design would make them most likely to be used. Beyond toys, they can also be stacked into stools, tables and other furniture.

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