‘Go through your recycling’: Meet the Lancs student collecting bottle caps for charity

‘I was so amazed by how eager other students were to help’


While the charitable causes that Lancaster students can get involved in are numerous, the majority take time and money which is what puts off many people from lending a hand. Luckily, first-year Grizedale student Cara Cullip is running a fundraiser that is both easy and free; it won’t cost you anything but your bottle caps.

We spoke to Cara to find out why she’s doing this and how students can get involved.

‘I realised that most flats get through a lot of plastic’

When asked how the challenge came about, Cara explained that “a family in Poland, whose little girl Wiktoria needs funds for a wheelchair and rehabilitation, decided to try and raise funds. My mum works at a special needs school, and her co-worker, Marta (who is Polish), is the one who bought this story to her colleagues to ask for help. So, this story was very close to my mums heart.

“I was visiting home for the bank holiday weekend, and my mum asked me to keep any lids and explained why she was collecting them. When I got back to uni and collected all the lids from my kitchen bin, I realised that most flats, if they’re anything like mine, get through a lot of plastic.”

This gave Cara the idea to ask around at university and see if she could more people interested. She said: “I just reached out through my Instagram to see if anybody would want to contribute, and I was so amazed by how eager other students were to help.”

‘I’ll be bringing the lids home with me on the 19th’

In terms of who is running the campaign, it was elucidated by Cara. She said: “The campaign is being run by the family of Wiktoria in Poland. However, up here at Lancaster University I’m organising the collection.”

Cara will be bringing the lids home with her on June 19th (so Lancs students still have time to get involved), and then “they’ll be sent to Poland by courier for free to be weighed and raise money.”

‘It costs nothing to get the lids from your used bottles’

In response to us asking why Lancaster students should get involved in the campaign, her response was “because it’s not only really easy, quick, and simple, but it’s totally free.”

She continued: “It costs nothing to get the lids from your used bottles, and could mean everything to someone who needs help. Also it’s a great chance to create some college-wide community among the university and meet new people, which has been very difficult for many students this year”, demonstrating that this cause could not only be beneficial for Wiktoria but also for Lancs students themselves. 

‘If you see someone drinking, try to pinch the lid’

We next discussed how Lancaster students could help and what kind of caps Cara was after. She said: “The most efficient way to collect bottle caps is just to go through your recycling bins- it’s as easy as that. If you see someone drinking, try to pinch the lid. If you see one on the floor, pick it up. If you happen to visit the bins when talking out your waste, have a peep in the bottle bin, and if there’s any near the top that are safe to grab go for it- just wash your hands after! Each one adds up and is appreciated so much.”

In terms of what caps should be collected, Cara clarified that “all that’s required is for the lids to be plastic, like the sort you find on top of a milk bottle.”

‘I’m planning to go around campus on Wednesday the 16th’

For those wanting information about how to get their bottle caps to Cara, she reassured that she was “planning to go around campus on Wednesday the 16th to collect the caps by having meeting points for each college.

“Some colleges might be grouped together, so for example Grizedale and Pendle students can meet me outside of Grizedale bar.

“I’m going to be conducting a survey with everyone involved soon to see what colleges people are from so I can make sure I’m going to be someone accessible. If there are any participants that are off campus or busy that day I’ll be meeting them individually whenever and wherever on campus is best for them.”

‘What really increases donations is getting your whole flat involved’

There are other ways to help out with the cause for students who are unable to collect caps or have done so but would like to do more, for instance Cara said: “What really increases donations is getting your whole flat involved, getting your friends involved, or even asking your workplace.

“I would personally suggest that if you can, leave out a box in your kitchen by the recycling for people to easily drop them into. We have a jug in mine!”

For more information, contact Cara on Instagram, and check out the campaign on her story highlight “Cap Collection”.

Alternatively, you can email her at [email protected] 

Recommended articles by this writer:

Lancaster University drops three places in university league tables

A guide to the best themed nights for Lancs students to try with their flat

‘Leading the global fight against slavery’: An interview with @24hourracelancs