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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bottle cap drive is a cruel hoax

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Peyton White spearheaded collections of plastic bottle caps at both his school and church, totaling over 150,000 caps in a few weeks time.
(Submitted photo)
A lady at church had told Angie and Peyton White about the collection drive: For every 1,000 plastic bottle caps collected from soda bottles, a little girl in Marshall County could receive a free chemotherapy treatment, offered by her doctor.

Peyton told his classmates at Shelbyville Central High School about it, and the collection began to grow. Even teacher Martha Nixon got into the spirit, offering students extra credit for bringing in the caps.

Heartfelt effort

SCHS students would collect over 50,000 bottle caps in a three week span, the Whites' church another 100,000. According to Angie, some of the people collecting even dug through recycling bins to remove the soda tops from discarded bottles.

However, the effort would appear to be a hoax, one that's been circulating in several forms since 2008.

The plastic lids themselves have very little recycling value, and by some reports are discarded during the sorting process at recycling facilities.

False claims

According to a page devoted to the topic on the American Cancer Society's website, "This email claims that a large number of bottle caps, some say 1,000, others 1,500 or even 10,000, can be redeemed for one chemotherapy treatment for a patient in need. The email, which began making rounds in the USA in 2008, generated several news stories in Virginia and West Virginia, some of which repeated the claims while others refuted them.

"After extensive research, the American Cancer Society has concluded that the Plastic Bottle Caps for Chemo program is a hoax. The origin of the hoax remains unclear, but it is similar to other "cash for trash" hoaxes that have circulated worldwide for years."


Urban-legend site Snopes.com also disputes the claim as false.

"The collection effort was all in the name of aiding a sick kid. Never mind that no-one knew the child's name or where he lived, or what to do with the caps, or who was behind the supposed "caps for chemo" program -- somewhere an unnamed youngster was languishing for lack of the medical help the plastic tops of bottles could bring. Your plastic bottles. It was heady stuff."

In other versions of the hoax, dialysis treatments may be provided, or veterans who have lost limbs may receive free prosthetics.


"Our hearts were in the right place," said Nixon. "[Peyton] worked so hard ... "

"We just have to learn to not be so accepting but at the same time do what we can to help others. It will all work out," Nixon said.

The true story

For more on the urban legend, visit: http://www.snopes.com/business/redeem/bo...