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Recycling & Waste News Newsgroup

Date Submitted : January 26, 2011
Topic / Subject : Inventor

Message :

Millions upon millions of bottle caps have ended up in our landfills over the years, and now a Calgary man has come up with a creative way to keep some of these caps out of the landfills.

Norm has been an avid fisher since he was a child and is a former owner of a fish and tackle shop. About nine years ago, he was wasting time with a friend bending his beer caps, when something came to him. He wondered if these bottle caps could be used as fishing lures.

Norm said that he and his friend “went straight to the river and caught two fish right away.” Now, he “can make a lure in 30 seconds,” after years of practice.

Norm is now the entrepreneur behind a lure company in Calgary, which started up in 2001. As for the bottle cap lures being legit, “Andy Vanderploeg has won four fishing championships using my lures,” Norm mentioned and the biggest fish Andy ever caught with the lures was a “Forty pound Northern Pike.”

Norm said his fishing lures “are sold in Canada and the U.S.” In Calgary they can be bought from Canadian Tire, Home Hardware and the Esso location of 17 Ave S. The only reason it can be sold at that particular Esso is because it’s individually owned. Other gas stations that used to sell Norm’s product such as Mohawk and Husky, Norm said have now gone corporate so they can’t sell them anymore.

Any leftover caps that aren’t sold as lures are sold to a local scrap metal company. The money that Norm gets from this company “pays for my fuel,” he said that he uses when collecting these caps.

Norm collects caps from individuals and organizations, but mostly from businesses and bottle depots that he goes to himself to pick them up from. Kokonut Kove a local pub has been collecting caps for Norm for almost three years.

Norm’s simplistic view of collecting bottle caps is, “If they’re willing to collect them, then I’m willing to pick them up.”

Price said he has tried to get both federal and provincial funding, but has been refused support. He also said that when the provincial government opened up recycling depots years ago they deemed the caps as unrecyclable and instructed the depots to toss them out.

Without funding, in order to be more profitable to keep his business venture going, Norm has started to make promotional products out of the bottle caps.

The promotional caps are still fishing lures, but depending on what organization it’s for it will have slogan printed on the cap. For example; for a church group it was “hooked-on Jesus” and for Norm’s own wedding in the upcoming months he said it will say “hooked on each other” and they’ll give them away as wedding gifts.

Norm sees potential in Calgary’s oil and gas industry for his promotional lures, he said because “There are lots of rednecks that do hunt and fish here.” He hopes to get a large oil and gas company to get large numbers produced, which is promoting themselves, while indirectly supporting his cause.

As for the plastic caps, Norm is still working out the details but he may have a potential buyer in the U.S. and is probably brainstorming a product he could create out of them.

Norm’s company started out as a business venture, but has made him become an environmentalist who is passionate about his cause.
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