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We’ve all asked ourselves that million dollar question when finishing our plastic water bottles: to remove, or not to remove when recycling? After all, plastic tops have a varied composition and can be problematic to recycle since plastic caps are typically made from plastic #5 while the bottles they accompany are made from #2. These two types of plastic melt at different temperatures during the recycling process so plastic closures need special processing.

Kari Embree

December 15, 2015

1 Min Read
A playful twist on bottle caps

topo.jpgVeteran UK inventor Willy Johnson has found a solution to this plastic dilemma with his invention ToPo, a plastic bottle top that converts into a toy brick, similar to Lego, but bigger. The bricks can be joined together to make towers and shapes. So, instead of throwing away our screw top bottle caps, we can replace them with ToPo, and children—especially those in the Third World who lack toys—will get a free, educational toy. Johnson has patented ToPo in the UK and here in the United States.

Topo bottle tops can join together in two horizontal dimensions but can also lock together vertically to create all kinds of shapes from cars to birds and from planes to houses. With the alphabet, numbers and symbols, any amount of games can be played.

Johnson worked closely with The Renfrew International Group who have made prototypes and have confirmed that existing production machinery would only need minor adjustments to switch to making Topo bottle tops. Johnson expects to start with round Topos as they will require only a minimal change to the production tools and machinery.

A US Design Patent application and US Federal Trademark applications have been filed, giving 'complete commercial protection against copyists for this product' in the opinion of Johnson's US patent attorneys.

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