Wellington Harbour bottle caps

Earlier today I walked around Oriental Parade and up over the Southern Walkway, and hopping off at Kilbirnie before spending about an hour sitting under the northern end of the runway at Wellington Airport, watching the planes struggle in. It was cold, but the bank below the runway offers some partial shelter from the southerly with passing phases of rain, and it was bearable for a while with about four layers and a balaclava.

What surprised me as I walked back towards town was the number of bottle caps washed up on that part of the beach around there. There were barely any plastic bottles, but there were thousands of bottle caps. They were typically the variety that comes from soft drinks and bottled water, the latter of which I think is a bizarre, inefficient and pointless thing in New Zealand, but perhaps that’s a topic for another post.

I suppose the bottles must separate and be carried somewhere else with a different make-up and density, but apparently thousands of bottle caps end up right here. Putting thoughts about lazy thoughtless polluters and the hypocrisy of New Zealand aside, I’d love to know more about the physics of what’s happening here.

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