Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Gimme 5 Recycling

By Paige Brady, January 20, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Brady
Great news for recyclers out there! Some of our Whole Foods Market stores are piloting a new program for recycling #5 plastic with Preserve called Gimme 5. If you don’t have the recycling numbers memorized (like me), #5 is commonly used in containers for yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus, medicine bottles, etc. I’m told that many communities don’t have recycling for #5 plastics and when it is collected, it’s often shipped to Asia to be burned as energy. Yuck! Oh yeah, as an added benefit, Gimme 5 also accepts Brita water filters for recycling. (Since water filters are all different, this is only for Brita.) nullSo here’s the deal. You bring your #5 plastics to a drop-off bin at our participating stores. (We’re starting with our stores in the Midwest, North Atlantic, Northeast and Northern California. Check for specific stores.) We’ll send the plastic to Preserve, who make recycled household products including toothbrushes, razors, tableware, and kitchen products. When they get it, the plastic is ground up and turned into clean plastic pellets. The pellets are then sent to Preserve’s manufacturing facilities to be transformed into new Preserve products. Obviously, when you choose to purchase Preserve stuff that closes the loop on the whole recycling chain. How cool is that? Preserve Gimme 5 is supported by a partnership with Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm. Pats on backs all around. This whole program started because Preserve wondered: “Wouldn’t it be cool if more people could recycle their #5 plastic? They could just fill up their reusable shopping bags and drop off their #5s every time they go shopping at Whole Foods Market.” A Green Mission Team Leader in our Reston, Virginia store had the same good idea. Together they piloted the first Preserve Gimme 5 program and it worked! Store guests loved the bin and filled it with so much clean #5 plastic that Team Members emptied the bin three times a week. Preserve called their friends at Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm. Together, they agreed to fund a program that would make #5 recycling available at other Whole Foods Market stores. Preserve hopes to expand Gimme 5 to more Whole Foods Market stores in the coming months. If your store isn’t on the list of current stores and you’d like to see it in your store, post a comment below and I’ll make sure the stores and Preserve get the message!
Category: Green Action




Joanna says ...
Hello! This is an awesome idea but I thought Colorado would be listed in the pilot... Would you please add Colorado.. Thanks Much!!!
02/03/2009 12:28:31 PM CST
Cassie says ...
I saw on the list here in Jacksonville we will be able to take our number 5's on Feb. 16. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I am so glad there will now be a place we can take our number 5's.
02/03/2009 11:46:52 AM CST
hsiaw says ...
<em>Hey All! Just a little reminder of the Comment that C.A. Webb from Preserve left a few weeks back: </em> All of us at Preserve are so pleased to hear the positive reaction to our Gimme 5 program. Our partners at Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm agree that we would like to make Preserve Gimme 5 available to all Whole Foods Market stores that would like to participate. If your store does not currently participate but you wish it did, you can stop by the customer service desk the next time you’re shopping and urge them to join the program. And, in the meantime, you can return your #5s directly to Preserve for recycling–http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/index.html Thanks for your support! C.A. Webb, Marketing Director, Preserve
02/11/2009 12:33:58 PM CST
Chris B says ...
I would like to see this happen in the south region as well. As the lead receiver at Cary WFM in NC I see a lot of plastic either thrown out or recycled and then thrown out. Our state of the art distribution center in Georgia is doing all they can to recycle what we can and I think this would be an excellent addition.
01/30/2009 9:46:42 AM CST
Lenah N says ...
This is such a great idea! I live in the Inland Northwest and unfortunately the nearest Whole Foods Store to me is 300 miles away. Is this program only located in Whole Foods Stores? The Co-Op would also be a great place for this.
01/30/2009 3:05:45 PM CST
Sarah Royse says ...
I would love to see this in Columbus, OH! Awesome program!!
01/31/2009 3:56:36 PM CST
Rebekah says ...
There are many WF shops in the Phoenix market, and I would love to see this program here as well! Thank you so much for replying and letting us know we can mail stuff directly to Preserve as well- awesome!
01/31/2009 8:49:11 PM CST
Rachel Zintgraff says ...
I cannot believe there is not a store recycling in Austin, Texas. We are a Green Community and growing by the minute. Please put one here! Until then, I guess I will collect and mail them in myself. I had no idea they were sent to China in when put in our recycling bin!!!
02/01/2009 10:30:05 AM CST
Lisa Miller says ...
I would love to see this in the Lamar store in Austin, TX. I live about an hour north of Austin, but drive to Whole Foods a couple times a month. I'm also an avid recycler and here in Temple, it's #1 &amp; 2 only,,,GRRR. So please consider Austin!!
02/02/2009 12:51:08 PM CST
Anne says ...
This is a great initiative, so I'm disappointed to see no Pennsylvania stores included in the pilot program. I hope you'll add the Jenkintown, PA, store soon. About six months ago, we stopped buying yogurt and cottage cheese because we were generating so many #5 plastic containers, and we can only recycle #1 and #2 here. (We still occasionally buy the Vermont Creamery yogurt that comes in the glass bottle.) We're looking forward to seeing this program come to our store! Thanks.
01/20/2009 8:52:54 AM CST
Farrah says ...
Very exciting! Hope this will make it to Texas. I know it would be a success here in the DFW area. What a great partnership!
01/20/2009 9:44:04 AM CST
Lori says ...
Fantastic! Hopefully we can get this going in Atlanta!
01/20/2009 10:55:22 AM CST
Chells says ...
If this should expand to your SE stores, would really like to see this happen at the Mt. Pleasant, SC location.
01/20/2009 10:58:29 AM CST
Emily Smith says ...
Please consider Greenville, SC! Lots of hummus, yogurt, brita filters and more waiting to be donated to Gimme 5. :) Also, I use a Preserve toothbruth that comes in a recyclable container that you can ship back to them (really wonderful toothbrush, by the way). Would I be able to recycle it at WF with Gimme 5 instead of shipping it back? Not sure what # plastics the toothbrush and container are. Thanks for being so proactive!
01/20/2009 10:59:43 AM CST
modF says ...
This is a great project! Hopefully it will not be long until you bring it to Southern New Jersey as well. Although, I do live in the first city in the US to mandate recycling. :)
01/20/2009 11:08:13 AM CST
Chris says ...
Please bring this to Rochester, NY.
02/12/2009 8:15:46 PM CST
Mo says ...
Please please bring this to AZ! We have one of your newer stores here in Scottsdale, and I would love to be a part of such a great thing! :)
02/11/2009 9:12:47 PM CST
acacia says ...
I just want to make absolutely certain: These #5 containers are NOT shipped overseas right?? They stay here (US/CA/Mex), correct? Where are the new products manufactured? We do not purchase products from China, for instance, as a rule. Thanks!
02/21/2009 6:03:13 PM CST
Li Wong says ...
Thank you! I live in Brooklyn and there is very limited plastic recycling. Yesterday I regretfully tossed a #5 container and now today I stumbled across this notice. America is marching slowly forward! Thanks Whole Foods
02/03/2009 8:48:47 PM CST
Matt says ...
Just wanted to say that for all you people waiting to get this program going in your area, Preserve DOES accept #5 recycling by mail and has instructions for shipping it to them here: http://www.preserveproducts.com/gimme5/index.html Unfortunately you have to pay for shipping if you don't live near a Gimme 5 drop-off location, but if you check out the usps site for size and weight specifications, you can keep the personal cost to a minimum!
02/04/2009 10:38:21 AM CST
Donna says ...
Hope this comes to San Diego soon!
02/04/2009 8:29:55 PM CST
Ashley says ...
I'm so happy you guys are doing this! I really hate having to just throw away those containers with the infernal number 5 on the bottom, but I've yet to find anyone that will recycle them. Please bring this program to Houston! I started saving my 5s today, so I'll be very happy to have a way to recycle them soon. :) Thank you!
01/21/2009 3:14:37 AM CST
Theresa Partheymuller says ...
I went to the Whole Foods at 24th and 7th in NYC with my yogurt cups but they didn't know what I was talking about. I didn't realize that the program was only in a few stores. I mostly shop at this store and I would like a bin there. Thanks this is a great idea.
02/20/2009 6:44:40 PM CST
Alex says ...
Excellent! Please add the Philadelphia stores soon; the city only picks up #1 and #2 here.
01/21/2009 7:02:23 AM CST
Jeff says ...
Would love to see this in the Louisville store!
01/21/2009 8:40:34 AM CST