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The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Gimme 5 Recycling

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!

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263 comments

Comments

Julie Fahl says …

Would love to see this available in Orange County, CA

Motoko Sarsok says …

Hello, Whole foods. I was very excited about this wonderful idea. I went to Deerfield store today with Brita filter and #5 plastic products. Unfortunately, Your customer servise staff has no idea about Gimme 5 recycling. They were very polite to say they would take care of them. Please let them know of this Gimme 5 plan. Moroko Yasuda Sarsok

Joe Shoemaker says …

Starbucks' new cold drink cups are now #5. Please save them (or preferably use your own or ask for glass if you're enjoying your drink at the store) and drop them at WF when you're out and about.

Mary Ellen says …

I'm very happy about this great Gimme 5 Recycling partnership. Partnering with like-minded organizations is what it's all about. Please bring Gimme 5 Recycling to the other San Francisco, CA Whole Foods on FRANKLIN ST. I believe it will be well-used. Thanks very much!

Jenn says …

Ditto what Mo said, bring this program to Phoenix/Scottsdale My local store is Paradise Valley, and you could make me a customer by luring me in with this opportunity.

C.A. says …

@ acacia: Preserve recycles all of our materials in the USA and manufactures all of our products in the USA. Thanks, C.A. Marketing Director Preserve

Ashley Gorman says …

Our Memphis, TN store is currently only recycling #1 and #2 plastics. I would love to support the Gimme 5 project. I think that it could bring an enormous amount of awareness to our community and city.

Beth Terry says …

Hi. So far, the Berkeley, CA store does not have the Gimme5 bin. When I took my Preserve toothbrushes to drop off, the bin hadn't arrived but the manager went ahead and took my toothbrushes from me. Any word on when this will happen in Berkeley?

Trevor says …

The Union Square Manhattan store had the bin out for about a week. Then it was moved behind customer service, totally inaccessible because of the lines wrapping around. The staff directing people traffic didn't seem to know what I was talking about. Great job Whole Foods. If you really want to support communities you build your store in, make these bins accessible. Show people how much plastic could be recycled. Maybe this will be incentive for cities to launch larger scale programs. Hiding the recycling bin made me never want to shop in your store again.

Julianne says …

I would love to see this in one of the two Philadelphia stores--either at 2001 Pennsylvania Ave or 929 South St. Actually I'd love to have it at both, because I go to both, but I know I can't get everything! Thanks for starting this program, hopefully soon I will be able to buy more yogurt without sacrificing a clear conscious.

Chi Park says …

Please add Princeton NJ to your Gimme Five locations!

C. Schurdevin says …

Thank you for the initiative. We wouldlove to see this hapening in Southern california (palos verde, redondo beach and Long Beach). Can you please let them know how great it will be to have a drop off out here. Thank you again.

Nancy Rice says …

Charlottesville VA is a whole-hearted recycling city. Our C'ville store was not even aware of this program. Please make "Gimme #5" possible here, too.

Susan says …

PLEASE convince the stores in Philadelphia to join this program! I've given up begging for a Whole Foods store in my state (Delaware) but I do occasionally drive into or past Philly and would happily save my #5 plastics for those trips.

Sue says …

We need more #5 recycling, but then we also need to educate people that their typical recyclers do not recycle #5 items. Most people believe that if they put it in their bins, it will be recycled. More Whole Foods should team up with Preserve, even if it's not cost effective, because it's the right thing to do for our planet & our futures. Then Whole Foods should add it to their websites so concerned citizens know where to go. I just heard from one of your stores that they don't have a Preseve bin, but that if we bring in our #5's in a bag, they will give it to their trash & recycling hauler. But that hauling company only passes those items to their recycler, who only throws #5's in with their trash. So people's efforts are wasted. Education is the key!! Only then comes change.

Thomas says …

Please bring this program to VA!! If you build it, they will come!

Shawn says …

Charleston, SC needs Gimme 5 -- Please! We're fortunate to have Whole Foods, but we would really appreciate a #5 outlet other than Lowcountry marsh, vital rivers and our amazing Atlantic ocean!

Rob with Lyme says …

Any plans to roll this out in your Canadian stores? Great idea.

Joan says …

Gimme 5 hasn't reached LITTLE ROCK yet, but I'll be talking to folks! My collection is overflowing.

Liz says …

Any hopes of having the Gimme 5 bin at non-Whole Food stores? We have neighborhood non-chain grocery store in Swarthmore PA (outside of Philadelphia) that has a lot of green-shoppers. They also do a great job supporting local produce and farmers. A Gimme 5 bin would be a wonderful addition to the store, especially since you don't currently have anything in the Philadelphia area.

Rebecca says …

Hello there, I would LOVE to see this program made available at your store in Reno, NV. Any idea how long it will be until this will be available here? I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to mail my #5s to the Cortland, NY, address, but a local drop off point would be extremely convenient - and I know there are many others in the Reno/Tahoe area who would also take advantage of a local recycling opportunity. THank you for listening! :)

Paula says …

Would love to see this in Atlanta.

Karen Girard says …

This is great! I plan on using this at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Does this include everything marked with a #5? Such as plastic cups, take-out food containers, etc? Or just small yogurt and similar containers?

says …

Hi Karen, the program includes all #5 plastic items.

Gloria says …

Yes, Rebecca is right. We need this program in Reno, NV!!!!!

Jackie says …

I am SO excited to see this. My friend told me about it and I thought it was too good to be true. It has killed me slowly to throw out all the #5 plastic containers, but my local Whole Foods store is on the list so I can end the suffering!! Yay!

Kristi says …

Please bring the Brita filter recyling to the Toronto store!!

Holly says …

I would love it if you would expand the Brita and other plastic recycling to your Washington State stores, specifically my local ones in downtown Seattle and the Roosevelt District.

Andrea says …

I'm with Holly. Bring it to Seattle. You know the NW will recycle.

Jessica says …

I just found out about this when I picked up the April calendar at Whole Foods today! I am so excited. I placed a box in my office so my coworkers could bring in their #5s to recycle!

Jenny says …

Could you please let me know when Gimme 5 is coming to Southern California (in particular, the Los Angeles area). Is there a list of "future locations". I am saving my #5 plastics but am trying to decide whether to mail them in or wait until I can drop them off. Thanks! Is there an info sheet I could print out and give to the customer service desk at my store so they know what to do to get the program started? Thanks, again! Great program!

Monta Briant says …

I have been saving my yogurt, cream cheese, and margerine tubs for years rather than throw in the trash since we don't recycle them in San Diego, just waiting for recycling to catch up with this. I would love to see my local San Diego Whole Foods market start taking these!

Gina says …

I hope the Whole Foods Market in Pasadena, CA will be added to the Gimme 5 program soon.

Tracy Stauffer says …

Please, please put a Gimme 5 box in the Short Pump, VA Whole Foods. I have a box of #5 plastics waiting for it.

Deborah Petrak Green says …

Hope this makes it to New Mexico!! Only 1s and 2s are collected here.

DEBBIE WOLFE says …

I am happy to see a place to send #5 plastics. I am disappointed to see that there are not stores in the Atlanta, GA area to accept them. Please add the GA stores! Until then, I will mail them.

Kathy says …

Please add this program to the Jenkintown, PA store! I'm estatic that there is a place for #5 plastics. I've been accumulating them and have more containers than I need, but don't want to throw them in the landfill. Thanks!

Cindy Lackey says …

Please bring a bin to the Lansing, MI area PLEASE I am flooded with #5's. Thanks, Cindy

HLC says …

Please bring to Lexington, KY...I've recently become a recycling fanatic and would LOVE to save more from my trash!

DCD says …

Come on WF's-get it into the Princeton, NJ Store!

Sujatha says …

I would like to see this program in Oak Park, IL.

Helen Goldstein says …

I would like to see the princeton, NJ store put on this list. I would LOVE to have a place to recycle #5's!!!

Kim says …

These plastic containers are not recyclable in NYC and there aren't any convenient drop off locations available. I'm so happy that Whole Foods is starting this program! However, the Chelsea location, where I shop everyday, currently does not collect. Please add it to the list!!! Thanks!

Sara says …

I would love to see the Gimme 5 program initiated in your Greenville, SC location!

Michele Peltonen says …

I would love to see the Gimme 5 program at my local stores in Washington state: Bellevue and Redmond. We are lucky and cann recycle #5 tubs in our area, but not lids. Thank you for supporting this program!

Timothy says …

I love the Whole Foods in Jenkintown, PA, but I'm disappointed by its exclusion from this program. Please bring the Gimme 5 program to PA!

Alison says …

Please include Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland locations. DC and Nova/MD residents are hip to recycle!

Meredith Kinsel-Ziter says …

I'd love to see this program in the Cincinnati store! We don't have #5 recycling in our community..

Robert Wilcox says …

Wonderful program, long in coming. However, what is stopping Whole Foods from offering it through ALL its stores? I live in KY close to OH, and yet neither state is on the list. Yet our local main recycler, like most, does not take plastic from other that #s 1 & 2. Hence my concern. I realize this is a new program and hopefully it will expand across the country, but I think it would behoove Whole Foods to offer it everywhere, not just in the most environmentally-conscious areas. Please consider.

Mary Ann says …

Pls start to recyle #5's at your OH stores, specifically the University Hts. store. It would be such a convenience. Thank you.

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