Whole Story

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

Janice says …

Please bring your program to San Diego!

Susan Decosse says …

It is fantastic that you're doing this. Thank you. Will you please encourage the Santa Fe, NM store to participate? Thanks again.

marsha says …

Would love to see this at our Whole Foods in Santa Fe, NM! I eat a LOT of yogurt and cot. cheese.

Cristina says …

Please, Whole Foods in Santa Fe New Mexico, we need this Gimme 5 program! Thanks!

BJ Swingle says …

My cat litter comes in a #5 container - Can I recycle those as well?

Jana says …

This sounds like a great plan! We would love to have it here in Santa Fe, NM!

Steve Wall says …

I would love to see the Santa Fe, New Mexico store start recycling #5 plastic. Thanks!

Ming says …

Yes. Please extend the program to WA. I was dispointed that I did not find any store in WA participate your program. I'll same my Brita filter until I the program is extended to Washington. At least in the city of Seattle and Bellevue.

Jeremy says …

Thanks for taking the first steps with this program, now it needs to expand to other areas such as Southern California. There are a lot of people here who are ready to recycle their #5's and just need a place to make it happen. I regularly shop at the WF in San Diego and would love to see the bins show up there. I plan on stopping by the customer service desk the next time I'm in and discussing it with them. Thanks again!

Corinne says …

Please please please bring gimme 5 to a San Diego, CA location! We have to make this happen! Our planet (and those walking on it) needs to be GREEN!

Joanne Smith says …

Hope the Gimme5 program comes to Tucson and to Denver soon. We are using Preserve plates for my daughter's wedding in Denver this summer. Reasonable, eco friendly, and fun!

Laura says …

This is a great program! Please, please, please bring this to San Diego and the rest of SoCal!

Christine says …

I appreciate you starting the "Gimmie 5" but your website is wrong. I went to your Arlington, VA Whole Foods 2 weeks ago, which your website links to a participating "Gimmie 5", and the employees and manager had no idea what this was, nor did they actually have a place to recycle this. Please either correct the links saying that the Arlington, VA Whole Foods accepts "Gimmie 5" recyclables or place a container in the store.

says …

Hi Christine, our apologies for any confusion regarding the Gimme 5 program. I'll reach out to the folks in our Arlington store to see what's up.

Alan says …

Just talked with the staff at Whole Foods at 28th and Burnside in Portland, OR today, 3/3/10. Gimme 5 is slated to be unveiled here 3/15/10. Thanks to Preserve and Whole Foods and all partnering companies for taking this important step. And thanks to all here in Portland and throughout the planet for doing what you can to make a difference!

Laurie says …

Whole Foods just opened in my area of Long Island, NY. I am pleased that I can recycle all of my #5s (lots of yoghurt containers and Brita filters) and think that this is a great initiative!

Shell says …

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PILOT THIS PROGRAM IN CANADA (VANCOUVER)!!!!

Richard Granucci says …

I have a pet peeve and suggestion for the above recycle program: back 'in the day' I remember bringing containers, even when I lived in the Orient [about 13 years worth] of bringing in containers to be REFILLED. We have the longest surviving containers being used the least amount of time. Soap, and other non digestable items are distributed into containers that are thrown away [if not recycled]. IF thrown into a fill or such, it'll last over 100 years for not degrade types or less for those that do degrade. SUGGESTION: WHy not, cut down on the packaging to include boxes and such and just ship a container, thinking 55gal drum, of the stuff, and you bring in your long, lasting container that originally dispensed the stuff and refill by the pound/weight? Cuts down on storage and other items. Honestly, we fill up our gas tanks with easy, can we not also do this for soaps, shampoos, dog food etc.???? we do have the bulk concept down. Just possibly, we have as humans progressed up a notch.... PS: I'll be glad to fill up my beer and wine by bulk too :D, [<-- ok, that latter is a joke, but not the previous]

mary jane says …

We need Gimme 5 in Venice, CA 90291. I work in the medical industry and would love to tell people where to recycle their prescription bottles

Call Control says …

This is an awesome program! Can't wait until it comes to our store in Seattle!

Laura says …

Can I recycle #5 plastic bottle caps with this program? I hear some places don't accept them because they're so small they can jam machinery, but I'm hoping Preserve accepts them and I can recycle them in the Gimme 5 bin at my store.

caroline says …

I have reached out to my Whole Foods store in Tucson and they have yet to offer #5 recycling. Please help to make this happen in Tucson.

Lindsey says …

Tucson, Airzona....I just read this and then looked at their site, I don't see this on there. I will ask them next time I go but if they don't have it, then I vote TUCSON Great Idea Lindsey

Angela says …

I am very interested in this program however the nearest Whole Foods Store is 2 hours away. Right now I am saving my plastic #5's to take down there but the emissions I am leaving behind by driving is not good. Could you consider having a drop box in the Woodman's Grocery Store in Appleton WI. Thanks

AllieJo says …

I love the program. And I go out of my way to use the Whole Foods in Union, NJ, because of their #5 recycling bin, as well as several other earth-friendly programs that aren't available in other WF stores. Thank you, Union store!

Michael Swist says …

It would be very much appreciated if the "Gimme 5" recycling program came to the Hillcrest, San Diego store. I am absolutely confident that everyone would participate all of the time. It is such a great idea. Please offer the service here. Thank you.

Lisa says …

We would love the Gimme 5 program at the La Jolla Whole Foods in San Diego, please!!!

Richard Kenyon says …

PLEASE get this going in the stores in San Diego, CA! PLEASE!!

Lance says …

Another vote for Venice 90291. We've been saving Brita filters for years waiting for this! Also, it would be really great to get Trader Joe's in on this program- they seem to be lagging behind on the 'reducing plastics in their packaging' front, but at least now have a conspicuous reusable shopping bag program in place (actually much more visible than what I've seen at Whole Foods). Keep up the good work!

Amber says …

BRING THIS TO ROCHESTER, NY!!! PLEASE!!!!!!! :D

Giz says …

Thank you so much for putting this in place. I've been hanging onto my Brita filters for years, waiting for somewhere in America to be able to take them! :)

jennifer says …

Hello I would love to see the Gimme 5 program available at Hazelton Lanes Whole foods in Toronto, I went there a couple weeks ago only to leave very frustrated that they did not have this program, I look forward to seeing it there soon, please notify me when it is available via email Sincerely, Jennifer

Natalie M says …

Please bring Gimme5 to the Whole Foods store in Tustin, CA.

kathy says …

I have a question: Where do the #5 recyclables get sent? If they are shipped via jet to Guam, then it isn't a very efficient method, correct? It would be great to receive some clarification on this issue. Thanks so much for offering this. I hate throwing away #5 plastic! Kathy

Jane Remer says …

I'd really like to see this program expanded to Tucson, AZ. We have 2 Whole Foods stores here now. I asked about the program at my local store and it hadn't even been heard of. But I'm saving my #5 plastics in anticipation. I totally support recycling. Thank you.

Veronica says …

Would LOVE to have a Preserve Gimme 5 at ANY of the Southern CA locations to service the over 12 million residents in Los Angeles, not even including the surrounding cities. Please, please, please spare at least one #5 recycling in any of your 29 SoCal stores!!!

Aari says …

Very excited about this program. Is it in all Whole Foods now? Because the links take you to the general store search & I can't find any store-specific Gimme 5 info on your website. (I'm in NYC.)

kathryn alexander says …

please get the Whole Foods store that is located at 1700 California Street in San Francisco, on board with this program. please also inform the garbage companies of every city that has this program available so they can inform their customers. San Francisco is the ONLY CITY that has mandatory recycling and composting, yet they did not know about this program. knowledge = power, and we need to become a garbage-free planet, starting now! IF YOU KNOW WHERE I CAN RECYCLE DENTAL FLOSS, PLEASE TELL ME!! Thank you. Dental floss is my garbage.

Kamila says …

Please bring the Gimme 5 program to San Diego!!! For such a big city, I'm surprised there is no where to recycle these plastics. I've been saving my #5s and Brita filters so hopefully I can recycle them somewhere soon.

Nick says …

San Diego's Whole Foods locations need to start Gimme 5 too! I mail my Preserve brushes back but would much rather drop them off at the grocery store. Hillcrest and La Jolla locations would be close enough for me to make the trip, plus how about Henry's too since they're owned by you guys now right? I live in Chula Vista and our Henry's is the only health food store within 2 miles of my house, and the next one is about 7 miles away! That may not sound bad but living in LA I was used to having multiple choices within walking distance lol...

Andrew Cheng says …

You have a very catchy name for the program, this is awesome! Are there plans of moving to other plastic types?

Bepkom says …

@Andrew: The reason the program focuses on #5 plastics is because most local recycling centers don't accept them. They do, however, accept many other types. You can find more information on their website: http://www.preserveproducts.com/ THANKS!

Maggie Breving says …

Awesome! It would be great to have this program at the Whole Foods in Cincinnati, OH.

Rob says …

Great program! Let's not forget those of us in So. California. There is a huge demand. We would like to see Gimmie 5 at the Chino Hills Whole Foods location. Thanks for your efforts!

Stephanie says …

I just started with recycling and they do not make it easy for you. Too many stipulations with it. To me paper is paper. Plastic is plastic. I can't believe that it's not easier to recycle #5 plastic material since most plastic product containers seem to be that type. The only town in Ky. that is in this program is Louisville. ??? Why not Lexington?

Makela Mangrich says …

PLEASE PLEASE can we get the Whole Foods stores in San Diego (Hillcrest and La Jolla) to take part in this program? It is scandalous that we have to throw away these plastics. The stores should either stop selling the products that use #5 plastics (which will never happen) or get this program in the store. I am stockpiling all of our #5 plastics in hopes this will happen soon!

Scarlett says …

I hope they are in the Austin, TX stores! Those are the closest to where I live and I would love to see them there!

Bepkom says …

@Kelley: As much as we would like to, we don't have the capacity to collect and manage all recyclables. However, i've found some recycling centers in Los Angeles for you on google: http://cot.ag/fJElzZ

Siobain says …

I would like to suggest our swap/reuse site to you. ecofreek is a site meant to promote the reuse of items as opposed to throwing them into landfills. If you are interested please let me know what you think! Siobain

andrea321 says …

This is fantastic news about recycling #5 products. I'm from Ontario where they recycle plastics #1 through #7, so I am thrilled about not creating more garbage. Keep it up.

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