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

Keith says …

The North Raleigh (NC) store just opened. It is not listed on the link to the Preserve site as a site that recycles #5 yet. If it is recycling then the list should be updated; if it is not recycling I would like to see that it started.

Kelley says …

A recycling bin in a LA store would make a lot of sense, so many people and so many that are proactive with the whole going green thing, I don't see why there isn't one here yet.. I have about 10 filters, and I hate to throw them in the trash, but I can't find a recycling center.. Please, one soon! just one!

Larry Tyler says …

Just want to let your readers know that the Mid-Atlantic region has opened up its own Recycling Center next to the distribution center. We are averaging 700 tons of Occ and plastic a period along with composting and pallets that we also recycle. We are very excited about what the future holds for us and maybe getting this started in other regions. Thank You Larry Tyler Recycling Center ATL.

Adele Gunnarson says …

I shop at the Whole Foods Gateway location in Austin TX. Would it be possible to put a Preserve Gimme 5 recycle bin at that store?

alexandra says …

a fantastic program! i just learned a recycling service is included with the garbage pick up which is included in my rent each month. am super stoked! did learn they do not take #5 plastics. will totally take advantage of this pilot program at my local whole foods in rochester michigan. awesome program! will be so beneficial! thank you whole foods and gimme 5!!! PLEASE EXPAND IT!!!!

Karl says …

This is great! Please approach Wegmans about doing this. They are a large Northeastern chain. I'm in Rochester where there is no Whole Foods. The amount of food that comes in #5 plastic is mind-boggling and so frustrating that I can't recycle it.

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cheri says …

Please add the #5 recycling to Whole Foods store in El Segundo, CA. Thank you for making the planet better for the future! CHeri

S.P. says …

Hi there! This program is unbelievable! I would really like to see this recycling program start at the Whole Foods in Thousand Oaks, CA. I'm sure Thousand Oaks High School would do fundraisers to help the program initiate. Thank you so much!

Thomas Fritz says …

Has anyone seen the new one pound bacon package that is a #5 recyclable? What a fantastic idea! The old style of bacon board is not recyclable. It gets all soggy and ends up in a land fill. Thousands of tons of material going into our landfills--so sad.

business recycling says …

This is great news. The more plastic recycling we can achieve the better

Kristian Salgado says …

I'm a big fan of preserve products and everything the company stands for.( I love your tooth brushes). I just really hope in the near future Whole Foods in the San Diego area begins to collect #5 plastic. I have friends and family that have cut down on buying products that are package in #5 plastic, but sometimes we get one and I have no way of disposing it responsible. I would really like any information about possible getting an Gimme 5 Recycling bin at whole foods in San Diego. Thanks.

Anne-Marie Sciarrillo says …

I would like to see this done in Canada, There is the new Whole foods located just beside Square one. Also one in Oakville, I believe.

Storage Sydney says …

Gimme 5 recycling is one of the ideal way of protecting the environment as well as benefiting the people. I do like the idea that you can replace your #5 plastic products with much more safe and preserved products. Many will surely support this act.

says …

@Kari So sorry you've had some frustration trying to drop off your recycling. Each store does things a little differently but the link below to the Gimme 5 website shows that Virginia stores should be active. However, for the best, most accurate information I encourage you to reach out to Gimme 5 directly to see which locations are active. Thank you for reaching out! http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/gimme5locations.html http://www.preserveproducts.com/locations/

Yvonne says …

I think your list needs to be updated. I asked where to recycle brita filters at the Whole Foods in Rockville, MD. I was told that they no longer participate. Very disappointing! You should look into working with My Organic Market. They are truly and environmentally conscious company, and a great place to shop!

Kari says …

Can you please tell me if this program is still active, and what stores it is at? I just tried the one listed in Virginia, and they said that they don't take it. Thanks!

Rocky says …

This is absolutely AWESOME. I just wish there were some down in southern california! Here's to hoping Gimme 5 can spread it's stores (and message) everywhere else!! :)

Heather George says …

I really really really want to recycle my Brita filters, so today I am going to take them to my nearest Whole Foods in El Segundo, CA, drop them at the customer service counter, and hope for an inter-store transfer to Nor Cal (or wherever makes the most sense). As one of the largest stores in the country here, I would hope that this program please please please comes directly to our store soon. THANK YOU for listening!!! :)

Brooke H. says …

I'm a recycling fanatic and I absolutely hate throwing away items that should be made recycable, so this article just made my day!! I'm so thrilled that Whole Foods is helping the community by doing this. i looked on the list of participating stores and saw none nearest me :( Please put a Gimme5 recycling in the Santa Monica, CA/ Brentwood, CA locations! Thank you so very much for listening, and i will pile up every type of #5 plastic i have untill Santa Monica gets with the program! :)

Christy Martens says …

We have an entire facility of employees that generates 100 filters every 2 weeks! Any way we could get the Encinitas, CA to get a "Gimme 5" bin, or set up a drop at our facility that Brita would pick up?

Patti F says …

Please start a Gimme 5 program at Whole Foods in Greensboro, NC.

Sally CAmpbell says …

What about lids. Can we assume the lid of a deli or yogurt container is a 5. They usually don't have the triangle with the number inside.

Elizabeth says …

I use to take my Brita filters to Whole Foods, Venice, CA for recycling. Now they are refusing them and are telling me that they never recycled them!! The staff there referred me to one of the Santa Monica stores - same story - they referred me to still another. Do you recycle them still and if so, where?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ELIZABETH - I was able to get in touch with the Southern Pacific regional office that oversees all of the locations in Southern California. They mentioned that they have never accepted Brita filters at any of their store locations as the Gimme 5 was only in certain regions. Sorry for the confusion. If there is a recycling center in your town, they might know where to direct you.

Stephanie Moore says …

Please add the Gimme 5 program to recycle #5 plastics to the Virgina Beach, VA Whole Foods store!

austin layne says …

Wondering if you had a list of stores that do take it or if there is a search here on your website? thanks

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@AUSTIN - There is a list! You can find it on the Preserve Products website at http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/gimme5locations.html.

Shirley says …

I wish there are more places with Preserve Gimme 5 bins. I really want to start recycling those Brita filters.

Lisa S. says …

Thanks very much for providing this drop-off recycling service. I had searched high and low for a place to recycle these plastics, particularly pharmacy bottles, and couldn't find anything until I found the "Gimme 5" program. One suggestion -- it would be helpful if the information said whether the tops to the those bottles are OK to include. Thank you!

Lisalisa says …

Just we to whole foods at Columbus circle in NYC, and they said they no longer have the gimme 5 recycling bin. What the wha? Are you planning to bring it back?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@LISALISA - Sorry to hear that. This is a program that is decided upon by each location. I would suggest reaching out to the store directly to see if they have future plans to bring back the recycling program.

KOOKY says …

HOWZIT!! I WOULD LIKE,TO KNOW IF THERE'S A GIMMIE 5 RECYCLE BIN @ WHOLEFOODS ON MAUI?? ALSO CAN U KINDLY GIVE ME A LIST,ON WHAT KINE,TYPE N ALSO HOW BIG ,OF A PLASTIC RECYCLABLES ARE ALLOWED.. DO U ALSO HAVE N A RECYCLE BIN FOR PAPER PRODUCTS?? PLEASE LET ME NO AS SOON A.S.A.P TANK U PLEASE

Tim says …

This is great. What happens to out of date foodstuff? Is that recycled into manure, or something more useful like methane or ethanol? Go Whole Foods!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@TIM - Any food that has expired will go in to our store compost. Various regions often bag their compost (after composting) for consumers to buy for their gardens/yards!

Leslie says …

this makes me soooo happy.

T. Earnshaw says …

Whole Foods in North Wales, PA used to participate in Gimme5, but they no longer do so.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@T. EARNSHAW - I called and spoke with the store and they do not have the bins to collect the #5 plastics as the city has now added #5 plastics in to the collection they pick up. You should be able to add #5 plastics to your local recycling collection.

edwin saiteros says …

We should implement this in our Meat Departments ...ASAP

eva flores says …

do you pay for the bottle caps

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@EVA - We do not pay for anything to be donated through this recycling program.

italia says …

Thanks for assisting in recycling BRITA filters! Please share with me if you can any resource for recycling TETRA PAKS. Thank you.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ITALIA - Since Tetra Paks are newer to the market, I have not seen anything for recycling these packages. We will definitely let you know if we do!

Ruth A. Broman says …

Do you have the medicine bottle recycling in the Whole Foods Stores in Minnesota. I live near the Minnetonka and the Maple Grove Stores. If not will you soon. I would difinetly use the service.

Joan says …

I know this is a service for your customers, but I occasionally shop at whole foods, do you take # 5 plastic that was not bought at Whole Foods, yoghurt cups, sour cream cups...from other stores? or any items that has the # 5 pp on it?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JOAN - Some of our locations will accept your household recycling. Call your local store to see if you can bring it by the store!

Julie M says …

Hope you will be able to add the Vancouver, WA store to the Gimme5 program soon. Thanks.

M says …

Why aren't any of the Southern California locations participating in this program?? San Diego has one of the biggest Earth Day celebration and the store here doesn't accept #5 plastic for recycling...?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@M - If the store does not participate in this program it's possible the city wide recycling program now accepts #5 plastics and therefore you can recycle your #5 items in the regular recycling bin at your store. Were you able to check with the store if this was possible?

Anne says …

i thought I'd seen somewhere that the lids on bottles (Duval Co. FL) doesn't take them is plastic #5. Can you confirm this? Tks

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