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

Karen says …

We need this program in the Philadelphia area. Please begin a program here. I would especially like to see it in Jenkintown. Thanks.

Lee Varian says …

Are there any plans to expand the excellent Gimme 5 recycling to the Princeton, NJ store? I would certainly use it.

Avis Anderson says …

I live in Pemberton NJ and would shop more at Whole Foods if they recycled #5. I love the store but don't make the trip just to buy groceries. If there was a recycling advantage, I'd make the trip. Thank you, Avis Anderson

Marie says …

We are happily saving our #5s while waiting for the program to arrive in Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina.

Denise says …

It just kills me everytime that I get plastic containers that can't be recycled. I was excited to read about this program -- then disappointed learn that it's not in Columbus OH yet. Bring it on! We're more than ready.

Teri Nowak says …

I would love to see the Preserve Gimme 5 program at the Whole Foods Store in Lexington, Kentucky. We have a very good city-wide recycling program (but only #s 1 & 2), so people are/are learning to recycle. I would love to be able to recycle #5s!

Deborah Petrak Green says …

The Whole Foods stores in Albuquerque, NM do NOT participate in the Gimme 5 program. So I’ve collected 48.5 pounds-worth of #5 plastics in the last 2 months, and I’m driving them to Charlottesville, VA tomorrow for recycling. It would be great to see the Gimme 5 program in ALL Whole Foods stores!!

J McGee says …

Hi I live in Greenville SC and I assumed that the Whole Foods on Woodruff Rd accepted #5 plastics in the recycling bin outside the store. Was I wrong? If so, what plastics can I recycle in that bin? I asked an employee inside the store and they didn't know. Thanks

says …

@J Different cities and municipalities accept different kinds of plastics for recycling. Most commonly, only #1 and #2 are accepted.

Kristy says …

Atlanta area please, thanks!

molly chapman says …

Please add the Birmingham,AL store to the list.

Suzanne says …

Please bring Gimme 5 recycling to Bellevue WA so I can recycle my Brita filters there!!

C says …

come to Pittsburgh!!!

Hollie Cooper says …

I would like to see a drop off for plastics 5 since our recyling programs in Arizona won't take them.

Heather says …

Love to see a program in Cincinnati.

Julia says …

This is great! I love yogurt and it is disappointing to me that I cannot recycle the containers in Virginia. I hope to see the program in the Arlington, VA store soon!

Stephanie says …

We've had trouble getting recycling to be a permanent program here in New Orleans. It would be really nice if the Arabella Station Store could get a more all-encompassing recycling program to help us out until the city can handle the service itself!

Atiya says …

I also live in North Carolina, and would love this program to come to Raleigh, Cary or Durham. I am excited by the initiative, and am considering saving the containers I have and accumulate until a trip to Tampa in November (who needs clothes in my suitcase when I am doing my part to save the planet). Thank you for filing this need!

Ann says …

Hooray for Whole Foods! Please expand this to include at least one store in Albuquerque, NM. I know one woman who it taking about 25 pounds of #5 plastics on her vacation to Chicago so she can drop it off at a Whole Foods that is participating in this program! Help those of us in Albuquerque recycle more!

cltp says …

Any plans to recycle the styrene containers used for berries and lettuce packs? They are number 6 in the system.

Elizabeth says …

This is a great program and I hope it is working well. Please bring it to the Cary, NC store. Our family has a huge yogurt addiction and need a recycling option for all the #5!

Michelle says …

Please encourage the Whole Foods Baton Rouge, LA store to participate in the "Gimme 5 Recycling" program!

christina hunter says …

Thanks to WholeFoods Indianapolis locations..for participating in the program....its awesome..and it gives me a reason to drive and shop at Whole foods

kathy says …

Sure wish we had this in AZ!

becky says …

Please set up a gimme 5 location in Albuquerque!

Alethea Schweigert says …

This is a fabulous program! Where is the store in Reston, VA (Green Mission Team Leader) that is mentioned. I live in NOVA and would love to minimize my waste by dropping off all my #5 recyclables at a local facility. Thanks.

Brooke says …

Please bring Gimme 5 to the Greenville, SC Whole Foods store. I have a bag of yogurt containers ready to drop off. I know of others doing the same thing. Please let us help prevent these from going into the landfills!!

Amy says …

We NEED Gimme 5 Recycling in Durham, NC! The city cannot recycle #5 containers, and the Durham store sells tons of them! Please help us! Amy

Rhonda Epstein says …

I would like to see number 5 recycled in the San Diego area. There is a Whole Foods store that I shop at in La Jolla which would be great! I'd like to know what they make with the recycled plastic. I also want to know if the GJimme 5 program takes straws and plastic silverware. I have read that they are often number 5 as well. I would like the kids at the local schools to get involved, so please tell me if you will start a Gimme 5 program in La Jolla (and if so, when). Thanks, Rhonda

Christine Bernhard says …

Please bring Gimme 5 to the Cincinnati Whole Foods. Currently we can't recycle 5s in Cincinnati currently. Hope to see it soon! Thanks, Christine Bernhard

Flo says …

Please bring this program to Albuquerque. There would be lots of participation.

Meg McClellan says …

Hi there - I have so many #5 plastics that i would like to see recycled. Ft. Collins - please consider a Gimme 5 program....please??

Victoria Roy says …

Please start the Gimme 5 program at the Whole Foods in Durham or Chapel Hill, North Carolina! There is no place to recycle #5 plastics anywhere! It hurts so bad to throw all the #5 plastics away in the trash because there's no place to put them! Thank so much!

ggreen says …

I am very surprised to see the Union Square NYC location on the list of participating stores, since the *very small* bin was only out sporadically and I haven't seen it in months. Now after reading Trevor's comment [February 19th, 2009 at 10:33 am], I understand that it was moved to the customer service area. I will stop in to check this out when I am next in the neighborhood. But like Trevor, I find this completely unacceptable: if the bin is not included in the area with the other recycling bins, there should be at least a sign indicating that one exists and where to find it. The customer service desk is out of typical customer traffic flow, and any bin placed there would not be noticed by most visitors to the store. Even when there was a bin, it was so small -- much smaller than the other WF recycling bins -- that sadly I often left my #5s in a bag in the general vicinity before giving up completely on the practice. The volume of #5 containers in this city and the desire of residents to recycle rather than trash them are by no means WF's problems to solve. But the hide-and-seek methodology at the Union Square store does not improve the image of a brand that is perceived in NYC to only give lip-service to bettering the environment.

Lyn DeVane says …

Would be so great to have this program in Raleigh, NC!

Crystal says …

I am so glad that I will be able to take my #5 plastics to Whole Foods! I kept having to throw away all of the #5 stuff that we use instead of recycling because there was just no where near me that did anything with it. This is a wonderful program! Kudos again to Whole Foods. Crystal

Michael Smith says …

we have toner cartridges that have soy toner and say number 5 on the bottom- are those recylable at whole foods?

lisa bakke says …

Seattle stores should be leading the way with this wonderful Gimme 5 project. There are now 3 seattle stores and last month when i called all of them, none had a Gimme 5 drop off bin. in fact, most of those on phone at the stores didn't know what the heck i was talking about. not cool! if Alabama stores can have this, Seattle sure should! And, maybe this Action Project could help us lobby the prescription medicine bottle makers to STOP making containers from such brittle plastic. why don't we just switch to something like tylenol bottles that are easily recyclable? time for a plastic revolution across the board!

Barbara says …

I would love to have the Tucson stores included in the #5 plastic recycling program. I never realized how many kinds of containers are made from this plastic. I would be happy to be able to take them somewhere.

Jaremy L. says …

I'm so happy to discover this program for Preserve Gimme 5. I discovered it through the Stonyfield Farms website. Hopefully this will expand to all Whole Foods stores but beyond to other grocery chains. It is a movement and direction which our society must head instead of putting endless amounts of more plastic in our landfills which will probably not decompose at all for hundreds of years let alone all the chemicals from plastic leaching into the ground and making us all sick. Also, I have a question. Most plastic tops now for #5 containers like butter, cream cheese, etc. say that the tops are #2 plastic. Should these #2 tops be recycled separately from their #5 tub-like containers or can people send the whole container (#5 container and #2 top) to Preserve Gimme 5 or put them in the bin at participating Whole Foods stores? Thanks. I look forward to your answer.

allison amirrezvani says …

We need this in the Kentlands store in gaithersburg MD!!!! anybody out there know where to recycle your hairdryer in maryland?????

LSJ says …

Please add San Diego / La Jolla to the list! We eat a lot of yogurt!!!

Becky says …

Seattle, WA has recycling, food waste, and yard waste composting programs for just about everything, but not for Brita filters yet. It is one of the few things still left in my garbage. I would love to see this program get up and running in Seattle.

MT Waldron says …

I didn't see the Marietta HFM on the list of locations for #5 plastic recycling. It would be popular. Not only are yogurt and cottage cheese containers type #5, but many fast-food drink cups are as well.

Brian says …

Awesome!!! I have boxes and boxes of the stuff and I would like to be able to recycle it in Las Vegas, NV. I also have collections of PVC, LDPE, and PS, if something could be done about that too =)

Bibi says …

I'm also very disappointed that no Colorado Whole Foods store is n the list of particiating locations. That's a shame! Please add a Denver, CO store soon! Many thanks, Bibi

Linda Gray says …

We have no place in Santa Fe, and it seems in all of New Mexico, for recycling #5 plastics. Sure would be great to have the Gimme 5 program come to our city and state!

yogurt lover says …

Awesome program! So excited that you offer #5 recycling. Keep up the good work!

Carrel says …

This is so awesome! Thank you!!! I'd like to add the following stores: Fair Lakes/Fairfax, VA, and Charlottesville, VA Thanks again!

Ada Rosann says …

Hurray!!!! My cupboards were being overrun by my "green" conscience!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! My grand-kids thank you,too!! P.S. Thank you for providing preferred parking for us "greenies" that drive fuel efficient vehicles, too... Let's keep spreading the awareness....

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