Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Small Steps Add Up: Gimme 5 Recycling

Let’s say you recycle, compost, bike to work and are mindful of wasting water and electricity. Plus, you always remember your reusable shopping bags. Then you certainly have already made a commitment to caring for the planet. (We need more people like you around!)

But what do you do with all of those containers from yogurt, cream cheese, hummus, take-out and other plastic food storage with the #5 on the bottom? Not many recycling programs take that type of plastic, but we do!

What is Whole Foods Market® doing? We’ve implemented Preserve’s Gimme 5 recycling infrastructure, a partnership with Stonyfield Farm, Tom’s of Maine, Brita and Preserve to promote upcycling of #5 plastics.

It works like this:

  1. Bring your #5 plastics to a drop-off bin at our participating stores. That means your Tom’s of Maine deodorant packaging, Stonyfield yogurt containers, used Brita water pitcher filters (see the Preserve website for details on recycling the Brita filters) and a number of other products made from #5 plastic, including dairy and take-out containers.
  2. We send the containers to Preserve, where the plastic is ground up and turned into clean plastic pellets.
  3. These pellets are then sent to Preserve’s manufacturing facilities to be transformed into stylish recycled household products like toothbrushes, razors, tableware, cutting boards, colanders and lots of other cool kitchenware – products that we sell.
  4. When you choose to purchase 100% recycled Preserve products, you close the loop on the whole recycling chain. (Pretty cool, right?)

What can you do? Since announcing the program in 2009, over 381,000 pounds of plastic have been recycled with the Gimme 5 program, and Preserve makes it easy to participate. The program is now available in more than 230 of US Whole Foods Market® stores.

You’ll find the complete list of Gimme 5 locations on their website or on-the-go with the Gimme 5 iPhone app. If you don’t live near one of the current collection sites or if your Whole Foods Market store doesn’t yet offer Gimme 5 recycling, you can mail your #5 plastics to Preserve.

Even better, you can “check in” your recycling via Preserve’s Gimme 5 app or on the website mygimme5.com, and you’ll be rewarded with Recyclebank Points that you can use for discounts on products and other cool deals.

Remember, when it comes to taking care of the planet, small steps – and small yogurt containers – can make a big difference. In fact, to celebrate Earth Day and all the little ways we can work together we’re giving away a year’s supply of Eco-Scale™ rated household cleaning products. Just click here and go to this blog post to share your Earth Day resolution and you’ll be entered to win.

Have you participated in the Gimme 5 recycling loop by turning in your #5 plastic containers, buying Preserve products or both? If so, we’d like to hear from you.