Whole Foods Helps ‘Preserve’ Resources With Plastic Recycling

Woman grocery shopping

Not sure what to do with your old yogurt cups or medicine bottles? Items made of plastic #5 (polypropylene) can often be difficult to recycle, due to the lack of availability in recycling programs for this type of plastic.

Whole Foods Market, organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley, an organic, farmer-owned cooperative, recently partnered with Preserve to create the “Preserve Gimme 5” program, giving you a new way to recycle your plastic #5.

According to Preserve Founder and CEO Eric Hudson, “Recycling is the most common activity that people cite when asked what they do to reduce their impact on the earth. Recycling and choosing recycled products, coupled with other ways to reduce and reuse, take us all an important step closer toward protecting our planet so we can enjoy its beauty and share that beauty with future generations.”

Although polypropylene packaging is used for hundreds of products, a limited number of communities have curbside #5 plastic collection. Rather than trashing these resources, Preserve recycles them into useful products, like cutting boards, plates, toothbrushes, razors and cutlery.

Preserve uses recycled plastic #5 to create eco-friendly, everyday products like toothbrushes and colanders.

Preserve uses recycled plastic #5 to create eco-friendly, everyday products like toothbrushes and colanders. Image Credit: Preserve (Instagram)

Common packaging made from plastic #5 includes containers for:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Cream cheese
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Margarine
  • Hummus
  • Medicine bottles
  • Some plastic ice cream containers
  • Food storage and take-out

 “This program will save thousands of pounds of #5 plastic from being sent to landfills. We’re thrilled to join this program and to empower our customers to increase their recycling efforts,” says Jeremiah McElwee, senior Whole Body coordinator for Whole Foods Market.

Since 2000, Stonyfield has provided millions of yogurt cups and scrap plastic from its manufacturing facility and consumers to Preserve to help minimize their waste and create new products.

“Our long association with Preserve has been beneficial in so many ways,” says Stonyfield Farm President and CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg. “Not only does it give new life to our cups and excess plastic, it also serves to remind our consumers of the need to ‘reduce-reuse-recycle,’ all of which are key to minimizing our impact on the planet.”

At Whole Foods locations and through Preserve, you can also recycle Brita water pitcher filters, which are also made of plastic #5.

Feature image credit: Lisa S. / Shutterstock

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  2. Thanks for the article.
    For those of us who have basic recycling resources through local waste management, how do we recycle #6 and styrofoam? For those leaders in the recycling community, what do with do with all this stuff that can be recycled but we don’t know where to take it? It’s a an issue for those of us who are trying to change our lifestyles, especially to teach our children, because it takes an entire room to store these recyclable items. This is precious living space; and without a place to take some of plastic, I’m not sure what to do.

    Thank you.

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  5. Thank goodness for this information. I have been looking for way to long for a place to send these. I can drive my HUGE STASH about 35 miles or so to a store I have never been it. GREAT NEWS!

    Maybe I can collect for my neighborhood and make a trip monthly, can you also do that?

    I hope we can all work together on this, HURRAY for Whole Foods!

    Smiles, Cyndi

  6. Well, I just called the Only Whole Foods Store in the Birmingham, AL area and they do NOT Participate.
    I am sure glad I called before I collected my Stash and drove over there, SO, Now what do I do. I thinkif they are going to say they collect them , then all Whole Food Stores should participate in the program. If they are going to say they work with Earth 911 to help the planet and then do not do what they say! Then they are lying!

    Should they get away with this. NO!
    Now, I am more frustrated than before! FURIOUS I AM!


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