What actually happens to those hummus, butter, and yogurt containers (# 5 plastics)? Most recycling centers won’t take them, and the ones that do, often bale them with the rest of the #3-7 plastics and sell them to the highest bidder. Many times, these markets are overseas, creating a huge carbon foot print just to get it there, not to mention that once there, these materials are sometimes burned as fuel, releasing toxic chemicals into the air.
So what can you do to redirect these plastics?
In 2009 Whole Foods Market partnered with ‘Preserve Gimme 5’, a sole sourced #5 recycling center that creates new and exciting opportunities for these plastics! Gimme 5 takes your clean butter, margarine, yogurt, hummus, cream cheese and other stamped #5 plastics and turns them into toothbrushes (which I personally use), razors, plates, bowls, cutting boards and food containers! These products end up right back on Whole Food’s shelves creating a reuse and recycling closed loop process.
Gimme 5 estimates that by using Preserve plastics this process conserves:
- At least 54% less water than virgin polypropylene
- At least 64% less greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than virgin polypropylene
- At least 75% less oil than virgin polypropylene
- At least 48% less coal than virgin polypropylene
- At least 77% less natural gas than virgin polypropylene
- At least 46% less electricity than virgin polypropylene
Most Whole Foods have a special bin for our customers to drop off their clean #5 plastics. What if you don’t live near a Whole Foods? Go to www.preserveproducts.com and find out how you can contribute. Get teeth clean and go green with Gimme 5!
About the Author
Originally from Chicago, Jade has moved all over the U.S. and world, living in South Carolina, Tennessee, California, Canada, Israel and finally Boulder, CO! She graduated from College of Charleston with a B.S. in Psychology with a focus in Animal Behavior. Formally a dolphin trainer and snowboard instructor, Jade started her career at Whole Foods a year ago and is now working as produce supervisor and Green Mission representative at the Ideal Market location!
“Living sustainably comes in steps, and each step is as important as the next. We must eco-evolve to survive and to sustain this beautiful planet. We have to change our thinking and work together to lessen our impact one step at a time!”