Jackpot! Where to recycle plastic #5

The town we live in has been recycling for six or seven years now because a marvelous Canadian swooped in and shook her head in shock. What started out as a discussion in a local pub turned into petitions, and it took a march on City Hall to turn things around. But it was worth it.

They do not, however, recycle everything….

The city won’t recycle them…..now what?

Many things the city won’t recycle, I can take on base, which is unfair since not everyone has that option. The city has, however, recently begun accepting chip board. (Cardboard other than corrugated.) I’m thrilled about that. But what about the styrofoam,  the plastic #5, #6 and the dreaded #7 they won’t take?When I ask why, it’s always the same tired saying, “There isn’t enough money in it.”

So these items hang in a red bag screaming at me every day as I step out the door. “What are you going to do with me, woman?”

Well, I can scream back to the #5’s at least!

Making my monthly pilgrimage to Whole Foods to stock up from the bulk bins, a white container caught my eye as I headed out the door. Well, I’ll be darned. Those crazy Preserve toothbrushes, again?

I smiled all the way to the car. I could empty at least half of that red bag–finally! No more sending recyclables home with the in-laws out-of-state or asking my girlfriend in Jacksonville, “So, what do they recycle down here? Could I put this in your recycling bin?”

According to their site, choosing recycled plastic as opposed to virgin plastic uses:

  • 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

(Feel free to check Preserve: Our Process to see how they come up with those numbers.)

The plastics/containers accepted in the Preserve Gimme 5 Bin:

–Take-out Containers
–Hummus Containers
–Cottage/Cream Cheese containers
–Preserve Toothbrushes
–Preserve Razor Handles
–Preserve Tableware
–Other containers stamped with the #5 recycling logo

(Separate containers specifically for recycling Brita water filters can also be found.)

Look for a store near you here! (If there isn’t a store near you, they encourage you to ship your products to their factory. They refuse, however, to pay for your shipping–but they said they are working on getting more drop-off sites up and running…)

If you live outside the U.S., what recycling options exist for plastic #5, #6 and #7’s in your are?

 More recycling articles:


19 responses to “Jackpot! Where to recycle plastic #5

  1. Thank you so much for this valuable information. I just spoke with my local Whole Foods store and will be visiting them soon with my plastic items.

  2. Yaaaay Juwannadoright! We’re saving plastic from the landfill!

  3. We are in a similar situation here in the UK, although my local area is pretty good compared to many others in terms of what it recycles.
    We have our recycling bin, which takes some but not all plastics (just plastic bottles for some reason) and also tin cans and paper.
    There have always been ‘bottle banks’ in communities to take all clear and coloured glass bottles which you drop off yourself.
    We also have a composting bin that gets collected monthly, which takes compostable garden clippings (not branches, soil and rocks etc) and vegetable / fruit kitchen scraps.
    Then our normal bin, which I have to say for us is very often not full even after the 2 weeks between collections.

    What I have never understood is why supermarkets etc are allowed to keep churning out packaging made from the plastics that don’t get recycled. Surely it isn’t beyond the wit of man to come up with some other kind of material / packaging for convenient food transportation & storage?

    • When I was a child we were “primitive”. We were the ultimate recyclers because we didn’t have the alternatives today. Milke and cream came in gas bottles. We paid a deposit on these and returned them to the store where they were purchased where they were sent back to the daily, were sterilized and reused. Diapers were made of cloth and were washed and reused who knows how many times. Fruit and vegebtables were hand selected – not pre-packaged and were put into paper bags – which my mom and grandmother re-used many times before they were discarded.

      Simpler can be better.

      • Hey, stop reading my mind, woman ;). The things you listed such are exactly what I was remembering when I wrote my comment: we got milk delivered in glass bottles, with previous day’s left on doorstep for them to take back, my mum used terry nappies on us (no Pampers in those days), some of which she still has and uses as dusters lol! All veg + fruit was bought loose, fast food came wrapped in that day’s newspaper, and meat/fish was loose in paper. Because the meat was properly hung for 21 days by the butcher it was dry and didn’t need the ‘mopping up’ napkin and plastic tray that supermarket meat uses. So weird the way things have gone since supermarket distribution came to town…

      • Glad you remember the “good old days!” And one other point – in those days we didn’t use Bovine Growth Hormones to make our cattle fatter and more milk-productive – and we didn’t irradiate our fruits and vegetables. I can’t help but wonder how that plays into all the diseases we now enjoy (and all the handy-dandy pharmaceuticals that our doctors and the drug companies are force-feeding us).

  4. @ Political shopper—I totally agree. It should be outlawed. It’s as if there is no one in charge! My dream shopping world would be to buy anything I wanted and not have to limit due to packaging. Imagine if everything were sold in compostable packaging!
    Good to hear you guys have a composting collection, even with food scraps! Lord, you are leaps and bounds ahead of us here!

    • I know what you mean! Every so often here in the uk a newspaper runs some article about ridiculously extravagant packaging somebody has found in a supermarket to name and shame lol. What, pray, is in this thrice-wrapped, vacuum sealed plastic fortress? The crown jewels? No, 6 pork sausages…

  5. In Poland every subdivision is required to have trash bins that look like that:

    There is one for plastic, one for glass and one for paper and cardboard (and there is always one – not that pretty and colorful for the rest of the trash). I have no idea if there is specific plastic only that you can throw to that bin, though. The thing is that while here in CA I see separate bins for recyclable materials and a separate bins for the rest of the trash I’ve noticed that people don’t care much about to which bin they throw their trash recycleable or not.
    In Poland though, people really care about segregating their trash and putting it to the right bin.

  6. love good news even if they have not yet reached local level..can you imagine a place where everyone picks up so-called litter? and when no one throws plastic out of truck windows? waste-aware!
    the numbers on recycling vs virgin plastics are so surprising–well worth the small effort of separating it.

  7. I should consider myself lucky, our waste mgmt folks take all of it. All we need to worry about make sure we separate glass from paper goods. and we are good to go; we have two bins so it is easy enough.

  8. Fabulous post! You should check with your local newspapers about them publishing this post. It’s really good info. Bravo!

  9. @ Jody–that is a key idea! Maybe someone else will find it useful. I’ll try that this week!

    @ Marcia–what a progressive city you live in! Jealous!

    @ Nadine–one step at a time. And look how many of us are taking those steps, right?! 🙂 Marching in line…

    @Politicalshopper—I don’t know why I was thinking the milk was still delivered in glass bottles in many parts of Europe. Sad to hear that pretty much everyone has crossed over to plastic. It all happened so fast!

    @juwannadoright–sometimes I feel I was born in the wrong era. But then I would be looking back, just like you. At least we are looking back, right?

  10. @ Mom Photographer—you can put in as many links as you like. They’re always helpful. I’ll always fish you out of spam! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!! 🙂

  11. I am very lucky, I live in Portland Oregon and we recycle almost everything curbside. (including food waste ) The city tries to make it easy for everyone to do. I admire your dedication to recycling and avoiding waste. I’m sure you are a role model in your community.

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