Wednesday, July 1, 2009

recycling #5 plastics

In our family we eat a lot of yogurt.  Most mornings we have a smoothie for breakfast.  We cook a lot of Indian food and use yogurt on the side either as a raita or plain to help cut the spiciness.  Sometimes we even have it as a dessert, straining it to make a Greek style yogurt, topped with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey it is a very satisfying way to end a meal.

But what to do with all of those leftover containers?  They are #5 plastics and will not be recycled by my local service.  This grade of plastic, also known as polypropylene, is found in a wide number of containers including yogurts, cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, margarine (although you should not eat this), as well as some ice cream containers.  It also includes toothbrushes, plastic plates, medicine bottles, ketchup bottles, and more.  They are even in your Brita water filter; #5 plastics are all around us.  

Now there is a way to recycle them. Preserve, a company based in Cortland, NY has a recycling program and they want your #5 plastic products. According to Preserve their recycled products us 54% less water and 75% less oil than creating virgin plastic; they also release 64% less greenhouse gases. After using the product you clean it and then deliver it to your nearest Whole Foods.  If you don't have a Whole Foods near you Preserve will accept mailed packages of #5 plastics.  This is a great way to help save the planet and to help support recycling efforts.  Although Preserve does not reimburse for mailing costs you could consider banding together with a group of friends and mailing a large amount together.  Shipments must be by ground and should be sent to:

Preserve Gimme 5 
823 NYS Rte 13 
Cortland, NY 13045

Preserve sells products made from the recycled #5's such as toothbrushes, razors, tableware and kitchenware.  And when you are done using those products they can be recycled even further into plastic lumber.  All of their products are designed to stay out of the landfill and reduce environmental impact.

Recycle your #5's it's good for the environment and that's good for everyone.

photo courtesy of

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