A limited nationwide program to collect and recycle polypropylene food containers is under way at 65 Whole Foods Market locations in 13 states, spearheaded by Recycline Inc., which makes its consumer products out of 100 percent recycled PP.
The Preserve Gimme 5 program, which began Jan. 27, is the brand name for Waltham, Mass.-based Recycline's products, which include toothbrushes, razors, food storage containers, tableware, mixing bowls and colanders.
The program is thought to be the first wide-scale PP food container recycling involving a major supermarket chain in the U.S. The other partners in the program are organic yogurt manufacturer Stonyfield Farms in Londonderry, N.H., and the Organic Valley Family of Farms, a cooperative of 1,200 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province.
The in-store recycling program expands a previous mail-back program started by Recycline. Under that program, consumers use postage-paid, prepaid mailers to return used toothbrushes, tongue cleaners and razors to Recycline. Those products are recycled into plastic lumber and decking products.
Consumers can also mail back used PP food containers to Recycline via ground shipping and at their own cost as long as the packages do not weigh more than 50 pounds.
Stonyfield said it has sent 3 million to 6 million yogurt cups to Recycline since the firms first partnered in 2000. The cups are recycled into raw material for Recycline products.
Recycline estimates its recycling and collection efforts will keep 1 million pounds of PP out of landfills in 2009.
Information on mailing products to Recycline and a list of participating stores can be found at www.preserveproducts.com.
The members-only Park Slope Food Coop in New York also participates in Preserve Gimme 5.