Preserve, in addition to manufacturing household products using recycled plastic, also has worked to increase recycling by consumers through its Gimme 5 information campaign. By joining with the packaging firm, Preserve is looking to spread the word to consumers, industrial users and beyond about the importance of recycling.
Eric Hudson, founder and CEO of Preserve, said partnering with a large-scale provider of plastic packaging makes sense to further its sustainability goals.
“As one of the largest purchasers of polypropylene in the United States, their ground-breaking sponsorship will highlight Gimme 5's innovative efforts to recycle No. 5 plastics,” Hudson said.
Polypropylene commonly is used for yogurt cups, butter tubs, drink containers and other consumer goods. By reaching out to consumers and working to increase recycling rates, Preserve will have expanded access to material to use to create its products.
Preserve’s Gimme 5 is a consumer-focused program aimed at creating expanded recycling options for polypropylene packaging. Parties participating in the program have two possible ways to participate: they can take their No. 5 plastic to specified recycling bins at participating retail locations, or they can send it via mail to Preserve, where it is tested, then processed into new products.
Boosting recycling rates
According to Berry Plastics chairman/CEO Jon Rich, recycling rates of polypropylene and other plastics have increased, but more can be done.
“The avenues available for recycling polypropylene have steadily increased through recent years, with more than 62% of Americans now having access to at least one such alternative,” he said. “Even though recycling venues have increased, we believe it is prudent to do our part to encourage recycling and to promote the available recycling avenues.”
In addition to Berry Plastics, the Gimme 5 effort gets support from a number of retail food manufacturers and other commercial product makers, such as yogurt company Stonyfield, water filter firm Brita, and personal care brand Burt’s Bees. The effort supports a closed-loop recycling system, in which recyclable packages can be collected and manufactured into new packaging and products.
Since the program began, Gimme 5 participants have dropped off more than 250 tons of recycled yogurt cups, butter and cottage cheese containers and other polypropylene plastic packages at nearly 250 Whole Foods Market stores and select independent cooperative markets across the U.S.