June 7, 2009

Let's Talk # 5 (Polypropylene)

New York City's curbside recycling program accepts plastic bottles and jugs labelled on the bottom, inside the little recycling symbol, as plastics #1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE).  According to the City's website, 90 percent of plastic bottles and jugs are made of the plastic resins that are either #1 or #2.  So that's good news for most of the containers that hold drinks and other common household products like dishwashing liquid and detergent.

But it leaves us with a mountain of other containers, like those usually used for yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta, some ice creams (hmmmm, dairy much?!), hummus, and take-out and microwaveable containers.  And medicine bottles.  Many of those are made of polypropylene, labeled a #5 plastic, which the City does not accept for recycling. What to do, then, with those?

The fantastic news is that a company named Preserve has partnered with Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farms to undertake its own private effort to keep these #5 plastics out of landfills:  you can drop off #5 containers at designated Whole Foods stores (I confirmed with the Columbus Circle location), which will send them to Preserve, which in turn makes them into other things like razors and mixing bowls.   Learn more at http://earth911.com/plastic/

OR, you can avoid #5 altogether by making your own yogurt, like we did this weekend (inspired by my mother!).  But that is another story.


  1. This is SO AWESOME!!!! I saw the link on your email Daniela and had to check it out. I am so impressed. Have you been to the farmers market on 97th street? Friday mornings. It is pretty good. Not as extensive as the Union Square one, but maybe a little closer to home... I am curious about the homemade yogurt. Been interested in trying it for a while. How did it turn out?

  2. Thanks so much Alex -- this experiment is turning out to be fun. Here is how we made the yogurt - active prep time is ... 30 seconds! Good luck!