Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 59: Find a way to recycle #5 plastic

Number 5 plastic is the bane of my eco-existence. It's not recyclable in our area, and there's only so many yogurt tubs a family needs. It's actually one of the things that drove me to start making my own yogurt. Still, though, every once in a while I'll run out of starter yogurt because I eat my whole batch. Then I have to buy a cup of Stoneyfield to get going with my homemade yogurt again.

So, I looked into donating the yogurt tubs to one of those artist craft marts (e.g. The Scrap Exchange) but they don't take food containers. I was using them in the pantry, but with my ongoing pantry re-organization project (posting soon), I've been converting over to glass since I can see it better.

What to do, what to do. Today I happened across the Preserve: Gimme 5 web site. Hallelujah! They have drop-off locations for #5 plastic (closest ones: Durham and Chapel Hill Whole Foods) AND... wait for it.... they accept your mailings. They state:
Before starting the mail-back Gimme 5 program, we wanted to make sure that we were taking a positive step for the environment. We produced a single factor Life Cycle Assessment to analyze the impact of the Gimme 5 program. The results showed the benefits of keeping #5 plastics out of landfills and remaking them into new products outweigh the environmental impacts of shipping them back to us.

They recommend that you ship via ground in order to make these calculations valid.

Today I shipped out 15 yogurt and cottage cheese tubs and their lids. Because it cost money to ship them out, I've got to code this in the "planet-only" column. But I am SO HAPPY that I finally have a solution here. Don't worry, I will not go back to consuming mass quantities of #5 plastic. But I am so glad I have a place to send them now, even the few I have!

Now, does anyone know how to make homemade cottage cheese?

Pocket: 7, Planet: 13, Win-Win: 38

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