Saturday, November 22, 2008

Exciting news for 2009: Brita recycles and Preserve takes #5 plastics for recycling

A few days ago the Take Back The Filter campaign announced its first success: beginning in January, Brita and Preserve will join forces to recycle Brita's pitcher filter cartridges. The filters can be dropped off at Whole Foods markets, or mailed to an address Brita will provide in January. So far they are only accepting pitcher filters, not refrigerator or faucet mount filters, and other large US filter manufacturers (such as Pur) don't recycle their products at all...yet.

While poking around Preserve's website, I made another exciting discovery. They aren't just recycling Brita filters! Starting in January they will take any clean plastic item made from #5 plastic for recycling. This is incredibly exciting. Many municipalities (including NYC), if they recycle plastic at all, will only accept bottles made from plastics #1 and #2. That leaves a lot of plastic out! Yogurt containers, medicine bottles, soft butter tubs, take out containers...lots of these are made from #5 plastic.
The program is called Gimme 5, and collection will also be done through Whole Foods, with a mail-in option. Please check out the website for full details!

While this news makes me very happy and excited, will it change my plastic reduction pledge? No. There is a reason why REDUCE is the first R in Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, and why recycling is last. We live in a "disposable" society, using resources that aren't disposable, on a planet that isn't replaceable. Recycling is great, but it takes a great deal of energy and resources to accomplish. Using less in the first place is the way to go.

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