Need a place to recycle #5 plastics? We found a solution in Homewood called Find Your Fives

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Learn about the Find Your Fives in Homewood. Photo courtesy of Mollie Erickson

Do you eat yogurt? Use kitty litter in those big plastic jugs? Or how about plastic drinking straws or ketchup bottles? Doesn’t it drive you crazy and a little mad to throw away this stuff?

It sure upsets me.

Unfortunately, if you are an avid recycler in Birmingham or the surrounding communities #5 plastics – yep those yogurt containers are not accepted –  recycled – at any of the curbside recycling programs in town…. Until now.

Find Your Fives

Thanks to Homewood resident Mollie Erickson, and her Find Your Fives project,  you can recycle #5 plastics every THIRD Tuesdays behind the Homewood Parks and Rec –  facing Manhattan Street. 

That means you still have time to recycle your #5s today, August 18th until early in the morning on the 19th (Mollie told us they will pick up until 8:00am on the 19th). If you missed out this month, get a jump on September and start storing your #5s.

Learn about the Find Your Fives in Homewood. Photo courtesy of Mollie Erickson

Recycling #5s is just one of the many kinds of recycling and waste reduction ideas Mollie wants to implement in her community and neighborhoods around the Magic City.  

“It’s the first step. I have like 79,000 other ideas. This is the first one we can put into a quick soundbite, get people helping right away, and increase awareness within your own home.”

Where Will the Recyclables Go?

So, if the companies that do curbside recycling are not taking #5s, where is Mollie and her Find Your Five folks sending the materials?  

Here is your answer: The group is working with a Birmingham start-up called Neowaste.  In a nutshell, Neowaste is in the pilot stage (trying it out) of shredding #5’s and turning the flakes into fuel for Sunoco, another local fuel company.

To learn more about the innovative technology Neowaste is using, check out the story Bham Now published about the startup last year.  

In addition, another small portion of the #5’s will be reused with Community on the Rise (COTRise), a non-profit in downtown Birmingham. COTRise works with those experiencing homelessness to build relationships, partner in a life plan for safe housing, etc. as well as offer an economic initiative by employing to shred and remelt single-use plastic.

Can I Recycle #5 Plastics in My Neighborhood – YES!

Now, the most important news –  Mollie wants to expand the Find Your Fives project beyond Homewood. She has already been contacted by neighborhoods in Hoover.

By teaming up with Neowaste, she is ready to help expand the collection of #5 plastics beyond Homewood.  

If you have an interest in working with her on this project contact Mollie at imollie@gmail.com 

A Movement

Join the Find the Fives movement. 

Homewood City Councilor Jennifer Andress summed up Mollie’s efforts. 

“Mollie Erickson knows how to raise awareness and solve a problem. She single handedly has created a program. It is spreading to the city of Hoover as a result.  When we do find a solution, which we are very close to, it is going to be because of her work.”

  • Pat Byington

    Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama’s Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama’s cancer risk and mercury standards.



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