In New York City, the only plastics they recycle are #1 and #2. The rest = landfill. Recycling's a pain. I realize this. Ideally, municipalities would make it easier to recycle, so you could throw your soda can or water bottle* in the trash and it would end up recycled**, not in a landfill.
There is an alternative: Gimme 5, from the folks at Preserve.
Granted, you still have to collect your #5 plastics and bring them somewhere else (in this instance, Whole Foods), but at least you won't have that stomach-turning feeling when you throw a #5 yogurt container in the trash. You can also recycle the Brita filters you are using to filter the water you're pouring into your reusable bottles (see below).
More tips for hard-to-recycle items coming soon!
* Actually, I would recommend not drinking bottled water in the first place - it's a scam! Get yourself a reusable bottle from Sigg or Klean Kanteen. If you have multiples, you can fill them in advance, leave them in your fridge, and save yourself some money on your energy bill (not to mention the money you are saving on bottled water).
** I also realize that very few things are actually recycled, but rather are only downcycled: that #1 Poland Spring bottle doesn't become a new water bottle, it becomes some weird carpet or parking lot barrier. It's still going to end up in the landfill eventually, leaching toxins into the ground and water table. Ironic, isn't it? how the bottle of water you drink today because it's "pure" will poison your water tomorrow?
[Landfill photo by D'Arcy Norman]