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For a few years, I collected dead batteries. In a plastic container. Without a lid. On my kitchen countertop. Not very smart.
I knew I wasn’t supposed to throw the batteries out — they house all sorts of harmful heavy metals — but I didn’t know what to do with them, exactly. Hide them under my sink? Repurpose them as earrings and sell them on Etsy?
Things changed a few months ago when I noticed the specially marked bins at my local Whole Foods Market store in Austin, Texas and realized that the store would accept my batteries for recycling. The next week, I brought a dozen or so in, deposited them in the cardboard box and did a little happy dance. Finally, I had gotten rid of these blights on my culinary landscape!
Feeling relieved, I did a little more digging and discovered that Whole Foods Market recycles batteries and more as part of its Green Mission program. Green Mission is shorthand for: We’re trying to tread on Earth as gently as we can, and we’re taking measures to encourage that. Recycling is just one of those measures.
Here are a few of the things Whole Foods Market stores across the country accept and responsibly dispose of for you. The specific recycling options can vary by store due to local regulations and facilities, but in general these are available at many of our stores. Just ask any cashier or team member at a Guest Services booth to direct you to the right recycling receptacle.
Batteries: These tiny powerhouses work because they contain heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium and lithium. When batteries sit in a landfill, they break down and leak contaminants into our soil and water supply. When batteries are incinerated, that same stuff gets into the air. Drop them off with us and our partners will properly dispose of them.
Plastic bags: You might want to sit down when you hear this. The number of bags we humans use worldwide in the course of a year is (drumroll, please): one trillion. Next, consider the number of years it takes most plastic bags to break down: 1,000 years. Fun fact: recycled plastic bags often wind up in composite wood and deck furniture. Recycle those bags and better yet, bring your reusables.
Cork: The little doodads that stop up your wine bottle come from the cork forests of the Mediterranean, which span about 6.6 million acres from Italy to Tunisia. Little known is that these cork forests host a level of biodiversity topped only by the Amazon forest region. Pretty amazing!
Whole Foods Market partners with an organization called Cork Reharvest in its cork recycling effort, and it also helps Cork Rehervest preserve the cork forests of Europe.
Brita filters, yogurt cups and other #5 plastics: Add this to the list of stuff I didn’t know. Many municipalities don’t accept #5 plastics in their community recycling program. But thanks to Preserve’s Gimme 5 program you can drop off these plastics at Whole Foods Market stores. Preserve then uses the recycled material to create their toothbrushes, razors, food storage containers and more. Essentially closing the loop. Cool!
What do you recycle at your local Whole Foods Market store?
Being an adult is no fun at all — unless you can figure out how to be an adult like a kid. Worms! Homemade robots! A sweet new ride for the boardwalk! Delights abound, and there’s plenty to share.
This week’s Dark Rye episode on pivot brings you “Childhood” through the minds of some of our favorite experts in childishness. See it tonight, Wednesday April 16, on pivot network at 11:30pm ET/ 8:30pm PT. What channel is pivot on? Find pivot in your area: getpivot.tv.
This week's episode is a crash course in seeing, doing, and making stuff that’ll bring play back into even the stodgiest of untapped, adult lives:
At This Very Moment: Mike Kus is one of the most-followed non-celebrity, non-professional, non-corporate photographers on Instagram. He sees unintentional opportunity, comedy, beauty, personality, and story everywhere. “It doesn’t take much to wake up,” he says — and he shows us how. See him in action and you’ll see the world differently. Pinky swear.
Make: Mark Frauenfelder, demigod of DIY, is on a grown-up mission to reconstitute play. He and his daughters are roamers, engineers, sci-fi evangelists, curiosity-sparkers, authors, skateboard-builders, and believers in all things fantastic. Plus he’s got a sandwich guitar.
The Massachusetts Avenue Project: The Growing Green Massachusetts Avenue Project in Buffalo, NY turns wayward kids into wild urban farmers looking to change the face of food. When the ghosts of vacant lots are jury-rigged into gardens, whole communities thrive. Farm evangelist Diane Picard: “It’s all very new for them, but we get them into the worms and the mud on the first day. They look at us and say, ‘You want me to do what?’ but six weeks later, they’ll be smiling.”
Life is heady stuff, but if you approach it like play — like a kid — the opportunities for discovery, fun and adventure are endless. “It opens up the world in a different way,“ says Mark. Then he throws his sandwich guitar over a shoulder and skateboards off into the sunset. This is what it looks like to rebuild, DIY-style, the meaning of “grown-up”. Catch Dark Rye on pivot.
Dark Rye is the Whole Foods Market mixtape. An online magazine where we bring together unconventional pioneers, and it’s loud and kind of raucous — a how-to, a recipe book, a counter-convention dose of sass and entrepreneurialism. It’s now also airing Wednesdays on pivot at 11:30pm ET / 8:30pm PT.