Green Team Tips of the Week
Some of you may have already noticed the new recycling bins and containers in various places around the church. Saint Mark’s newly formed Recycling Committee has been at work planning and implementing a recycling program here at the church. Our green bins have been placed in classrooms and office areas and may be used to discard any paper, plastic bottles, glass or aluminum cans. The signs by the bins indicate specifically what can and cannot be recycled.
While recycling is a positive step towards caring for the earth, there are other things we can all do that have an even greater impact. In addition to thinking about how we dispose of things, we can carefully consider what and how we buy and consume. The familiar phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is stated in that order for a reason. To have the greatest impact, we should first reduce what we consume (i.e., use less), we should then reuse what we do have, and finally, when its time to dispose of something, we should make an effort to recycle if possible.
According to EPA figures from 2003, packaging and containers make up the largest portion of US Municipal Solid Waste (31.7%). The issue is not simply how to manage the waste filling up our landfills, but also the use of our natural resources, energy consumption during the production and transport of goods, and the harmful by-products left over from production and disposal processes.
What can we do in addition to recycling to be good environmental stewards? Here are some practical every day things to think about:
- How many paper cups with plastic lids and cardboard sleeves do you consume a year at Starbucks (or your favorite coffee shop)? Instead of using disposable cups, you could bring your own travel mug. Starbucks offers a cup discount if you do so.
- When you consider buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, do you take notice of where the food traveled from? It takes a lot more fuel to get a kiwi here from New Zealand than it does a Georgia peach or a Florida orange.
- When you are asked “paper or plastic” at the grocery store, there is another option. You can bring your own bag. The bags provided by the grocery stores are not single use only – you can bring them back and use them again. Whole Foods offers a bag discount if you do so.
- Have you every purchased clothes at a store that carefully wraps your purchase in sheets of tissue paper topped with a sticker and then places it in a fancy bag? Next time you could just ask the store clerk to put the item in a bag you are already carrying.
- How much copy paper do you use at work or at home? Use the back side of paper that has already been used. And, consider whether it really needs to be printed.
There are so many things we can do. As Christians, we are called to be stewards of God’s creation. A steward is defined as someone who manages and takes care of matters on someone else’s behalf. God gave us his beautiful creation not only to use but also to look after and care for. Recycling is just one small yet important action we can all take to be responsible stewards of God’s earth. We are also called to be examples and to spread God’s word. Our actions and how we live our lives speak the loudest.
We hope the new recycling bins around the church will not only encourage you to recycle, but also to think about what else you can do to be good stewards of God’s earth. Sometimes, the best way to “make your mark ” is to leave no mark at all.
From this link to the Homeowners Guide, go to the Recycling tab for a comprehansive recycling resource library.
It also has information about chemical safety, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality. This link was provided by the Oak Forest Home Owners Association Green Committee, working to benefit their own community ... as well as others.
The Remarks, October 14, 2008
Recycling batteries keeps hazardous metals out of landfills. Many stores, like RadioShack and Office Depot, accept reusable ones, as does the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation. Car batteries contain lead and can’t go in landfills, because toxic metals can leach into groundwater, but almost any retailer selling them will also collect and recycle them.
Recycling Aerosol Cans & Deodorant Contaciners
The Remarks, October 21, 2008
Aerosol cans. These can usually be recycled with other cans, as long as you pull off the plastic cap and empty the canister completely.
Antiperspirant and deodorant sticks. Many brands have a dial on the bottom that is made of a plastic polymer different from that used for the container, so your center might not be able to recycle the whole thing (look on the bottom to find out). However, Tom’s of Maine makes a deodorant stick composed solely of plastic No. 5.