by Sue Carson
As a society we have become totally dependent on plastics in every aspect of our lives.
The time has come to wean ourselves off this material wreaking havoc in our environment.
Recently I saw a report stating the people of the United States throw away 600 million plastic straws a day. That’s two per person! Human beings around the world continue to purchase a million water bottles every minute. This amount of debris is unsustainable. The impact on our environment and wildlife is too much already and certainly will be devastating for future generations unless we turn it around.
Thankfully, the Diocese of Niagara has taken up the cause of reducing single-use plastics. The motion passed at Synod in November 2019, to ban single use plastics by 2022, has set the tone for the Vestry Motions currently being passed in parishes across the Diocese to do the same.
Deirdre Pike, the Justice and Outreach Program Consultant, is collecting the names of parishes in which the motion passes so please be sure to let her know about yours at [email protected]. This information will be passed on to Greening Niagara and communicated to Bishop Susan and the Synod council. So far there are about 10 parishes who that have passed the motion, including one who had done it already before Synod!
Perhaps this year there was not time for your parish to prepare for passing such a motion. Could you consider this an option for vestry 2021? Our Greening Niagara committee is compiling ideas and web sites that might be useful in helping parishes find alternatives to single-use or disposable plastics.
This is a useful web site to help you get started at home and in the parish: myplasticfreelife.com/plasticfreeguide/
A few early ideas to get you started:
- Buy frozen juice cans rather than juice in plastic bottles. The cardboard and metal lids can be both be recycled in the blue bin.
- Serve milk in jugs and butter on plates, rather than using single serving containers.
- If you buy fruit in green plastic baskets, return these to farmers’ markets
- Buy eggs in cardboard cartons, not plastic.
- Buy cleaning materials in bulk and decant into re-used spray bottles.
Thank you for working on this important environmental disaster. As you start to make these important changes in your parish and home life, remember that every plastic bottle you throw out that isn’t properly recycled will still be around in 450 years. One final bit of food for thought – those single use Styrofoam cups that aren’t recyclable won’t be degraded for another 50 years.
I am willing to share your good ideas, web sites and local vendors who sell cardboard alternatives so please contact me with these. Remember – not every piece of plastic will be gone overnight we have two years to seriously work on this issue and get it right, so don’t give up!
Sue Carson is Chair of Greening Niagara