Each Canadian produces, on average, 1.5 tonnes of waste each year. And how much waste does each Christian in Canada produce? Theoretically, the faithful should produce less trash, since they praise the Lord for all the gifts of Creation and they don't want to waste any. We shouldn't forget how Jesus gathered the left-over loaves into twelve baskets full (John 6:13), or how the stone the builders rejected became the cornerstone (Mark 12:10).
What can your faith community do to create less waste? Here are a few tips to help you reduce, re-use and recycle.
- The best way to recycle trash is not to produce any! So for church purchases, you always have to ask yourselves: "Do we really need it?"
- Replace as many disposables (ex.: styrofoam cups) with re-usable solutions (ex.: ceramic cups). You cann even buy "Green Church" mugs in our boutique.
- Encourage bulk purchasing whenever possible to reduce the exaggerated quantity of packaging around the products. Plus, buying in bulk is usually cheaper.
- Organize an annual bazaar, that way all those gently-used objects don't go into a landfill!
- Build a partnership with a secondhand clothing-shop so your clothes can have a second life!
- Find a way to honour the kind person who repairs things regularly at the church. That volunteer avoids lots of waste and helps the church save money. Things are used and re-used longer.
- Place recycling bins in each room and office. They must be accessible !
- If you rent out rooms like the church hall, add a recycling tax: clearly include in the rental agreement that if they don't recycle they will pay a 50$ tax.
- Some churches will have trouble getting their recycling collected by the city. To resolve this problem, be nice to the city councillor of your district and present a petition signed by the members of your community asking that the church be included as a stop on the circuit of the recycling trucks.
- Recycle ink cartridges and cell phones at the church, and then call Think Recycle when a few boxes are full to come and get them. The funds collected help this organization to buy trees for reforestation.
- If your church uses individual communion cups for the Lord's Supper, you could recycle plastic cups in one of two ways: by washing and reusing, or at least by putting them in the recycling bin.
Hazardous Household Waste
- Collect used batteries in a container at the entrance of your church.Then, bring your batteries in a store identified as a "collection location" by the organization Call to recycle. Use the interactive map to find the collection location near you.
- You can download the poster "Battery Recycling with ENERGY" in the Posters.
- Help the members of your faith community to get rid of their hazardous Household Waste (HHW, like used oil, paint, aerosols cans, etc.) by parking a trailer in front of the church for that one day in the year when the city collects HHW. Then, a volunteer drives the trailer to the collection point on behalf of the whole faith community.
- Certain churches make a part of their property available for composting. When the compost is ready, you can sell it and raise funds for your green team. Imagine selling "Garden of Eden: soil & fertilizer".
- Composters come in various shapes and sizes. As you read on the subject, you will find the information needed to build your own compost bin, or you could also buy one in an ecoshop or a renovation centre.
- Essentials on how to compost are presented in this Handy Guide to Home Composting.
- Display a chart in the church kitchen and near the composter to insure that the right kind of waste is deposited in the bin. A very useful chart can be downloaded in the Posters.
From the forest
- Choose forestry products (wood and paper) that have FSC certification which insures the product is composed of materials that come from a sustainable extraction of trees.