An End to Waste
Let us pray for an end to the waste and desecration of God's creation, for access to the fruits of creation to be shared equally among all people, and for communities and nations to find sustenance in the fruits of the earth and the water God has given us.
Almighty God, you created the world and gave it into our care so that, in obedience to you, we might serve all people. Inspire us to use the riches of creation with wisdom, and to ensure that their blessings are shared by all; that, trusting in your bounty, all people may be empowered to seek freedom from poverty, famine, and oppression.
From Xavier University’s Environmental and Sustainability Prayers.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” No truer words… This YLBG is a response to one of the informational items on our Earth Day table: false solutions to the plastics problem. This is the second in this YLBG series! This week let’s talk about the so-called solution of compostable or bio-plastic. When it was first introduced, there was a lot of excitement about these products. I know I purchased my fair share. But this is simply an example of “greenwashing”. There are a few types of compostable plastic.
BioDEGRADABLE plastic is simply plastic formulated to break into micro and nano-plastics. It’s still plastic. We just can’t see it anymore.
Plant-based bio-plastic is usually made from corn, sugar cane, or cellulose. The production of this material creates more greenhouse gas than regular plastic, so in that alone, it is contributing to climate change. In addition, if bio-plastic were to become more widely adopted, it would require 5% of arable land to produce the raw material, leading to higher food prices. Bio-plastic still requires many of the same toxic chemicals as fossil fuel-based plastic. When it contaminates the recycling stream or is thrown into the trash, as often happens, it still releases those toxins when burned. Compostable bio-plastics can be broken down by microorganisms, but this process requires specific conditions to actually compost. There are few municipal plants that have the ability to compost them correctly.
If this next comment surprises you, you have not been paying attention. I know I sound like a broken record! We must eliminate plastic wherever possible, and we can start with the items that we use for convenience. Less plastic means less plastic pollution. It is really that simple.
For more information on degradable, compostable and plant-based plastics, you can read a report from Columbia University Climate School . Alternatives to plastic are pretty simple. Real dishware and cutlery. You can follow these tips for a No Waste Party.