The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Ohio Province has responded to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ Action Platform by creating the Dorothy Stang Initiative for Laudato Si’ Action. While in the process of gathering data from sisters, associates, staff, donors and others in our circle, we were reminded that all steps we take are important - both big and small. We therefore introduce Your Little Bit of Good, a short weekly one-pager that focuses on some aspect of the environment. It is an attempt to bring forward small things we can do.
Director of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation
As we begin Plastic Free July, I offer a prayer for water. Our waterways are clogged with plastic. It floats in our rivers and oceans. Beaches are clogged with tons of it. If, every time we used it, we thought where it might end up, maybe it will help us to commit to going plastic free.
Dearest God, You have given us the life-sustaining gift of water, and placed upon us the responsibility for protecting it. Please, Lord, awaken the conscience of our lawmakers so that they fulfill their duty of care for the blessed waters of our land. Strengthen them to withstand the temptations and pressures of those who seek to dissuade them from pursuing the public good. Empower them to understand what science teaches about the threats facing the waters of life and to act accordingly. In all these things, make the priority for us all the preservation of clean water, for the sake of life. AMEN
(Prayer to EPA from Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith)
A few weeks ago, I asked for suggested topics for YLBG. One suggestion was to do a series to explain the differences in plastics and what is and is not recycled.
This will be the last in the “Plastic Series” for YLBG. We will look at #6, polystyrene (foam), and #7 which is simply classified as Other Plastics.
Polystyrene plastic is the foam packaging used in shipping. It is also used in disposable food containers, specifically, egg cartons, take out containers, and disposable foam cups and plates. Polystyrene leaches harmful chemicals, such as styrene, a neurotoxin. When used for food packaging, it can leach into the food that is then consumed. The World Health Organization classifies styrene as a “probably carcinogen.”
Polystyrene is not recyclable in your curbside bin. It is complex to recycle and requires special equipment. It takes 500+ years to decompose in a landfill and leaches its toxins into the land and water when left there. You can find out more about this here and here. The Other Plastics category is a catch all, and often are plastics that are a combination of materials. These are mostly not recyclable. Examples are eyeglasses, baby bottles, electronics and clear plastic cutlery.
Today is the first day of Plastic Free July. This is a global movement to help increase awareness of the harm of plastic and how we can work to make our lives as plastic free as possible. Check out their website here and join the challenge.
The action column this week has some resources for plastic free options in your life. It is always best to avoid plastics when possible. It costs a little more, at least for now. But, as Gandhi said, “We must be the change we want to see in the world.”
The best way to deal with plastic is to reduce or eliminate your use of it. Check out Say Goodbye to Plastic by Sandra Ann Harris. I’d say buy it from Amazon, but they’d probably ship it to you in a plastic shipping envelope. Check out a local book store or buy it for your e-reader.
There are many places on the web to explore. A quick Google search will give you options.
Here are a few I like:
- Beyond Plastics
- How to go Plastic Free
- My Plastic Free Life
- Zero Waste Store
- Marley’s Monsters
- Grove Collaborative
Remember: “We will have the future that consumers demand.” We will only have change if we show that we want it!