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.

Teresa Phillips
Director of Justice, Peace and Care for Creation

Prayer

Living God,
where there is waste,
let us bring recycling,
where there is recycling,
let us bring reuse,
where there is reuse,
let us bring sustainability,
where there is sustainability,
let us bring justice,
where there is justice,
let us bring love.

- John Polhill

“Without God, we can’t.
Without us, God won’t.”

- Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu

Knowledge

De-Plasticify! I think I just made up a word.

As follow-up to the YLBG Plastics Series, someone suggested I discuss the alternatives and the process of ridding plastics from your home.

Sounds like another series is in order. Let’s start in the kitchen. Make changes as budget allows.

The most obvious and easiest change is around water. No one needs to buy single use disposable plastic water bottles. Yet, 500 billion are used every year. And less than 10% are ever recycled. This statistic blows my mind. Have you ever seen the movie Wall-e? I thought of that movie when I read this statistic. How long before we are covered in them? 500,000,000,000 water bottles a year.

Use a reusable water bottle, preferably metal. If you need quick grab-and-go water, fill small reusable bottles from a water filter and keep in the fridge. If you know family members will not bring them home, buy water in cans or boxes. This is also a good alternative for large gatherings.

This goes for juice and other drinks too.

Some other items to consider in your kitchen are plastic zipper bags, throwaway storage containers, paper towels wrapped in plastic, trash bags, and plastic containers for dishwasher detergent and dish liquid.

The key is to reduce in as many ways as you can. See the action section for alternatives to many of these items.

One last point, the worst plastic in your kitchen is cling wrap. It is not recyclable. It blows easily into our waterways and when sitting in a dump, or floating in the ocean, it leaches destructive chemicals

Action

There are many options for your plastic free kitchen.

For zipper bags and throwaway plastic containers, consider glass storage options. For those times when only a zipper bag will do, at least wash and reuse them. You can recycle them at the plastic bag drop in the grocery store. Clean, dry, remove zip. Instead of cling wrap, check out wax paper bags and reusable beeswax wraps. If you can afford it, plant based trash bags are available too.

Ditch the paper towels and try Unpaper Towels from Marley

For cleaning dishes, I like these options from Grove Collaborative. You can use a dish soap bar or liquid soap. Bonus – this company has committed to going completely plastic free by 2025. For the dishwasher, simply buy the powered option in a cardboard box.