Tropical Leaves

green team initiative

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parish Lenten challenge

During Lent, let's try to eliminate as much Trash, Recycling and Green Bin contents as you can!

 

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Because of COVID, we have a chance to rethink many of our old habits. We now need to consider how what we do is affecting our community and our world.

 

Given recent events, we realize that Climate Change is getting much less attention. However, it is not going away.

 

The International Panel on Climate Change has recently released an alarming report.

The challenges are considerable, but our actions can still make a difference, and Lent is an excellent opportunity to be more thoughtful about how we treat one another, and God's Creation.

The Challenge: During Lent, try to eliminate as much Trash, Recycling and Green Bin contents as you can!

“What?” You ask horrified. “I thought these were good things.”

 

They are but...

Trash is pollution, no matter what you do with it.

 

1. Landfills release various harmful toxins into the environment.

2. The non-recyclable plastics we throw away eventually disintegrate (not rot) into microscopic pieces of plastic that end up in everything, and have even been found in remote Arctic regions. You have them in you now.

3. Plastics from Landfills end up in water (streams, lakes, oceans, etc.) These can be from shopping bags, bread bags, cellophane wraps from meat trays, or microbeads.

4. If trash isn’t dumped in a Landfill, it may be incinerated, which can also release harmful substances into the atmosphere. In addition, about 25% of the weight of trash burned ends up as toxic waste which gets sent to landfills.

5. We also send our trash to other countries (many are now refusing it). Much of the shipped trash is left in the open, or even dumped into waterways.

Recycling is better, but a lot of what we recycle ends up back in the Trash.

 

1. Paper products, cardboard, and other packaging that has food, glue, laminate or other contaminants cannot be recycled. Paper with coffee/tea stains can pollute a bale of recycling which must then be sent to the trash.

 

2. The success of recycling efforts also depends on having buyers for the product (plastic bottles, etc.). If there is no market… You get the idea.

 

3. Approximately 86% of plastic ends up in the trash. 9% gets recycled and the rest gets incinerated. (Oceana, June 22, 2021)

Green Bins are probably the best we have going.

 

1. Composting food scraps and other organic material (including shredded paper and food-soiled cardboard) keeps these materials out of our landfills.

 

2. Compositing creates “new” soil that improves the strength and natural fertilization of the soil.

Now that we’ve creeped you out, here’s the good news: there are some other things we can do to improve the situation.

 

Remember, every little bit helps.

Try eliminating the plastic scrubbers in your house. You know, the puffy things you get at the $ store? Soak the dish a bit, or use a dish brush or a fingernail brush.

Plan your meals so that you have just enough. If you want to cook less often, cook enough for a second meal and freeze it. Divide it in half before the meal. It’s better to clean the plate than scrape the plate.

Have meals where everyone gets something different because you’re cleaning out the fridge.

When you can, buy in bulk using your own containers. The Bulk Barn is again allowing you to fill your own containers. (I checked!)


There are also "refillers" in Aurora (Replenish is at Yonge/Wellington) and Newmarket (Earth Market Store, Bayview/Mulock), where you can buy many personal and household items in bulk.

Buying in bulk means you also get the option of buying small amounts of things like spices. You only buy what you need.

Use up the food you have. Dig out the old cookbooks and find things like Bread Pudding that will use up the bread you know will go bad soon. Also, check the back of your freezer often. (2016? Yup, I found one!)

Got old clothing that can’t be reused? Cut them up into rags. Now you don’t need paper towels! If you want to get fancy you can sew the edges of the cloth. The important fact is they are washable.

Explore the hidden talents and treasures of your friends and neighbours. Why should the guy next door buy a ladder when you can lend him yours? Do you have a friend who is a great seamstress and would love to alter or mend clothing in exchange for something she wants?

Use glass bottles to store things instead of plastic. Canning jars are great and come in all sizes. They are washable and reusable. Best of all, you can actually see what is in them!

If you have any ideas you could share, please email them to us. We’ll see they get passed around.

And one last thing. Don’t go hog wild and get rid of all your plastic scrubbers, plastic containers etc. Changes like that don’t last. Work into it gradually. Use what you have until it can no longer be used. Then replace it with something new and better for the environment!

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