Love the natural environment? How recycling bottles, reducing waste and returning bottles is more than reducing your eco-guilt.

Way back when, in the last century, I was an environmental science-type dude. Long before I was a balding surf instructor, a husband, a dad or a vicar I was officially a tree hugger. I never quite got around to padlocking myself to a digger or staging a sit-in protest on behalf of the greater crested newt population, but that was only because there wasn’t a digger or a newt to hand. Or to put it another, if you haven’t noticed, I’m a little bit green in my politics, my theology and my lifestyle.

Which is a roundabout way of introducing this post, something that was an off-the top of my head email a few hours ago which a couple of friends have already asked to re-post, and so I thought I’d put it out here… read, respond, ignore, or continue as you were…

Image result for plastic bottle on beach

There are many, many things that we see or read about in our world that bring us great sadness, and there is often the question ‘what can I do about it?’ As Christian’s we’re always faced by the big and the small scale of things- we pray for peace in the world and in our own hearts; we try to show grace and mercy to those we meet; we rejoice when we see that same behaviour mirrored in our governments and lament where it is not. But we often feel that our actions are insignificant, and that can paralyse us.
Ok, then here’s a little thing, that may be a part of a bigger thing- plastic bottles and cups. I’m old enough (just) to remember the 5p deposit return on glass lemonade bottles, which disappeared when cheap plastic bottles supplanted them. The problem now is that we’re literally being swamped with plastic, particularly in our seas, and as an island nation, many of us will see this impact on the places we live and love.
And the type of plastic we’re being swamped with is easy to re-cycle plastic bottles, so we can actually do something about this-
1- personally recycle as much plastic as you can (check your local recycling centre for whether they’ll take food waste etc, most will take more than you imagine)
2- maybe we could use less plastic? Try to cut out some, if not all, of the plastic you use in your life, whether than’s bottles of water (re-use one!), food wrapping (is it needed or just convenient?) or plastic bags (most of us now use re-usable shopping bags- see how easy that was to change?)
3- and this is the retro/forward thinking one- join the campaign for deposit return scheme on plastic bottles- https://www.sas.org.uk/messageinabottle/ is one place you can sign up. The scheme would turn waste into a resource at no tax cost or end user cost. At the moment 250 thousand people in the UK have signed this petition, and already in other countries over 150 million people are making use of this scheme, so why shouldn’t we? Is your MP supporting this?
4- this might just be the starting point for you, and your church- folk at A Rocha have put together a scheme to help churches turn good intentions into solid actions- its called Eco Church and you can find it here https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk/
I know, recycling’s not glamorous, it’s not bringing peace in a warzone or praying for healing; but if we, as Christians, believe that the natural world expresses the love of God, then taking action to protect it is one way that we show God our love and appreciation for the gift of Creation.
Please share, forward, sign up yourself, or get back to me with any questions.
And just while I was looking for the image for this post, I came across this article from the Guardian website, which offers some hope and a challenge- why aren’t we refilling our plastic bottles? Retailers and producers will only do these things if consumers as well as governments give them encouragement and pressure in the right direction.. it really is up to us.
And if you’ve been wondering why there’ve not been more posts in the last couple of weeks, it’s not your computer, it’s my life…
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