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eco-friendly food storageThe Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids’ Care of Creation Committee continues to invite us to a challenge ourselves to commit to using less disposable plastic and to reduce single-use plastic. With these actions, we join many communities connected with the Catholic Climate Covenant who throughout the summer are encouraging Catholic communities to engage in projects to save the planet from more plastic.

Throughout the summer, we will present ideas on how we personally and, as a community, can reduce our one-time usage of plastics.

Last month we began with ideas about plastics and meals. Sunday, July 8, we started paying attention to our use of plastic bags – grocery, food storage, garbage cans, etc.

Story boards and fact sheets are available in Dominican Center or the Dominican Chapel/Marywood lobby with reasons to act, ideas on how to act, and hopeful successes.

About every three weeks we will select another area of concern that we can Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Refuse.

Personal Challenge 1: Stop using plastic forks, knives, spoons. 
Did you know? … People all over the world are using plastic forks, not knowing the harm that they cause. Six (6) million tons of non durable plastics like forks, spoons and knives get thrown away every year — harming marine life, introducing harmful toxins into the fish that we eat, and polluting the world’s beaches. more

Personal Challenge 2: Stop using plastic bags.
Did you know?… Global consumption of plastic bags is around 500 billion, which end up in landfills and oceans worldwide each year. Many counties in the United States and countries in the world have plastic bag bans? But there is no action on the federal level in the U.S. s to establish laws to help reduce plastic use and waste. The U.S. uses 12 million barrels of oil every year to meet plastic bag demand and every year 100 billion plastic bags are discarded. Conversely, in 2008, South Australia introduced a total ban of lightweight plastic bags; as a result, it’s estimated that 400 million bags are removed from the waste stream each year. (Source: Data compiled by the 2018 International Summit on Plastic)

Personal Challenge 3: Stop using single-use straws, stirrers, plastic wrap, and plastic containers in your kitchen.
Did you know? … Environmentalists estimate Americans use 500 million straws each day. Only about 5% of the plastic that users toss into recycling bins for curbside or offsite pick-up ever makes it into the recycling stream. Bags never break down or degrade – they break up into tiny pieces and end up in our oceans and waterways killing our wildlife. In other countries, taxes and bans on plastics have been proven to reduce plastic waste. Consider smart, eco-friendly ideas for storing food in your kitchen.

We welcome feedback and other ideas which we will compile and send to the Catholic Climate Covenant who will proclaim the national Catholic effort to save the planet. The progress of these endeavors will be collected during the Seasons of Creation (Sept.1 to Oct. 4 – Feast of St. Francis). On that feast day, CCC will report the data and let the world know what the U.S. Catholic community is doing to reduce our throwaway culture and plastic pollution.

Personal Challenge 4: Stop buying and drinking from single-use plastic water bottles.
Did you know? … In the United States, people throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year.

For more information, contact Brigid Clingman, OP