Aiming to be Styrofoam-free
Of all the green efforts that a church might undertake, reducing the use of styrofoam cups, plates and take-out clamshells is among the hardest. They represent freedom from dishwashing, so there is an emotional aspect to their use. Choosing not to use them requires everyone - not just women - to agree to manage the dishwashing required.
But environmentally, they are a disaster. They account for 30% of all landfills, do not biodegrade and just break down into bits that damage wildlife and enter human drinking water systems. That's why we're encouraging NIC congregations to reduce their use of styrofoam, recycling as much as possible, with the ultimate goal of eventually using none.
Aiming to be Styrofoam-free is an evangelistic issue too, though. Not using it says "We care about the world!"
Victoria Biel shares this comment by "a real person, a former UMW member, and barely attending younger UM":
"I would never trust my spirit, or soul with a church that polluted the environment in such a way. Don't they care about our planet at all? Styrofoam is horrible!".
"This is what we show the world when we make these initially cheap seeming choices," Victoria says. "We tell that generation, that not only do their passions, beliefs, and input not matter, but that the church is an irresponsible institution, that doesn't really mind killing the planet by one coffee cup at a time."