It is easy to think that a church does not use much energy or produce much waste considering they are generally not filled with people or functioning every day. However, most churches do have a lot of paper waste and usually have room for improvement to go green. There are many small changes that will make a big difference, as well as some larger changes that will benefit both the environment and the church itself.
An obvious step a church can take is to recycle. They print many church program covers
, Sunday school worksheets, sign-up sheets, prayer request forms, and many other informative papers. The paper used for these prints can be recycled, and many people overlook the fact that ink toners and ink cartridges used to print these papers can also be recycled. Church program covers can also be reused by the church if the members return them the following week. It is also possible to buy recycled ink toner and cartridges, as well as religious bulletins that are made of recycled materials. And instead of each member filing out a prayer request form and handing it in as needed, the church can provide a time to verbally make these announcements. This will not only save paper, it will allow the members to elaborate on the request and could bring the members closer.
Another important step a church can take to go green is to make responsible electrical choices. The church members should always be sure to turn off and unplug all electrical systems (such as microphones, stereos, lights, etc.) when they are not being used. Also making the switch to energy efficient light bulbs is always a great choice for those going green.
Similarly, some bigger choices a church can make to go green are to update appliances, and if at all possible change their source of energy. Making the change to low flow toilets can drastically lower water usage from the church. Switching to more updated energy efficient heating and cooling appliances is a great step for a church and the environment. And even better yet, the church could use solar energy by installing solar panels. These major changes can be expensive, so this is something the church could discuss with its members and hold fundraisers/donations while promoting the going green lifestyle.
When churches have gatherings such as dinners, parties, or bible studies, they often use plastic cutlery, cups and plates. This can be extremely wasteful even if the items are recycled. Instead, the churches could ask that the members bring their own dishes, or buy a permanent set for the church. Also, the church could replace their disposable communion cups with permanent glass cups.
Every small change makes a difference. Not only will taking these actions help the environment, they can save the church a substantial amount of money. Informing the church members and getting them involved with the green lifestyle at church may stay with them in their home and work lives, and possibly encourage them to make green choices outside of church.