Module 10 – green choices
Information and suggestions to green personal lifestyles
Lifestyle or style for life?
? Introduction 1 ? A Christian ecological lifestyle 1
Story from Callander Kirk in Perthshire 2 ? How green is my life? – calculating your environmental „footprint‟ 2
? Heating, lighting and electrical goods 3
Story from Holy Trinity Church in Cookham 4
Renewable Energy 4 ? Water 5 ? Waste: paper, glass, plastic, high-tech equipment, metal,
clothes and cloth, organic waste 6
Stories from churches 9 ? Laundry 10 ? Nappies 10
? General guidelines 13 ? Food 13
Story from Barnstaple Parish Church 13 ? Appliances 14 ? Green Guide Online 14 ? Choosing green 14
? Bank or Building Society accounts 15 ? Savings 15 ? Giving 15
Christian environmental organisations 18
End of life 21
Stories from churches 22
Further Resources 22
A directory of useful organisations 23
About Eco-Congregation 25
Module 10 – green choices
Lifestyle or style for life
The 1990s years witnessed an explosion of interest in lifestyle issues that continues
today. Make-over and consumer programmes have blossomed on television, giving
advice on every aspect of personal lifestyle from cooking, health and personal
finance to changing rooms and gardens. Together with the flourishing lifestyle
magazine market, the message broadcast is that living is about the three „c‟s:
choosing, changing and consuming.
Against this consumer-orientated approach there is a pressing need for the people in
the richer nations to change their lifestyle. Current consumption is:
1. unsustainable, because there is a limit to the resources available on earth and
the earth‟s capacity to absorb our waste products
2. devastating our environment. Scientists are virtually unanimous in this view.
For example, The Global Environment Outlook 2002 (GEO 3) report, published
by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) gives an overview of the
state of the planet, highlighting the problems caused by the wasteful and invasive
consumer society, coupled with continuing population growth, which are
threatening to destroy the resources on which human life is based.
3. out of balance, because only a small proportion of the world‟s current population
consume a large proportion of the resources and generate a large proportion of
the pollution. It is estimated that, if everyone in the world lived the lifestyle of the
average European, we would need three earths to support us all.
A Christian ecological lifestyle
Individuals can make many positive lifestyle choices to care for the environment. One
buzz phrase that is sometimes used is to „live more simply that others may simply
live‟. Jesus gave a profound understanding to simple lifestyles. When preaching the
Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that you cannot worship both God and money
(Matthew 6:24) and called people not to store up riches on earth but in heaven, for
our heart will be where our riches are (Matthew 6:19-21).
The following passage is part of the sermon preached at the service to dedicate Eco-
Congregation to God at St Paul‟s Cathedral by the Rt. Rev‟d and Rt. Hon. Richard
Chartres, the Bishop of London, whilst drawing on Matthew 6:24-30:
“Jesus Christ is meditating on anxiety and faith. Anxiety and competition inevitably
flow from a picture of the self as fulfilled by being an individual consumer of goods
and having access to a range of commodities. That is how the self is encouraged to
see itself by the propaganda which surrounds us and stimulates our cravings… By
contrast our soul is not something which just exists and whose appetites demand to
be satisfied. The soul is formed in relationship with others. The soul develops to the
extent that we are related to God the Beyond All and to his Creation...
Our profoundest motivation comes not from fear but from the gospel that we can only
express and explore together. Be not anxious for yourself what to consume or what
commodity to have next, rather pay attention to your soul which forms as we relate to
God and neighbour and which comes as a gift from Jesus Christ who has brought us
home to God.”
Module 10 – green choices Green choices are not simply about living today that others may have life tomorrow,
but more profoundly that true life is found when we seek a fulfilling relationship with
God rather than seeking fulfilment through material possessions.
This Green Choices module helps individuals to think about their personal lifestyle
and to make choices that reflect a care for the earth and respect for their neighbours
around the world. Some of these choices will save money too!
Story from Callander Kirk in Perthshire
Callander Kirk used the ideas in this module in a series of “green tips” in their
church magazine, to help their congregation practice sustainable living at home.
Their local community paper now publishes those same tips as well.
How green is my life? – Calculating your environmental footprint
Every household uses energy and water, consumes goods and services and creates
waste – but some lifestyles and households have a bigger impact on the environment
than others! Several organisations have devised simple ways to estimate your
„environmental footprint‟, i.e. the amount of space you take up on the planet.
Best Foot Forward have a very simple footprint calculator on their website at
www.bestfootforward.com/footprintlife.htm. It is easy-to-use, prompting you to input basic information about their lifestyle including travel, shopping and rubbish
generated. The programme then calculates how many planets we would need if
everyone lived like you! For a more detailed analysis try the earthday network‟s
version at www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp.
Best Foot Forward, The Future Centre, 115 Magdalen Road, Oxford, OX4 1RQ.
Tel: 01865 250818 Fax: 01865 794586 Email: email@example.com
Module 10 – green choices Greening the home
The home is a place where people can make positive changes for the environment in
a number of key areas. This Greening the home section deals with heating and
lighting, water and waste and includes suggestions for lowering a household‟s impact
on the environment. The tips are designed to lower peoples‟ impact on the environment and in many cases can lead to lower household bills too!
Heating, Lighting and Electrical Goods
Heating and lighting contribute to the comfort of homes but wasting energy damages
the environment and costs money. Approximately 25% of the carbon dioxide
produced in the UK comes from domestic heating and lighting. Carbon dioxide
emissions are a major factor leading to global warming which is causing climate
change. The effects of climate change are already starting to be visible and are likely
to get worse. They include rising sea-levels, an increase in storms and flooding in
some places and drought in others and changes in the distribution of some disease-
bearing organisms. People in Britain and Ireland contribute as much as 50 times
more to climate change than those in the poorest countries, but it is the poor who will
feel its worst effects. It is estimated that, by 2050, rising sea levels, severe weather
and crop failures could create 150 million refugees.
By undertaking energy saving and efficiency measures the average household‟s
energy bill of ?500 per year can be reduced by up to ?200 per year and help to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions too.
Action tips to save energy and prevent pollution:
? Installing at least 20cm (8 inches) ? Houses with boilers older than 15 years
depth of loft insulation can save are likely to benefit by changing to a
around 20% of heating costs more fuel-efficient model. Modern gas-
condensing boilers are particularly ? Fitting a jacket around a water efficient as they recycle some of the cylinder may cost around ?10 (DIY energy from exhaust emissions fitting) but save up to ?20 per year
? Fitting and using timer and thermostatic ? Around 35% of heat energy is lost controls can significantly reduce energy through walls that are not insulated, consumption, without loss of comfort but by installing cavity wall
insulation up to 60% of this heat ? Fitting low-energy light bulbs requires
can be saved. Installation in an an initial capital outlay, but can reduce
average house (3 bed roomed energy consumption by up to 80% and
semi-detached) costs around ?450 the bulbs can last up to 10 times
and costs can be recovered in longer, saving both money and the
savings made over about four years need to change bulbs frequently
? Up to 20% of heat can be lost by ? Taking a daily shower instead of a bath
draughts around windows, doors can save water and up to ?10 per year
and floors. Fitting draught excluders on your fuel bill
can save heat and money. It is ? Leaving electrical equipment like TVs important to ensure that and VCRs on standby uses almost as adequate ventilation is much energy as when you are maintained, particularly in rooms watching. Turning appliances off at the with gas or solid fuel fires on/off button saves this waste.
Module 10 – green choices
Some utility companies have subsidised energy saving schemes and products – check your local supply company for current offers. Additional grants are sometimes
available to install energy saving measures for those in receipt of certain benefits.
For information on energy saving measures contact:
The Energy Savings Trust, 21 Dartmouth Street, London, SW1H 9BP
Tel: 020 7222 0101, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Website: www.est.org.uk or contact your local Energy Advice Centre.
For information on Home Energy Efficiency Scheme grants contact:
Energy Action Grants Agency freephone 0800 181 667
Story from Holy Trinity Church in Cookham
When Holy Trinity Church got involved in Eco-Congregation they decided to
develop two strands of activity: one for the church as an organisation and the other
for individuals. For individuals they are using the New Internationalist‟s 20-point programme “to help you kick your global-warming, energy-guzzling habit”! A humorous and easy to follow poster shows how to embrace more environmentally
responsible lifestyle habits, providing a practical road map for individuals and families.
They challenged the congregation to audit their current habits and set themselves a
goal for the coming 6 months. Afterwards they will check performances and calculate
what contribution to reducing global warming the church has collectively made. Chris
The poster mentioned - “Slobbie Ozzie Does Detox” - can be bought from the New
Internationalist‟s online shop on their website www.newint.org or an A4 version can be downloaded for free on their webpage www.newint.org/issue357/contents.htm
Renewable or ‘Green’ Electricity
Did you know that you can choose to use only renewable or „green‟ electricity for your household needs? Renewable energy doesn‟t involve burning oil, coal or gas
and doesn‟t produce the „greenhouse gases‟ that contribute to climate change. Instead it comes from harnessing the energy in water, wind, waves, the sun etc.
Most of us are connected to the National Grid, so we can‟t choose where the
electricity that enters our home comes from. When you buy green electricity, what
happens is that you commit your supplier to purchasing at least the amount of
electricity that you use from a renewable source. The more people who sign up, the
more electricity the supplier will have to purchase from a green generator.
As with any product, there are a number of options, and some are more
environmentally-friendly than others. Eco-Congregation cannot endorse a particular
supplier. However Friends of the Earth have produced a useful league table of
suppliers together with details of prices, which can be found on their website:
Christian Ecology Link runs a climate campaign called Operation Noah and can recommend „green electricity‟ energy suppliers.
Operation Noah, 9 Nuthatch Drive, Earley, Reading, RG6 5ZZ. Tel. 01949 861516,
E-mail: email@example.com, Web: www.christian-ecology.org.uk/noah
Module 10 – green choices
The Bible includes stories that illustrate the significance of water:
? in the story of creation (Genesis 1) and the story of Jesus in the storm-tossed
boat on Galilee (Luke 8:22-25), water is portrayed as having a chaotic elemental
character, which only God can subdue
? in the story of Noah and the flood (Genesis 7-9) and the story of John the Baptist
(Mark 1:4-5), water is portrayed as a medium into which old life dies and new life
? in the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well (John 4:1-15), the
refreshment that water offers to a weary traveller is used to symbolise the
refreshment that Jesus offers to tired souls
The elemental quality of water reminds us that we can never absolutely control
creation, the cleansing quality of water symbolises the new life offered through Christ
and the drinking of water reminds us that life cannot exist without both physical and
1Facts: how much water do I use? Water used by industry
Activity Water used To produce a: Litres used
Taking a bath 80 litres Small car 450,000
Taking a shower 5 litre per min Tonne of paper 140,000
Flushing the toilet 9.5 litres Litre of petrol 70
Watering the garden up to 1000 l/hour Newspaper 9
Using a washing machine 80 litres Pint of beer 3
Using a dishwasher 35 litres
Drinking 10 litres
Average use per person per day- 130 litres 1Based on average household water use
Action Points to save water
? Fix leaking taps – one dripping at one drop per second will waste 1200 l per year!
? Turn off taps fully
? Water plants in the evening after the heat of the day (reduces evaporation)
? Have a shower rather than a bath
? Use a plug in wash basins and sinks rather than washing under a running tap
? Fit a water hippo in your toilet cistern to save 1 litre per flush (a brick will do) ? Turn of the tap whilst cleaning your teeth, or use a mug of water instead
? Install a water butt, linking it to a down pipe to collect water from a roof
? Mulch water-loving plants in the garden to save on the need for watering
? If you use a washing machine or dishwasher, reduce the frequency of running it
by always having a full load
Module 10 – green choices
For more information about water saving, contact your local water supply company. Action points to reduce pollution
? Minimise your use of phosphate based detergents and bleach (try eco-friendly
washing-up liquid, washing powder and cleaners instead)
? Minimise your use of toxic substances such as pesticides and creosote, which
might get washed into the drainage system or water system
? Safely dispose of waste oils, paints, solvents and batteries at a collection point
rather than pouring them down a drain. Some charities can use left-over paint
and some batteries can be recycled.
? Use mains electricity rather than batteries when possible, and choose re-
chargeable batteries if you need them.
For more information about the safe disposal of hazardous waste, contact your local authority waste officer.
Every year British households throw away 25 million tonnes of waste - that's over 500 kg, or half a tonne, of rubbish per person per year! Most of it goes to landfill and
some of it is incinerated. The UK‟s waste problem is mounting as the available
volume for landfill is rapidly reducing and incineration is not favoured as a disposal option by many communities because of concerns about toxic fumes.
The average wheelie bin or dustbin contains:
33% paper and card
20% vegetable waste
9% glass bottles and jars
2% textiles such as old clothes and rags
In Britain we recycle:
1 out of 3 newspapers
1 out of 4 glass bottles and jars
1 out of 4 items of clothing
1 out of 3 metal cans
1 out of 25 plastic bottles
About 80% of household waste could be recycled. If this was undertaken it would save natural resources and reduce the problem of the disposal of waste. However, recycling is not the whole answer. People need to learn to use natural resources more sparingly and sensibly. Householders can make a significant contribution to minimising their waste by a number of simple ways.
Module 10 – green choices Paper
The production of „virgin‟ paper requires the farming of land for trees and the use of
vast quantities of water and various chemicals, some of which are harmful if released
in the environment, in paper production. By adopting the following measures these
processes can be reduced:
? save waste paper and deposit it in a local paper bank
? reuse envelopes, paper, wrappings and egg boxes
? choose to buy recycled paper products, including greetings cards
? reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive by contacting:
The Mailing Preference Service: The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a free
service to enable consumers to have their names and addresses removed from or
added to lists used by the direct mail industry. It is actively supported by the Royal
Mail and all directly involved trade associations.
Mailing Preference Service, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS
Tel: 020 7291 3310, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.mpsonline.org.uk
You can also save your time by contacting the Telephone Preference Service to
filter out unwarranted direct selling of products by telephone and fax.
Telephone Preference Service, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS
Tel: 020 7291 3320, Email: email@example.com, Website: www.tpsonline.org.uk
Most local authorities have a Waste Minimisation Office or Recycling Officer who can
provide advice on waste.
Waste Watch is a charity that aims to protect the environment by encouraging the
wise use of scarce resources.
Contact: Waste Watch, 96 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TH
Tel Wasteline: 020 7089 2100
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Website www.wastewatch.org.uk
In Britain more than 6 billion glass containers are made every year – that is
approximately 100 per person! Glass manufacture requires raw materials and
energy to extract, transport and manufacture the product. To minimise the use of raw
materials, energy and the amount of waste generated:
? choose returnable bottles if available
? recycle glass through household collections or at a bottle bank
Module 10 – green choices
The UK produces a growing mountain of plastic waste, much of which does not
readily biodegrade. For information about the recycling of plastics contact:
RECOUP, 9 Metro Centre, Welbeck Way, Woodston, Peterborough, PE2 7WH
Tel: 01733 390021, Email: email@example.com, Website: www.recoup.org
High-tech equipment such as computers and mobile phones are transforming the way that people conduct their lives, but the rapid obsolescence of the equipment means that there is a burgeoning high-tech waste mountain. A number of charities or organisations are pleased to receive unwanted computer equipment for reuse or recycling. Your Local Authority might have details of local schemes. Additionally, unwanted mobile phones and toner cartridges can be given to a variety of charities who forward them to a recycling scheme and thereby raise money for their work.
Scope Phone Recycling can be contacted on 020 7619 7105, or up to 3 handsets can be sent free to: Scope Phone Recycling, James Bell, ShP Solutions, Freepost, NEA 14430, Lancaster, LA1 1ZZ. Alternatively, drop your phone off at your nearest Scope shop.
You can send us your inkjet cartridges free to: Scope Toner Donor Campaign, c/o Envirocare, FREEPOST (SWB978), Avonmouth, Bristol, BS11 9JE
Pre-printed FREEPOST envelopes are available by calling Scope on 0800 781 2600.
Metal is a valuable resource that can readily be reused, so recycling saves the mining of natural resources, energy used in mineral processing and land-fill costs. Around 11 billion steel cans and 5.5 billion aluminium cans are manufactured for use in the UK per year. Both types of can may be recycled. To recycle metal:
? use local can banks or kerbside collections if available
? support collections of foil, milk bottle tops etc
? use aluminium can banks – many local charities/organisations collect cans to
? take or arrange for unwanted appliances or other bulky metal items to be
deposited at a local authority metal collection/recycling site
There are hundreds of cash for cans centres nationwide where you can exchange your aluminium cans for cash. For information about your nearest Cash for Cans site call Alucan (Aluminium Can Recycling) on their free phone number 0800 262465. Visit the ALUPRO website www.alupro.org.uk or call them on 01527 597757 for
information about saving valuable resources and raising money for your church or another organisation.
Module 10 – green choices
For details of your nearest steel can recycling centre, contact your local authority or
the Steel Can Recycling Information Bureau (SCRIB), Port Talbot Works, Port
Talbot SA13 2NG. Tel: 01639 872 626, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website:
Clothes and cloth
A large tonnage of clothing and cloth is disposed of each year. Consider undertaking
the following actions to reduce this waste:
? take clean clothes to charity shops and clothing banks
? jumble sales are another place to recycle material
? clothing and cloth which cannot be sold can be recycled into industrial wipes,
blankets and stuffing for furniture
? only buy clothes that you really need and consider buying clothes second hand
Approximately 20% of domestic waste comprises organic matter. Disposing of this in
landfill takes up valuable space and the organic matter can break down into a
leachate which, when combined with other waste, may pollute the water course.
Additionally, decomposing organic matter can produce methane which is a
greenhouse gas and potentially hazardous. Composting organic matter in gardens
can reduce these large scale hazards and produce compost which improves soil
fertility – see „greening your garden‟ section on page 9.
? if you have a suitable space outside, consider installing a compost bin and use it
for all organic matter (though avoid composting meat and fish as these can attract
? bread can be fed to birds at a feeding station
For more information about recycling points contact your local authority. Some local
authorities have free or reduced-price compost bin schemes and other have
collection schemes for green waste.
Stories from churches
Saffron Walden Methodist Church encouraged members of the congregation to
use the local authority‟s doorstep recycling collection scheme and recycling centre.
However, there are many things which aren‟t covered by these services, so they set
about finding outlets, local where possible, for as many of these as they could and
set up a collection point at the rear of their church under their Eco-Congregation
Notice Board. Items collected include: spectacles, paper, used stamps, ink cartridges,
aluminium foil, mobile phones, old tights, good clothes, sewing needles, cotton,
buttons, zips, knitting needles and wool and even computers, which would have
otherwise gone to landfill. One member of the „Green Team‟ is responsible for the
distribution to the various charities and outlets. Mrs Rosina Down.