Be Ye Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only Start Doing

Beginning A Composting Practice

NOPE and BrittThe Chimes asked Britt Van Deusen, co-chair of the Stewards of the Earth committee, about the recently begun effort to compost kitchen waste at the Michaux House through Natural Organic Process Enterprises (NOPE).
Chimes: Tell us about the composting effort and how the Stewards of the Earth Committee came to support this effort.
BVD: The Stewards of the Earth committee was created in the summer of 2014, and right from the start, we knew that we needed to “plant seeds” in the minds of the congregation, seeds that would help us to grow into a more “green-conscious” church. We decided to increase the visibility of our recycling program which was already in place, and then we were looking for other ways to reduce our waste output. Composting was a natural fit with our goals.
Chimes: Why composting? What is the ministry here?
BVD: Composting is such an easy and relatively inexpensive way to dramatically reduce our waste. Instead of sending plastic bags full of trash to landfills, where they will be sealed up and unable to decompose, we are sending our food waste, paper products and more to a composting plant where they will immediately begin a transition to rich compost. The Stewards of the Earth feel that our greatest calling right now as Christians is to save the precious resources that God has given us. By composting, we are removing a good portion of our waste from the landfills. We are also using our waste to create nutrient-rich earth which can be used to nurture the plants on our own church grounds or elsewhere.
Chimes: What happens to our waste once it is collected?
BVD: All of the food waste from meal preparation as well as any uneaten food from the plates at Wednesday night suppers, along with soiled paper towels, napkins and even pizza boxes will be collected in compostable plastic bags which are then placed in the alley, in a large container kept behind a locked gate with a firm lid to keep pests out. Once a week, NOPE will remove this waste and haul it to an industrial-sized composting plant where it is turned into nutrient-rich compost.
Chimes: Who can participate in the composting collection at the church?
BVD: Everyone. Literally everyone. That is part of what makes this green project so exciting. Our entire church can “own” this project simply by showing up to Wednesday night suppers and at the end of dinner, scraping their uneaten food into the special containers. We can also participate by placing used paper towels in the special containers that will be in all restrooms. Those of us on cooking teams can take part by placing all waste from food preparation in the composting collection containers that will stay in the kitchen.
Chimes: Are there going to be special benefits of the project besides our stewardship of the kitchen waste?
BVD: In addition to the satisfaction of knowing that we have contributed to a better use of God’s gifts to us, we will also have the benefit of receiving back 40 pounds of compost for every 2000 pounds of waste that NOPE collects from us. We can use this compost in our Memorial Garden or designate it to be given to a local garden-oriented charity.
Chimes: How can parishioners be more actively engaged in the work of the Stewards of the Earth committee.
BVD: You can participate in this composting program when you are at church events, and you can also work to “green” your daily life by making small changes at home – recycling, switching out burnt-out incandescent lightbulbs for LED ones, or perhaps taking lunch in re-usable containers to work or school at least once a week. The members of the Stewards of the Earth committee feel strongly that every parishioner can be a “steward of the earth” whether you come to our meetings or not. Start right now by recycling this Quarterly Chimes when you are done with it! We all must invest in our earth’s future if we have any chance of it remaining the beautiful, healthy and nurturing place that God intended it to be for all of his children.

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