Experimental Christianity #3 – Waste Management


This week, I’ve been thinking about my lack of compassion for the environment. I’m aware that I have essentially given up any hope of it not being a problem for future generations. While this is probably realistic, it doesn’t exactly help that future to get any better.

Here in the UK we throw away something like 30 million tonnes of waste each year, of which less than 20% is recycled. That means we’re generating something like 24 million tonnes of waste each year. While this goes down year on year, we’re still stuck in an endless cycle of waste production and management. 24 million tonnes of garbage makes for one “hell” of a garbage dump (theology in joke there for the observant among you).

So, this week’s experiment is a really, really simple one: if there’s an alternative with no packaging, buy it. If there’s an alternative with recycled packaging, buy it. If there isn’t an alternative, donate £1 to Greenpeace.

I’m expecting to find it especially tough around the area of food. I’ve always thought the amount of packaging that we provide with food is a bit crazy. Now I’m going to be forced to find ways to mitigate that.

Why am I doing this? There are 2 main reasons. Firstly, because I genuinely despair at the way in which we use the resources of the earth that we have the privilege of inhabiting. Secondly, because I want to see how it affects my choices. Will I decide to buy less? Will I buy from companies who produce goods in a more ethical fashion? Does that have any kind of impact on my faith? I’m looking forward to finding out.

I’m going to run this experiment for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. Yes, it will probably be quite difficult, or at least financially difficult – but that’s kind of the idea; to pay for the damage that my lifestyle does to the world. Hopefully, it’ll make me think about the impact I’m having.


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Ben is one of the founders and editors of New Roots. When he isn't managing the web site, he can usually be found working on his web design agency or down the pub discussing theology.