Environmental Success Stories
Presented below are four Environmental success stories at Village Church:
The biggest success story has been our ongoing paper recycling program. Since February 2003, Village Church has recycled over 427 tons of paper and generated over $8,300 of income for the church. During the last year, we have averaged about 4 tons per month. Newspapers and magazines brought from home account for 90% of our paper!
In 2003, we started with a single outside recycling bin at the church at 67th and Mission Road (located in the north parking lot at the northeast corner of the church). In 2004, a second bin was located at the South Campus at 99th and Mission Road (between the Day Care Center and the Food Pantry). Deffenbaugh Recycling pays $12.50 per ton regardless of tonnage. There is no graduated scale with a monthly minimum.
In the fall of 2008, Deffenbaugh expanded its recycling program to permit the co-mingling of additional items, including phone books, aluminum beverage cans, #1 thru #7 plastic food containers, and flat cardboard.
In January 2004, a cardboard recycling bin was located in the parking lot adjacent to the Food Pantry at 99th and Mission Road. Cardboard recycling generates no income. But, after placement of the bin, we were able to reduce trash pickups from twice to once a week, saving the church $200 per month on an ongoing basis.
The cardboard recycling bin is filled to capacity with flattened corrugated cardboard each week. Sometimes an extra pick up is requested between regular weekly pickups. Deffenbaugh Recycling estimates that their 8 cubic yard bin holds about half a ton of flattened cardboard, which means the Food Pantry recycles at least half a ton of cardboard a week!
In the fall of 2005, in a move to reduce its use of Styrofoam and its overall volume of trash, Village Church purchased durable reusable melamine dinnerware for use at church dinners. This purchase consists of 500 mugs and 400 dinner plates, salad plates, dessert plates, and bowls. Depending on how the comparative costs are computed, Melissa Fees (Food Services Manager & Head Chef) figured that this investment paid for itself within two years. Assuming an average of 300 people at our Wednesday night suppers, George Darrington (Superintendent of Building & Grounds) estimates that ten 55-gallon trash bags of Styrofoam per week no longer end up in the landfill!
In addition to recycling paper, Village Church has begun to close the loop by purchasing recycled paper for the following applications: colored copy paper, white copy paper, letterhead paper, worship bulletin, and newsletter. Depending on the application, the church is now using paper with 25% to 35% recycled content. The “recycled paper” logo now appears on the back page of both the worship bulletin and the church newsletter.
In January 2005, Village Church launched a Responsible Purchasing Initiative, which included advocating the purchase and use of paper with pre- and post-consumer recycled content, manufactured with minimal toxic byproducts. One of the goals was to help provide a market for environmentally responsible products, thereby “closing the loop.” This conversion was done with little or no additional cost, as all products are now competitively priced. Coincidentally, the church is consuming less paper because more communications are being done electronically, using a model that might be loosely referred to as “create, distribute, then print as wanted or needed by the receiver.” This practice results in more conservation than purchasing recycled paper stock.
Another way the church is reducing the cost and impact of paper is by offering its newsletter electronically.