Student Engagement in Climate Justice

Fewer Plastic for Lent 2023 Week 2: Beverages

Feb 27, 2023

No Plastics for Lent Logo

February 27, 2023

Each week during Lent the Green Justice Seminary Team will be sharing one step you can take to reduce your impact on Creation as a Lenten practice and will be taking these steps alongside the rest of the seminary. Thank you for joining us on this Lenten journey to reduce our plastic consumption and practice loving our neighbors impacted by plastic production and plastic waste around the world.

#FewerPlasticsForLent Week 2: Plastic Bottles

Last week we evaluated the plastic in our trash and recycling to see which habits contribute the most to our personal plastic waste. If you are like most people, you may have noticed a lot of plastic beverage bottles in your trash or recycling. The UN Environment Programme estimates that globally we dispose of more than 480 billion plastic bottles per year and less than 10% are recycled. Additionally, the process of producing and filling these bottles produces 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

What are some accessible ways to cut out these plastic bottles from your life? Well, your trusty PLTS Green Seminary Team set out to find some simple swaps that can eliminate a few plastic bottles from your trash/recycling each week with minimal impact on your budget or lifestyle.

Swap #1: Plastic Water Bottles

This is an obvious and simple swap with a big impact. If you’re using plastic water bottles, consider investing in a reusable stainless-steel water bottle. Berkeley has some of the best tap water in the country, so there is no need to drink the bottled stuff. Over the course of a year this swap could easily save you more than $100 ($4 for one 24 pack of bottled water/ week x 52 weeks = $208 vs. one stainless steel water bottle refilled for free at PLTS = $10)

Swap #2: Plastic Pop or Sparkling Water Bottles

Did you know aluminum is continuously recyclable? If you can’t get through the day without some bubbly water or pop (yes, it’s “pop”) try to find your favorite beverage in an aluminum can instead of a plastic bottle. Swap 6 pack of 16oz plastic bottles of diet coke ($6.99 or $.07 per oz at Safeway) for a 12 pack of 12oz aluminum cans ($9.99 or $.07 per oz at Safeway).

Swap #3: Plastic Milk Jug for Glass Milk Jug

We are all learning a lot this Lent, including this author who recently learned that cardboard milk cartons are no longer recyclable in Berkeley as of 2022! But don’t despair! Berkeley Bowl has the option of glass milk cartons that you can return to the store for a $1 credit off your overall purchase. Swap a gallon of Berkeley Bowl Organic Whole Milk in a plastic jug ($7.69 = $.06 per oz) for a half gallon of Straus Organic Whole milk ($6.59-$1.00 rebate = $.09 per oz).

If we’re going to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change, we don’t need just a few people leading perfectly “green” lives, we need everyone to be doing something to lessen their impact on the planet.

The #NoPlasticsforLent initiative calls us to prayer for creation, to lament the ways we have been complicit in the degradation of the earth, and to action to care for our neighbor in fasting from the things that are hurting our planet. You can take the ELCA Young Adults Ministry Pledge here: