We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Manage Your Plastic Use

Individually we cannot change industries or policies but we can make manageable changes in our lifestyles to counter the threats.

Earthday.org calls these the 5R’s- Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle and Remove

1. Reduce – Before you shop…
Ask yourself two questions when considering plastic products or products with plastic packaging – Do I need it? Can I use something else?

2. Refuse – Say “no” to plastics
The substitutes for plastics are the ones you choose which can make a contribution to the environment.

Some key tips
A. Avoid plastic straws – use metal or wood/paper based straws.
B. Use reusable shopping bags. And buy cloth or mesh bags to carry fresh produce to the cashier.
C. Select products without plastic packaging.
D. Note products that use plastic microfibers – such as nylon and polyester
E. Bring your own coffee cup to the coffee shop.

3. Reuse – Avoid single-use plastics
Use dishes, glasses, and metal silverware instead of their plastic counterparts.
Avoid plastic items going to the dump – When you finally decide to get rid of old clothes, toys, furniture, or electronics, donate them rather than throwing them away.

For young parents -Trying washable reusable cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.

Any food containers from restaurants are durable enough to be reused for kitchen storage. Make sure to wash them by hand—putting them in the dishwasher can expose you to toxins.

4. Recycle -Know your waste management company/county. This is not the best choice when dealing with plastics. It cannot replace the need for reducing consumption or refusing and reusing plastics when you can.

If you have to throw away something, segregate it and give it a chance to be recycled!. If recycling is the best option, you should do so following the rules of your community.

For Caroline county -Eric Johnson is the Solid Waste Superintendent email – ejohnson@co.caroline.va.us or phone number (804)572-6301.

For the most part, only recycle if you are positive that the item is truly recyclable.

5. Remove – “Get it outta here!

Plastic/litter clean-ups are great community events that let you meet the people who live around you while cleaning up your local community at the same time.

I try to take an hour or two to walk different paths in the neighborhood to pick up trash. The walking and stretching are good exercises and help the community at the same time.

Biodegradable plastics have emerged as a potential solution and are made from natural sources like plant-based materials and micro-organisms such as bacteria that can be used in a variety of industries such as packaging, construction, and healthcare.