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Ursulines do their part for Laudato Sí by recycling at the Mount

After Pope Francis wrote his encyclical Laudato Sí – on the care of the earth – he invited all sectors of the Church to develop action plans outlining what they would do in response to his challenge. The response of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph was to set up a Laudato Sí Creation Care committee to produce an action plan. The members of the committee are Sisters Angela Fitzpatrick, Michele Morek, Suzanne Sims, Amelia Stenger and Sharon Sullivan.

This is a multi-year project for the Sisters, and after reviewing what the Ursulines have already done, the committee decided to focus on Climate Change. Recycling was chosen as the specific project for the year because this is something everyone can do. As Pope Francis said, “There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions.” (LS211)

Recycling at the Mount

By Sister Suzanne Sims

It must have been at least 15 years ago when I received an unusual Christmas gift: a pair of red socks (not the unusual part) with three words embroidered on the side of the anklets: Re-duce, Re-cycle, Re-gift. That was not the first time hearing the first two words. But, Re-gift? Of course, I know what that is.

That is what you call what we Sisters do so well. For example, a Sister gives me a birthday gift. It was something her brother had given her two years ago and she didn’t use. She was thrilled to share it with me because she knew I would use or enjoy it more than she would. She also knew that I would never share it with her brother. That kept everyone happy!

Over the years, the three-word mantra on the socks has become as natural as brushing our teeth. It is one way that we can keep thousands of pounds of what many consider “trash” out of our nearby landfill. We have a recycling center near our Motherhouse backdoor and an indoor center on a shelf in baskets under our individual mailboxes for all to use.

One of the senior Sisters, Sister Michael Ann Monaghan, contributes a valued service by shredding paper each afternoon in the business office. She keeps another Sister busy taking the bags of shredded paper to the dedicated storage area, where Sister Nancy Liddy transfers to another facility that uses it for litter boxes, packing, etc.

Oh, what a pair of socks can teach!

Recycling Electronic Waste

By Sister Michele Morek

I’ll bet many of us of a certain generation have an old cell phone or tablet sitting in a sock drawer. We have a vague idea that it would not be right to throw it in the trash can. CORRECT! For many reasons!

Greenhouse gases released during cellphone manufacture may be as high as 125 million metric tons per year. Then electronic waste globally wastes an estimated $57 billion of reusable gold, copper, and platinum through improper disposal practices. Not to mention all that coltan ore (sometimes dug by child slave labor) that funds conflict in the Congo. Every junked device contains about $1.50 worth of gold alone, and 99% of cellphones are not recycled!

Keep your phone as long as you can; don’t automatically upgrade to the newest model. Recycle it properly after wiping it (on the internet, find directions for wiping the data off your electronics.) Call your county government to find a local recycling company; then call them to see if they recycle e-waste. Some companies that sell electronics (like Best Buy) dispose of e-waste, and may even wipe it.

I always ask how they dispose of it: Landfilling? Or by incineration, without removing the valuable metals? Or are they going to send it to a third world country to be taken apart by children, without adequate safety precautions to protect them from the toxic components? Help educate the world! Read The Climate Action Handbook by Heidi Roop.

 

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