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  Green Christians / Water Issues / Environmental Policy / Essential Recycling Ideas

Green First for Sutton Church

After becoming just the second church in Sutton Coldfield to be awarded ‘eco-congregation’ status, Wylde Green United Reformed Church was delighted to be the first church in the country to receive the award directly from project coordinator, Jo Rathbone.

Jo explained:

It is a great thrill be come and present such an award personally, as it is a tribute to the work the church has done over the past five years.

The Award is recognises the environmental achievements of a churches and how it promotes green issues to the local community.  However, the Green Group organiser, Steve Lyne points out that there is still more to be done:

We are currently working to establish CRAG’s – Carbon Reduction Action Groups - to promote ways of working to reduce the carbon footprint of our church buildings, its members and, indeed, the community.


Photo shows (L-R) Steve Lyne, Jo Rathbone and members of the church’s Green Group, Meriel Chippindale, Anne Turney, Alastair Frew, John Turney and Vera Cullimore.

Visit the Eco-congregation website to find out what the church had to do to receive this award.

Climate's changed: earth as a thermometerClimate changed

Climate change is already happening - and it is hitting the poor hardest. But you can help do something about it.

UK CO2 emissions comprise 2% of the global total. But the activity of UK companies worldwide raises that share to a huge 12-15%.

We want the government to make it law for UK companies to give a full account of their CO2 emissions in their annual report. We also want companies to do their bit. We want companies to publish a full account of their global carbon footprint in their annual reports, and to commit to at least a 5% cut per year in their carbon emissions. You can help by sending an email to Barclays, International Power and Morrisons.

Click here to add your voice to our concern

Grants to Save Energy

Are you or your partner aged over 60? Or have a child under 16 (being pregnant counts!)? Or do you receive a state benefit?

You may qualify for a grant to save energy in your home, phone Warm Front Scheme for free on 0800 512 012 for more details.

 Some links to Green Christians!

Creation Challenge - the new name for the Methodist/United Reformed Churches' environmental network - read the latest news and ideas


Operation Noah - making a splash for climate justice with the churches' climate change campaign, and is part of Christian Ecology Link


Christian Ecology Link (CEL) is a multi-denominational UK Christian organisation for people concerned about the Environment


John Ray Initiative - an educational charity that develops and communicates a Christian understanding of the environment.  Let All that has DNA Praise the Lord!  Read the Connect article by Professor Colin Russell


A Rocha UK is about caring for creation and transforming communities through practical, local conservation projects


Just how much do you know about the world and its energy sources and how they are used? - Find out in the BBC's World Energy Quiz

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Water Issues                                      

The Bible includes stories that illustrate the significance of water.  In the story of creation (Genesis 1) and the story of Jesus in the storm - tossed boat on Galilee ( Luke 8 :22 –25) , water is portrayed as having a chaotic elemental character which only God can subdue.  In the story of Noah and the flood  (Genesis 7-9) and the story of John the Baptist (Mark 1 v 4-5), water is portrayed as a medium into which old life dies and new life rises.  In the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well (John 4 v 1-15), the refreshments that water offers to a weary traveller is used to symbolise the refreshment that Jesus offers to tired souls.  The elemental quality of water reminds us that we can never control creation, the cleansing nature of water symbolises the new life offered through Christ and the drinking of water reminds us that life cannot exist without both physical and spiritual refreshment.    

How much water do I use

Water used by industry



Activity Water use To produce a Litres used
Taking a bath 80 litres Small car 450,000
Taking a shower 5 litres/minute Tonne of paper 140,000
Flushing the toilet 9.5 litres/flush Litre of petrol   
Watering the garden Up to 1000 litres per hour Newspaper 9
Using a washing machine 80 litres Pint of beer 3
Using a dishwasher 35 litres Drinking 10 litres


 Action points

  1. Always wash a full load of washing, fold and stack your washing in the machine as you will get more in and the washing powder is so strong it will clean all of it.

  2. Do not use the half load setting as it uses more than half the water and the same amount of energy as a full load.

  3. When buying a new machine, buy a machine with a rating for energy efficiency and washing efficiency.

  4. Use eco balls instead of washing powder as this saves water. One litre of water from your washing having used Persil requires 20,000 litres at our local plant in Minworth to clean that water before it can be released.

  5. Shower rather than bathe, preferably not using a power shower.

  6. Don’t wash or brush teeth under a running tap.

  7. Fix leaky taps straight away and turn taps off completely a dripping tap can waste almost a bathful of water a week.

  8. Sink an air tight 1 litre drinks bottle into each of your water cisterns to save 1 litre a flush or fill a litre plastic bottle and place in the cistern.

  9. Use washing up water and/or rainwater to water your garden in the morning or evening.  Rain water is better for many plants. South Staffordshire Water recommend water butts from their preferred supplier on 0845 130 6363.

  10. Mulch your garden to keep in the moisture.

  11. When having new bathroom fittings, buy low or dual flush fittings. 

  12. Wash vegetables in a bowl, not under a running tap. Soaking vegetables makes them easier to peel. A running tap wastes 10 litres a minute.

  13. Filling the kettle to the brim wastes power as well as water. So, only boil as much water as you need for a cup of tea or coffee. But make sure the element is covered.

The more of the above you implement, the lower will be your water bill.

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United Reformed Church launches Environmental Policy

The URC General Assembly meeting in July 2004 agreed that in order to work out our faith and fulfil our responsibility for the stewardship of God’s creation, we would commit ourselves to the following actions:

Awareness and Commitment

promoting awareness among our congregations of these principles and objectives and of the values underpinning them;


ensuring that all staff members of the United Reformed Church, its synods and colleges are familiar with this environmental commitment and its objectives, and encouraging them to work towards its implementation;


encouraging United Reformed Churches in their activities to comply with all relevant environmental recommendations for good practice.

Energy and Water

ensuring energy is used efficiently and whenever possible conserving and reducing its use;


encouraging the increased use of renewable energy, especially green electricity using water efficiently and with care;


preventing pollutants from entering the drainage system.


reducing the production of material waste including unnecessary packaging;


encouraging the re-use, repair and re-cycling of materials including organic waste;


disposing of waste in a safe and responsible way;


adopting environmentally sensitive purchasing policies, for example recycled paper.

Materials and Resources

buying products which are made in accordance with the principle of using material in a sustainable way and using locally-made or produced goods and food as far as this is possible and practicable;


buying products from sources that adhere to principles of fair trade, especially mindful of those within poorer countries;


taking into account the lifetime costs and embodied energy of materials when repairing, altering or rebuilding premises;


offering electronic communication as an alternative to paper for those who are suitably equipped.

Natural and Built Environment

taking appropriate opportunities to conserve and enhance the natural and built environment;


engaging with local planning developments where these affect the environment;


encouraging the renewal and enhancement of the urban environment;


being sensitive to the impact of church activities on the local environment;


ensuring church-owned land is used in ways that will protect the environment.


making every effort to reduce air pollution and energy consumption resulting from the use of cars and planes by avoidance of unnecessary travel and the use of energy-efficient vehicles;


exploring undertaking the work of the denomination and local church in ways which reduce the need for travel, particularly by car and plane, and encouraging the use of public transport;


sharing car transport whenever possible.

We affirm that the earth belongs to God and hold to a vision of a world that reflects the glory of God. So together we will celebrate all that is done and achieved in fulfilling our human responsibility for the care and stewardship of creation.

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   Recycling Update

Recycling, a thousand possibilities but not the answer!  It is better not to produce the waste in the first place.  But there will always be something you need that you can't use 100%, so follow the recycling hierarchy to be as green as can be...

  1. Eliminate - avoid producing waste in first place

  2. Reduce - Minimise the amount of waste you produce

  3. Re-use - Use items as many times as possible & share journeys

  4. Recycle - recycle what you can only after you have reused it

  5. Dispose - dispose of what is left in a responsible way

How to dispose of: Batteries / CDs and DVDs / Computers / Drink Cartons  / Furniture / Ink Cartridges / Magazine Wrappers / Mobile Phones / Shares

Christian Aid

Your local Christian Aid office welcomes:

bulletInk Cartridges
bulletMobile Phones

And all you need to do is give them to Melanie Frew (or leave them in the post trays).



Birmingham City Council will now collect used batteries at all of their public waste disposal sites - so you need never throw them away again.  If you are not planning a trip to the tip, then you could always give them to Steve Lyne or Melanie Frew.

However, why not invest in one set of batteries to last a life time?  With a solar charger and rechargeable batteries you can do just this! Buy solar battery rechargers from the Cente for Alternative Technology.


CDs and DVDs

Clearing out your old music CDs or old film DVDs?  Think that no one else would want them?  Think again!  Don't just throw them out, send to Birmingham Focus on Blindness who can get up to 50p for every unwanted CD and DVD (not old computer disks, please see below...).

Birmingham Focus on Blindness

58-62 Woodville Road



B17 9AT

You can recycle your old CD-Roms.  They can be made into anything from street lighting lenses to building insulation.  Give to Melanie Frew for Christian Aid or send to: Polymer Reprocessors, Reeds Lane, Moreton, Wirral CH46 1DW.  But think about reusing them first - as drinks coasters at a party, as bird scarers...




Try Computer Aid as a way of disposing of your old PCs, and other computer bits and bobs.



Ink Cartridges


If you don't refill for your own use at any of the local shops available, send them to Ink Again, who recycle for all of the following charities...


Alternatively, bring them to Church for Melanie Frew to take to Christian Aid!



You may received the occasional bag from a charity for curb-side charity collections, but never when you want it, especially for large items!  There are two local solutions from charities who will collect your items by arrangement:

The Ladywood Furniture Project - who have been used by several members of our Church family - 0121 455 7133

and British Heart Foundation 0844 412 5000, they will collect within 48 hours and take electrical goods.


Phones for Trees

15 million mobile phones are replaced in the UK every year.  That's a lot of waste.  By sending your phone to Future Forests it can be used for parts, which are sold at low cost to the developing world.  Part of this income goes towards planting one sapling for every phone recycled.

Send your phone, postage free, to: 

Greener Solutions (Future Forests Offer)


PO Box 32343

London SW17 9ZZ

If you include your name and email address, Future Forests will email a map and tree dedication certificate to you free, of charge.

Or for the Woodland Trust

Order a recycling bag from or send your phone, postage free, to: 

The Woodland Trust

Recycling Appeal


PO Box 137




Again, Melanie Frew can collect these for Christian Aid...




Recycling drinks cartons has proved so popular, that the freepost service has had to be suspended - any cartons sent freepost from now on will be dumped in landfill!  However, drinks cartons are light and we will soon be able to give you some idea of costs, so keep rinsing!


The background

It always used to be said that drinks cartons couldn’t be recycled because they were made of a ‘sandwich’ of aluminium, polyethylene and paper, so it was simply ‘too difficult’ to process.

BUT there is now a scheme which manages to do just that!


So, if you use fruit juice or milk cartons, and would like to recycle them, all you have to do is rinse them, dry them and send them off in a box when you have a sufficient quantity.  Send them to:

Smith Anderson and Co Ltd



Fife  KY6 3BR


Magazine Wrappers


Unfortunately, the facility for recycling transparent plastic magazine wrappers is no longer available locally and so we would ask that you stop bringing your old wrappers into church until further notice.




OK this isn't actually recycling, but if you have a small number of shares that would cost you more to sell than their worth, then have a look at this website that is able to pool proceeds and distributes them to charity. give shares to charity donate share

ShareGift also help people with larger gifts of shares for their favourite charities.

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Wylde Green URC is a Registered Charity, number 1136135