Columbans pledge to support Plastic-Free July

  • Emma Darling

Members of the St Columban Missionary Society in Britain are pleased to be supporting this year's Plastic Free July initiative; a global movement designed to raise awareness of single use plastic and encourage people to refuse single use plastic, opting instead for more sustainable alternatives.

The Columbans in Britain already work in a number of ways to reduce their plastic consumption. Residents in both the Solihull and London houses are encouraged to recycle clean and empty plastic packaging and have a ban on the use of single use plastic cutlery and plates. Office staff also, are working hard to recycle paper, packaging and empty food containers, and try, where possible, to source office stationary, kitchen and bathroom essentials from sustainable resources and recycled products.

During the month of July the region's ordained Columbans, volunteers and staff have been asked to support the Plastic Free July initiative by personally pledging to avoid the use of one or more plastic product, opting instead for recyclable or reusable alternatives.

Emma Darling, Communications Officer for the Columbans in Britain explains: "Columbans are passionate about protecting God's Creation on earth. It is important that we support initiatives such as Plastic Free July that highlight these issues and aim to educate society and bring about change." She adds, "I'm very pleased that so many of our staff and volunteers have agreed to get involved. One member of staff has decided she will swap all liquid soap for bar soap at home to avoid single-use plastic whilst another has pledged to avoid using Cling Film plastic wrap and plastic bin bags. There is so much plastic in our lives that avoiding it all completely would be very challenging. By changing our way of thinking and making small steps, together we can make a big difference!"

In 2015, Pope Francis unveiled his great encyclical on the environment: Laudato Si'. It is subtitled 'On Care for our Common Home' and is addressed not just to the Catholic Church, but to the whole of humanity as we face the global climate emergency. We are urged to take action in order to fight climate change and poverty, with particular emphasis on reducing plastic pollution, waste and our society's increase in single-use, throwaway products.

'[Concern for others and the natural environment attunes us to] the moral imperative of assessing the impact of our every action and personal decision on the world around us. If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society. An awareness of the gravity of today's cultural and ecological crisis must be translated into new habits.'

Laudato Si' 208-209

Plastic Free July is a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation established in 2017 that works hard for a world free of plastic waste. One of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world, the movement is designed to help millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution, enabling us to have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. The organisation offers a wide variety of useful ideas to help both individuals and business to avoid the use of unnecessary plastics and empower people to engage with their local communities to raise awareness and bring about change to plastic use.

The Missionary Society of St Columban world-wide are renowned for working in solidarity with the poor and for their care and respect for Creation. Columban Missionaries are motivated by their Gospel commitment to respect all life, human and non-human, to choose to be in solidarity with the poor and to promote authentic development which respects human dignity and the limits to material growth. Columbans reject the models of development promoted by many multinational corporations, governments and international financial institutions that is based on the intensive exploitation of natural resources, most of which are non-renewable.

For further details about the Columbans in Britain, please visit or call the Mission Office on 01564 772 096.

Tags: Columbans, Plastic, Plastic-Free July

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