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There Is No "Away"

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

By Carol Monson and Mary Stucky

To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48)

Our theme for this month is DISPOSABLES. There are at least 2 important concerns here: How they are made, and where they go when we are finished with them. This can cover more items than toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, etc. We plan to talk about other items in future articles.

First, how are these paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues produced? Most of us are not aware that many are made from almost entirely 100% virgin fibers, coming especially from Canada’s Boreal. This forest stores nearly twice as much carbon per acre as the Amazon, and the robbing of trees from this boreal affects our climate. Also, this magnificent forest has an extraordinary array of wildlife and holds cultural and spiritual importance to more than 600 Indigenous communities. Aren’t both wildlife and Indigenous people part of the beloved community?

Second, where do these items go? Have you heard the statement, “There is no AWAY”? Since I (Carol) heard this phrase at a course I took, I have continued to hear it. It has affected me a great deal, making me think about things that don’t go away. Most of what we put in the trash or recycle doesn’t go away. Where does it go? What are some items you have that don’t go away?

Let’s Encourage each other to make a difference!

Psalm 24:1 tells us that the earth is the Lord’s

In Matthew 6:26-30, Jesus describes how God cares for and loves the flora and fauna of God’s earth….

In Galatians, Paul admonishes us to care for and do good to one another.


How about those trash/garbage bags??? Many “green” products cost less than the big brand-named trash bags: Meijer sells Ziploc and Matter brands, which make compostable bags for landfill, as well as food containers and sandwich bags. The Full Circle Brand recyclable trash bags (containing up to 80% recycled plastics) sell for less than other brands on the shelf, and are biodegradable in landfills. Kroger’s Simple Truth recycled products cost about the same as the store brand. Target has a great “green” section near its grocery section.

Be careful though. I (Mary) left some compostable bags on my shelf for a long time, and they began to break down before my very eyes! When you buy them, use them!

Things CMF could do to lessen our carbon footprint….

The church could switch to electric hand dryers, purchase toilet paper and towels made from recycled paper, or plant based (not trees). We could bring our own plates, cups, silverware to our small group get togethers, thereby cutting down on the use of paper and disposable plates and utensils. By the way, taking along reusable containers for restaurant take outs is a great idea!

We also think it would be helpful to put up signs in our bathrooms, kitchen, etc. to let people know we are making these changes.

To learn more about what we can do as individuals and as a Beloved Community, and to find out the “green worthiness” of our favorite paper and plastics products, go the National Resources Defense Council’s website at, and at

Let’s do our part to lessen our carbon footprint, and to care for God’s earth and Beloved Community!

Canada's Boreal

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1 Comment

Oct 18, 2023

Carol and Mary, thank you for this important message, especially the details of compostable products. It is ominous to realize that nothing goes AWAY.

Tim and I just returned from a South Dakota Pow Wow, where Native Americans reminded us of a time when things were not wasted, and this week's Ken Burns two-night documentary on the buffalo is very tough to watch, but we're glad we did.

You know, with all the wind turbines and solar panels we saw out West, it could be that the U.S. will make 'progress' by finally turning back the clock to simpler, cleaner energies.

Thank you, again, for this fine blogpost.

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