We buy them by the case — styrofoam cups and plastic plates. We use lots of them, cases and cases each year, because we’re Baptist and we eat a lot. We wouldn’t think of making you eat with plastic forks and knives because they break. Nope, we use real stainless steel silverware, but we pour our tea and coffee into styrofoam cups and eat off of plastic plates. Why?
We probably use throw-aways so we don’t have to wash dishes. We don’t have a kitchen staff, only volunteers, and nobody likes to wash dishes. Washing the silverware and serving pieces takes long enough. But we’ve never really had a conversation about why we use styrofoam cups and plastic plates. We need to.
Not only are these products made from petroleum, but they also take forever (almost literally) to break down in the landfill. Plus, The Daily Green contends polystyrene (brandname: Styrofoam) can leach harmful residue into food and drink. In other words, we are facing not one, but three problems: energy, environment, and user health.
Today I’m adding a new topic — Ethics — to this blog’s categories. I dealt with ethical issues at my other blog, Amicus Dei, for awhile, but congregations need to grapple with ethical decisions, too. Watch for more posts on ethics. As my seminary professor, Ebbie Smith used to say, “Ethics is the part of theology that really counts.” His point being that how we live expresses what we believe. If we could apply that to our covered-dish suppers that would be a big step.