2022 Resolution #7:
Refuse or Reduce Single-Use Plastics

Secretary of the Convention

Last Update: August 3rd, 2022

Status 
This proposed resolution is being reviewed by the Committee on Resolutions and may not be in its final form.

Resolved, That the 173rd Convention of the Diocese of California affirms the 80th General Convention resolutions concerning Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation and reaffirms the 170th Diocese of California Resolution 5 “Single-Use Non-Biodegradable Plastics,” and the 79th General Convention resolution C063, Advocate for Ocean Health;

Resolved, That this Convention recognizes that plastics are made from fossil fuels, and very few plastic items labeled and marketed as “recyclable” or “biodegradable” can actually be recycled and only degrade after decades, if ever, and that continued manufacture and use of plastic bags, packaging materials, cups, utensils and containers results in large scale pollution of our oceans and land masses, causes deaths of millions of fish and other living creatures, enters our food chain as microplastics, and emits toxic fumes when burned; and

Resolved, That this Convention directs this Diocese and all its institutions and congregations to  strive to use alternatives to plastics whenever possible, to learn about and implement creative ways to refuse or reduce usage of plastics through programs and projects such as PlasticFreeJuly.org, and to advocate for appropriate public policies that promote ocean health and care of creation. 

Explanation:

The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it, the world and all who dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)

As Christians, we believe that we are accountable for careful stewardship of God’s creation, which means that we should not degrade or pollute Earth, our island home, and that we should care for all our fellow creatures in our lifetimes and for generations to come.

We are called to make informed choices that stop hurting and instead help to heal God’s creation, to work in partnership with other ecumenical, interfaith, and non-governmental organizations, and to act to support and advance the health of our environment.

Plastic Free July, for example, is a global movement that offers creative alternatives that help millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution, choosing to refuse the single-use plastics we encounter every day, so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

​The negative and persistent environmental and health consequences of the manufacture, use and disposal of single-use plastic products has been well documented*. 

With the plastic industry expanding like never before and the crisis of ocean pollution growing, FRONTLINE and NPR investigated the fight over the future of plastics. This 53-minute documentary from March 31, 2020, Plastic Wars, shows how the plastics industry used recycling to fend off bans, and industry insiders reveal the truth about recycling. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/documentary/plastic-wars/

As reported in The New York Times, ‘California Requires Plastics Makers to Foot the Bill for Recycling’, “There are concerns that the growing global market for plastics, which are made from fossil fuels, could support demand for oil, contributing to the release of greenhouse gas emissions precisely at a time when the world needs to wean itself from fossil fuels to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. By 2050, the plastics industry is expected to consume 20 percent of all oil produced.”

This landmark California plastics law, SB 54, adopted in July 2022, also restricts single-use plastics. Because California’s economy is so big, experts say, the law could have far-reaching effects.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/01/climate/california-plastics-recycling-law.html?unlocked_article_code=AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACEIPuomT1JKd6J17Vw1cRCfTTMQmqxCdw_PIxftm3iWka3DKDm4biO8RAo2J50qKbqNnZtU0xTKaTZpZNLY0WP151apFMkd8QA2ppJTBnJ0aZSUprIb5FkUH46XwZ5Fquzn7cjv-b-5l2Ly0ux_BamG-WK2LhnA-IVlmoo9ic1-txSdZz6raFLMh39Ep1fp1AcgsVi5AMHfRx4TgDBp5MdqGbhnOuEJhC6wCB2alzZPL4KkAcQ5SFVvDUHp4hG4449tfM9oTV73te19iIIGtxOVMVRE7aduhFJYzRIPLlrR1sLOrqROEyMK-xvpeB7z-OUDr7rg90Wep9nCkXjKU&smid=em-share

Submitted By:

Ms. Emily Hopkins, Delegate, St. Paul’s Walnut Creek, emilyhopkins4@gmail.com

Endorsed By:

Carl Diehl, St. Columba's Inverness

The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, Rector, St. Aidan’s San Francisco

Sarah Lawton, St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco

Ruth Meyers, All Souls, Berkeley

Karma Quick-Panwala, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Ron Hermanson, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Warren J. Wong, St. James, San Francisco 

References: 

80th General Convention resolutions concerning Environmental Stewardship & Care of Creation, and particularly A088 Commit to the Pressing Work of Addressing Global Climate Change and Environmental Justice   https://www.vbinder.net/resolutions/88?house=HD&lang=en

The 170th Diocese of California Resolution 5 “Single-Use Non-Biodegradable Plastics”* (no link available)

The 79th General Convention resolution C063 (Advocate for Ocean Health) calls for us to deepen our understanding of and commitment to Ocean Health Work as Christian communities through prayer and study and to then act to support and advance Ocean Health Work including, when appropriate, in partnership with ecumenical, interfaith, and non-governmental organizations. https://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/acts/acts_search.pl

Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

New York Times, “California Requires Plastics Makers to Foot the Bill for Recycling” https://tinyurl.com/2du3vcb5

What to Know About California’s Landmark Plastics Law

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/05/us/california-plastics-law.html?auth=login-google1tap&login=google1tap

Plastic Wars, PBS documentary

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/documentary/plastic-wars/

Microplastics: Trouble in the Food Chain, a report of United Nations Environment Programme

https://wesr.unep.org/media/docs/early_warning/microplastics.pdf