Specialized Recycling Programs in Minnesota Congregation

Nativity Lutheran Church in suburban Minneapolis (St. Anthony) has had an active environmental stewardship team the past three years. Although many people are dedicated to recycling bottles and jars through their regular community recycling programs, the plastic caps are not recyclable through regular programs because of the kinds of plastic used in their manufacture. Nativity has collection containers for plastic bottle and jar caps, which are recycled through a program of the Aveda Corporation. Aveda melts and recycles the caps for its own products. Since the program began, Nativity has delivered approximately a half ton of caps to the Aveda plant in Blaine, MN.


In January 2008, the church implemented programs to reduce the use of paper. The order of service is shown on screens at the front of the church. A major newsletter is mailed only three times a year. And the weekly newsletter is emailed to congregation members. This has resulted in a savings of more than two tons of paper. The Environmental Defense Fund “paper calculator” estimates the reduction in energy demand as 60 million BTUs or about the same as an average U.S. household for 28 months.


Three times a year, the church presents a Sunday adult education program with an environmental focus. Topics have included household hazardous waste, rain gardens and stormwater management, water supply, water quality, environmental issues in the Minnesota Legislature, and discussions  based on the DVD “And God Saw That It was Good,” a study based on the PBS series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” In June 2010, the environmental stewardship team sponsored a “Bike, Walk, Carpool” weekend.


In November 2010, Nativity volunteered to be a collection site for “Recycle Your Holidays,” a holiday light collection program sponsored by the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) and others. The program collected nearly 200,000 pounds of old lights and provides 400 jobs for developmentally disabled adults throughout Minnesota. Nativity was the only collection site in the St. Anthony. RAM provided three collection bins, which were filled twice, and the church plans on participating again in 2011.

Lutherans Restoring Creation (LRC) is a grassroots movement within the ELCA seeking to foster care for God's good creation in all expressions of the church's life and mission. LRC is supported by grants from ELCA World Hunger and the Lutheran Community Foundation.