On Earth Day, St. Joan of Arc celebrates zero waste efforts

| April 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

 

EcoSpirits volunteers Pat Ballard, left, and Pat Wasser, depositing organic cups, plates napkins and utensils into a composting bin at St. Joan of Arc’s 2017 cabaret event. Courtesy ZeroWaste committee

A group of St. Joan of Arc parishioners in Minneapolis is seeking to make trash bags lose weight.

They will share their success story on Earth Day April 22 with a video about how they helped the parish’s annual cabaret net only 38 pounds of garbage last fall. They hope their efforts attract and are helpful beyond the parish.

“My interest in doing it was to make it a … training thing for other people who could see what we do and know that it’s accessible to them,” said Jeff Grosscup, a ZeroWaste committee member and leader in making the video.

Part of the EcoSpirits environmental justice group at St. Joan of Arc, ZeroWaste group members worked with the parish’s October cabaret committee to provide renewable resources for the three-night fundraising event, which draws up to 1,600 people. ZeroWaste volunteers also assisted at the cabaret to help ensure objects such as compostable plates would be disposed of in the proper bin instead of a garbage can.

Grosscup said the group aims for no waste, but it still typically gets 2 to 3 percent. That 38 pounds of garbage from the 2017 cabaret comprised 3 percent of the material ZeroWaste processed, Grosscup said.

Renewable resources at the event included compostable plates, utensils, cups and napkins. The meal was served family style to cut down on wasted food and the number of serving dishes. The parish also used cloth tablecloths that could be washed, and the table centerpieces came from flattened maple leafs with a water soluble paste covering.

Grosscup credits St. Joan of Arc’s success to the availability for commercial composting in Minneapolis. He acknowledged that the process wouldn’t work as easily in communities without similar composting services. He has been working with Excelsior United Methodist Church in Excelsior on their process.

By making a video of St. Joan of Arc’s efforts, Grosscup hopes the parish will inspire other groups and individuals. It will be presented at St. Joan of Arc April 22 and is available on YouTube.

The St. Joan of Arc Cabaret began 25 years ago, and Zero Waste has been helping it go green since 2008.

“It’s always been recycling beer bottles and cans and plastic, and that’s the effort that most people make, but you won’t get to zero waste if you limit it to that,” Grosscup said.

Zero Waste’s influence has spread around the parish. Funeral luncheons and soup suppers have become more eco-friendly by using ceramics, and the funeral luncheons use the cloth table cloths. Coffee after Mass has veered from foam cups to compostable ones.

Southside Family Charter School, which uses St. Joan of Arc’s school property, has joined in the cause. Its students have been encouraged to use their own water bottles and avoid plastic ones.

“Those are all those little things that you just keep plugging away at,” Grosscup said.

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Category: Local News