Environmental Stewardship

The Environmental Stewardship Work Area helps us become responsible stewards of God's creation, and care for humankind. We

  • Provide environmental education
  • Encourage individual and corporate green living habits
  • Help the church take steps to make our facilities more energy efficient and earth friendly
  • Provide avenues for environmental social action

Battery Recycling - Where Can You Recycle and What Must You Recycle?

Battery Recycling    
Improperly disposed batteries may produce the following potential problems or hazards: pollute lakes and streams as the metals vaporize into the air when burned, contribute hazardous heavy metals that infiltrate our water supply, expose the environment and water to lead and acid, contain strong corrosive acids, cause burns or danger to eyes and skin.  All of these are a high cost to individuals and society.

An excellent website that gives recycling information for all types of batteries and many other recyclable items is http://earth911.com/. Not only does this website provide information on specific products, it provides locations near your home where you can take your recyclable items. 

Each of us can make a difference and collectively we can change the world for the better. 

Alkaline Batteries
Mercury has been the major concern with alkaline batteries, but in 1996 Federal law changed for regular alkaline batteries requiring that they contain no mercury.  IL EPA apparently agrees that alkaline batteries are not very toxic, because they do not contain mercury.  Most people, including disposal companies, assume that after 16 years the mercury batteries have worked their way out of the system and it is okay to put them trash.  However, it is still much better to recycle these single-use, alkaline batteries.  In 2010 battery manufacturers, Rayovac, Panasonic, Duracell and Energizer committed to a nationwide program aimed at improving the recycling of household batteries.  Together, these four companies launched the non-profit Corporation for Battery Recycling (CBR) that has studied how to improve the recycling of batteries in the United States so that it is both environmentally sound and cost-effective.  Although some places no longer collect these single-use, alkaline batteries, local Walgreens Drug stores and the COM2 Recycling Solutions Collection Center, 87 W 61st St., Westmont, IL 60559 [(630) 434-1250] still collect and recycle these batteries as well as many other batteries.

Rechargeable batteries
All rechargeable batteries are considered toxic.  They contain mercury, lead, lithium, silver, cadmium and other metals that are hazardous to the environment and humans.  All of these should be disposed through recycling channels to minimize the effect on the environment and humans.  Local Walgreens Drug stores and the COM2 Recycling Solutions Collection Center mentioned in the preceding paragraph collect and recycle these batteries. 

Lead Acid Batteries - Automotive and Non-automotive
Nearly 99 million wet-cell, lead-acid car batteries are manufactured each year.  A typical lead-acid battery contains 60 to 80 percent recycled lead and plastic.  It is vital that we recycle these batteries so that the hazardous lead does not enter the environment.  Home Depot, Advance Auto Parts, O'Reilly Auto Parts and other auto parts stores collect and recycle these batteries.  
With the increase in hybrid vehicles, Toyota has started hybrid battery recycling program.  While traditional vehicles use lead-acid batteries, hybrid cars typically also incorporate a separate nickel metal hydride or Lithium-ion  battery to generate electric power.

In addition to the website http://earth911.com/, the below websites provide excellent information on battery recycling, including types of batteries that are not mentioned in this article. 
(1) http://www.batteryrecycling.com/
(2) http://www.batteryrecycling.com/battery+recycling+process
(3) http://www.batteriesplus.com/t-metro-chicago.aspx?its=googleadwords&campaign=chicago&adgroup=services&keyword=battery%20recycling
(4) http://www.call2recycle.org/
(5) http://illinoispoisoncenter.org/ipc_media/pdf/RecyclingHP.pdf

Going Green with Your Vehicle - Are You Ready?

Environmental StewardshipIf you are like many, the idea of going green with your vehicle is appealing, but the challenge of understanding the technologies and picking out the right vehicle feels a bit overwhelming. You may be asking:

  • What is the difference between an electric vehicle and a hybrid?
  • What happens to the battery at the end of it's life?
  • What is the true lifecycle cost of these vehicles and will I really save any money in the long run?
  • What is my true environmental impact if I choose one of these vehicles?

If you would like to hear the answers to these questions, please join us on Wednesday, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 213, where Ken Poindexter, church member and retired 40+ year employee at Electro-Motive Diesel/GM will lead a discussion about green vehicle technologies.

This program follows earlier Environmental Stewardship programs on choosing an alternative electricity provider, installing renewable energy systems and practical ways to reduce energy consumption in your home.

Location: 
Room 213
Date: 
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 7:00pm

Environmental Studies at DGFUMC and at Home

The Environmental Stewardship Work Area at DGFUMC took responsibility for an area on the church's grounds over the past year to maintain its landscaping and vegetation.  This area (south of the main parking lot between the main entrance and exit) is visible to everyone from Maple Street and is seen as everyone enters/exits the main parking lot from Maple.  Over the past year our group has planted more than a dozen Choral Bells, put down mulch, and ensured those pesky weeds don't overtake the tulips, bushes, or other plants.   

One new endeavor our group has undertaken is studying the effects of different weed prevention methods.  In a small area, about 6' x 18' surrounded by grass, we've put down commercial weed matting and wet newspaper, both covered with mulch, to study the potential varying effects of each type of weed prevention method.  Also, what study would be complete without a control?  To allow for an unbiased estimate in the difference in treatment effects we've put an area with nothing but mulch on the dirt in between the weed matting and newspaper prevention methods.  Over this summer our group members will rotate every two weeks to monitor the area to observe and report which areas had the most/least amount of weeds.  From there we'll continue remove the weeds and in the end will report back to the church with a method that may be more effective and worth implementing in other areas around the church.  

Studies like this are simple, thought provoking, great for the summer, and encourage children to spend their time outdoors.  Parents can discuss what they think will "win" with their children and track the progress together.  Children can relate what they may be learning at school with their own home.  Consider such studies as this, making compost, making a small biodome, or tracking the growth of different seeds that you plant together.  A great book with over 90 environmentally friendly activities to encourage the understanding and appreciation of the earth and other living things is Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children (Carol Petrash, July/1992).  By setting up such environmental projects together you'll be helping the environment, spending time outdoors, and opening doors of thought and communication.

12 Ways to Save Energy

Finding energy efficiency improvements in your home has been shown to be the most cost-effective way to reduce our energy use and capture cost savings. At the same time, one will achieve improvement to the environment by reducing the pollution that is released when electricity is produced or fossil fuels burned. Energy costs have been and are projected to keep increasing. Jesus taught us to love your neighbor as yourself. By reducing our energy consumption we can demonstrate love to our neighbors by reducing toxic air emissions better protecting public health and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping to mitigate the climate chaos created by such emissions. In our nation alone last year we had at least a dozen severe weather events that each resulted in over a billion dollars in adverse economic impact to our nation plus the loss of many lives.

On Sunday March 11, 2012 we enjoyed a discussion on 12 easy and practical ways to reduce energy consumption in your home. James Cavallo, Principal at Kouba- Cavallo Associates and a former research economist at Argonne National Laboratory, led a discussion on how to conduct a simple energy audit of your home's energy use and how to implement simple yet meaningful measures to reduce energy consumption and realize significant savings in your energy bills. This program followed earlier Environmental Stewardship programs on choosing an alternative electricity provider and installing solar and geothermal renewable energy systems.

A copy of the presentation is available below.

12 Ways to Save Energy, Money and Protect Our Environment

Finding energy efficiency improvements in your home has been shown to be the most cost-effective way to reduce our energy use and capture cost savings. At the same time, one will achieve improvement to the environment by reducing the pollution that is released when electricity is produced or fossil fuels burned. Energy costs have been and are projected to keep increasing. Jesus taught us to love your neighbor as yourself. By reducing our energy consumption we can demonstrate love to our neighbors by reducing toxic air emissions better protecting public health and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping to mitigate the climate chaos created by such emissions. In our nation alone last year we had at least a dozen severe weather events that each resulted in over a billion dollars in adverse economic impact to our nation plus the loss of many lives.

Join us on Sunday March 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM in room 213 for a discussion on 12 easy and practical ways to reduce energy consumption in your home. James Cavallo, Principal at Kouba- Cavallo Associates and a former research economist at Argonne National Laboratory, will lead a discussion on how to conduct a simple energy audit of your homes energy use and how to implement simple yet meaningful measures to reduce energy consumption and realize significant savings in your energy bills. This program follows earlier Environmental Stewardship programs on choosing an alternative electricity provider and installing solar and geothermal renewable energy systems.

Location: 
Room 213
Date: 
Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 11:00am

Caring for Creation by Running Your Electric Meter Backwards

As Christians, we are all charged with the responsibility to care for our planet. New alternate energy technologies have an important role in helping the nation become energy independent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, as fossil fuel energy costs increase, reduce residential energy costs. Whether you design a new home or wish to improve the energy efficiency of your existing home, solar energy and other technologies are rapidly developing into cost effective sustainable energy resources. Among these technologies are solar collectors, solar hot water systems, heat storage vaults, ground source heat pumps, photovoltaic electricity and solar panels. On January 15, 2012 we learned firsthand from Michael Moats and Lois Salle about alternate energy technologies that can be used in your home now. Michael has built a home about one block from our church that uses these technologies. A link to their presentation is below. We are planning for a meeting at our church in March to talk more about ways to retrofit your existing home to make it more energy efficient. The Power of One is real. If we each do something, together we can make a real difference!

Small Electronics Recycling Fundraiser - Thank you and keep the items coming!

As you know, the Environmental Stewardship Work Area is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Thus far we have raised about $85. We are simply asking you to protect the environment by donating your used cell phones and small consumer electronics. Your used items(s) may be tax deductible and will be recycled in accordance with EPA regulations. 100% of the proceeds will help fund the First United Methodist Church's change over to more environmentally friendly and economical light fixtures and lighting.

We are currently collecting the following items: cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, digital video cameras, handheld game systems, MP3 players, GPS devices, and electronic book readers.

Note: Please do not include any accessories (rechargers, ear buds, etc.) with your donations.

Drop off any of the above items you would like to recycle at the Collection Bin on the table in the Church Office on the second floor.

Small Electronics Recycling Fundraiser - Thank you and keep the items coming!

As you know, the Environmental Stewardship Work Area is conducting a recycling fundraiser. Thus far we have raised about $85. We are simply asking you to protect the environment by donating your used cell phones and small consumer electronics. Your used items(s) may be tax deductible and will be recycled in accordance with EPA regulations. 100% of the proceeds will help fund the First United Methodist Church's change over to more environmentally friendly and economical light fixtures and lighting.

We are currently collecting the following items: cell phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, digital video cameras, handheld game systems, MP3 players, GPS devices, and electronic book readers.

Note: Please do not include any accessories (rechargers, ear buds, etc.) with your donations.

Drop off any of the above items you would like to recycle at the Collection Bin on the table in the Church Office on the second floor.

A New Illinois Law Affects Us All

A new Illinois law governing the disposal of electronic items became effective January 1, 2012. Details on this law can be found at: http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/electronic-waste-recycling/index.html and http://www.dupageco.org/recycling/

The Environmental Stewardship Work Area views this change in the law very favorably. It requires responsible disposal of items that are hazardous to the environment. As a church and as individuals, we must ensure that we comply with the law. Any person who violates the this new law can be fined $7000. The electronic items which are under the new disposal ban are: televisions, monitors, printers, computers (including tablet computers - Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office! ), electronic keyboards, facsimile machines, video cassette recorders, portable digital music players (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), digital video disc players, video game consoles, small scale servers, scanners, electronic mice, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, satellite receivers, and digital video and disk recorders. These items must be taken to approved electronics recycling locations. (A link to a complete list of acceptable items is on the Going Green section of our church's website.)

Below are two electronics recycling locations with monthly drop off times. You do not need to be a Downers Grove or Westmont resident to be able to drop off items.
The Village of Downers Grove and Creative Recycling offer electronics recycling on the first Saturday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The drop-off location is at Village Hall, 801 Burlington Ave., in the employee parking lot at the rear of the building, off Curtiss St.
The Downers Grove Township Highway Department accepts electronics from 8:00 a.m. to Noon on the third Saturday of the month (except holiday weekends) at 318 E. Quincy, Westmont.

Items accepted include: Computers and peripherals including laptops (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), monitors, flat panels, keyboards, mice, cable, printers, external hard drives, tape drives, network and communication hardware, data center equipment including power distribution units and uninterrupted-power-supply systems, office and telecommunication equipment including copiers, fax machines, phone systems, cell phones (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), hand-held devices (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), TVs, calculators, beepers, videotapes, typewriters and projection, audio, video and security equipment.

Items not accepted are those with hazardous waste, radioactive waste, biohazardous waste or mercury containing devices . For example, light bulbs (fluorescent or Incandescent), car batteries, thermostats (mercury containing ones), and smoke alarms are not accepted.

Locations Where You Can Recycle Other Common Items
Household Batteries: The Downers Grove Park District accepts the following batteries at the Recreation Center, 4500 Belmont Rd.: alkaline, carbon zinc, nickel iron, nickel-metal hybrid, nickel cadmium and zinc air. Only AA, AAA, C and D and rechargeable batteries are accepted. No rechargeable power tool or automobile batteries are accepted.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL’s): The following retailers accept CFL bulbs for recycling: (There is no fee for this service, however, broken bulbs cannot be accepted.)
Kin-ko Ace Hardware, 6216 Main St, Downers Grove, (630) 968-4355
Home Depot, 2000 Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove, (630) 792-9600
Home Depot, 2101 W. 75th St., Darien, (630) 271-9600
Home Depot, 7200 Woodward Ave., Woodridge (630) 795-1950
IKEA, 750 Boughton Rd., Bolingbrook, (630) 972-7900

A New Illinois Law Affects Us All

A new Illinois law governing the disposal of electronic items became effective January 1, 2012. Details on this law can be found at: http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/electronic-waste-recycling/index.html and http://www.dupageco.org/recycling/

The Environmental Stewardship Work Area views this change in the law very favorably. It requires responsible disposal of items that are hazardous to the environment. As a church and as individuals, we must ensure that we comply with the law. Any person who violates the this new law can be fined $7000. The electronic items which are under the new disposal ban are: televisions, monitors, printers, computers (including tablet computers - Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office! ), electronic keyboards, facsimile machines, video cassette recorders, portable digital music players (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), digital video disc players, video game consoles, small scale servers, scanners, electronic mice, digital converter boxes, cable receivers, satellite receivers, and digital video and disk recorders. These items must be taken to approved electronics recycling locations. (A link to a complete list of acceptable items is on the Going Green section of our church's website.)

Below are two electronics recycling locations with monthly drop off times. You do not need to be a Downers Grove or Westmont resident to be able to drop off items.
The Village of Downers Grove and Creative Recycling offer electronics recycling on the first Saturday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The drop-off location is at Village Hall, 801 Burlington Ave., in the employee parking lot at the rear of the building, off Curtiss St.
The Downers Grove Township Highway Department accepts electronics from 8:00 a.m. to Noon on the third Saturday of the month (except holiday weekends) at 318 E. Quincy, Westmont.

Items accepted include: Computers and peripherals including laptops (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), monitors, flat panels, keyboards, mice, cable, printers, external hard drives, tape drives, network and communication hardware, data center equipment including power distribution units and uninterrupted-power-supply systems, office and telecommunication equipment including copiers, fax machines, phone systems, cell phones (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), hand-held devices (Please put these in our Collection Bin in the Church Office!), TVs, calculators, beepers, videotapes, typewriters and projection, audio, video and security equipment.

Items not accepted are those with hazardous waste, radioactive waste, biohazardous waste or mercury containing devices . For example, light bulbs (fluorescent or Incandescent), car batteries, thermostats (mercury containing ones), and smoke alarms are not accepted.

Locations Where You Can Recycle Other Common Items
Household Batteries: The Downers Grove Park District accepts the following batteries at the Recreation Center, 4500 Belmont Rd.: alkaline, carbon zinc, nickel iron, nickel-metal hybrid, nickel cadmium and zinc air. Only AA, AAA, C and D and rechargeable batteries are accepted. No rechargeable power tool or automobile batteries are accepted.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL’s): The following retailers accept CFL bulbs for recycling: (There is no fee for this service, however, broken bulbs cannot be accepted.)
Kin-ko Ace Hardware, 6216 Main St, Downers Grove, (630) 968-4355
Home Depot, 2000 Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove, (630) 792-9600
Home Depot, 2101 W. 75th St., Darien, (630) 271-9600
Home Depot, 7200 Woodward Ave., Woodridge (630) 795-1950
IKEA, 750 Boughton Rd., Bolingbrook, (630) 972-7900

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