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Recycling and the Use of Recycled Products

In Genesis 1:26-28, 2:7 and Psalm 8:6, God created all people in God's image, and gave them responsibility for creation. The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church state: "all creation is the Lord's and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it" and that as Christians we are called to "place a higher priority on changes in economic, political, social, and technological lifestyle to support a more ecologically equitable and sustainable world leading to a higher quality of life for all of God's creation" (Social Principles ¶ 160). As members of God's human community, we are called to be stewards of the land.

Unfortunately, humankind too often has neglected this sacred duty and chosen instead to misuse God's gifts of creation through overconsumption and wasteful practices. Today, earth's precious resources are threatened by our actions with millions of acres of forests disappearing each year along with thousands of animal and plant species. Given the projected increase in population and economic development, we must take immediate and decisive action to reverse these patterns.

In addition to reducing consumption and reusing materials in lieu of purchasing new ones, recycling is an important and easy step toward a more sustainable future.

Since 1972 the General Conference has requested boards and agencies to use recycled paper and since 1996, the General Conference has called for a phase-out of the production of dioxin, a carcinogenic byproduct of the bleaching of pulp and paper with chlorine. The use of recycled and chlorine-free paper products saves trees, reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, lowers water pollution, and reduces the amount of dioxin released into the environment.

Therefore, The United Methodist Church recommends that:

  • United Methodist general boards, agencies and publishers use recycled and "processed chlorine free" paper;
  • United Methodist publishers continue to report to subsequent General Conferences on progress made toward achieving this goal;
  • United Methodist agencies and congregations educate the public and promote awareness of the benefits of recycling on the environment; and
  • United Methodist agencies and congregations participate in all available recycling programs and advocate for their expansion.

ADOPTED 2000
REVISED AND READOPTED 2008
RESOLUTION #1030, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #14, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #13, 2000 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

See Social Principles, ¶ 160.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2012. Copyright © 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

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