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Going Zero–Waste

Peter Grier, 27/02/20

Christians throughout history have often taken the lead in various fields, causes and campaigns around justice. Whether it’s lobbying to change structures in society or hundreds of people at grassroots level taking small actions, we’re determined to join God in His heartbeat for our world. One way we hope to do that is by going Zero–Waste at Equip over the next few years…

Going Zero–Waste

Suggesting we care for the environment with things like attempting to go “zero–waste” has provoked various reactions across the Christian spectrum in CUs in the last year.

  1. Some raise an eyebrow – what is this zero–waste thing you mention?
  2. Some roll their eyes – haven’t we got more important things to do, like proclaiming the gospel and helping people meet Jesus?
  3. Some shrug – why twiddle our fingers while the world burns? Doesn’t the Bible say it’ll all be burned up anyway, so why worry?
  4. Some laugh – us going zero–waste will never solve our climate crisis! We need structures in society and the world to change.
  5. Some engage – this sounds like a good thing to do, right? But it seems nearly impossible!

What is ‘zero–waste’?

To be zero–waste is exactly what it sounds! It’s an attempt to refuse to buy as much, reduce, reuse, recycle, (and rot) to the extent of not having any waste at all. Even much of what we send to recycling, doesn’t get there, and so some of this will be about reducing what we buy. Sound too hard to do? Got questions? We’ll come to those.

Gaining Perspective – does this world matter?

If you know anything of the CU mission–teams on campus, you’ll know that we care passionately about the proclamation of the gospel, and seeing people find eternal refuge in Jesus. It’s why we run EQUIP. And as diverse, evangelical mission teams, from all sorts of backgrounds, we have slightly different views of what will happen at the end of the world. But despite these things, I think we can agree that God is sovereign over his creation, and we are still called to care for the world God has commanded us to look after. Here’s two resources to help you think through those questions:

  • Our previous CUI director, Dr David “Monty” Montgomery spoke at a local church on the topic recently. You can find the audio for that here.
  • Our worldwide family “IFES” produced some written resources from across the world on the topic here. They are not definitive papers, or what we all believe, but helpful starters for discussion.

God’s mission is not simply to pluck souls from our physical world and put them into an ethereal existence forever in some super–spiritual realm. The physical matters, and so does the world He made.

Do our actions matter?

On the fourth question, we don’t have a political or climate expert on our staff team at the moment, but are confident that that attitudes that we have for our world, should echo God’s heart and commands, even if it seems fruitless. Our voice will mean more, if we are seen to act sacrificially ourselves. Even the process of going zero–waste is helpful in connecting us back to our earth, reminding us where things came from, and helping us live life less shaped by simply feeding our convenience, material desires and comfort.

Join us

So, as Equip attempts to go zero–waste over the next 3 years, we’re asking you to be part of that journey, helping us along, learning from each other (and from our non–Christian friends), and hopefully bringing about a wider change across our island as we do so. We trust that our doing so, will be done with a weeping over our broken world, a yearning for the world to come, and an awareness that we are not the saviours of this broken world, and that we know One who is. What a beautiful good news picture to hold out to a protesting world!

What does that mean for us?

For the Planning Team

The students and staff on Planning Team have as many unknowns about this as you might! It’s a work in progress. We’re meeting up regularly with those who know more than we do, and taking baby steps at outlining a longer schedule of action. We know that we as humans don’t immediately click with all change, and so we want to be realistic about this. We’ll be meeting our suppliers, the Castle team and the Forest Park Team to chat through a realistic time–frame for change. We also have some left–over stock from previous years, which we’ll be using up (rather than letting that go to waste).

For the Resource Tent Exhibitors

We’ll be asking you in year 2 to help us on this by not handing out anything that is not recyclable. Really think you need to hand out flyers? Make them ones without shiny plastic coating. Giving out sweets? Bring ones without wrappers. Have things on your table? Make sure they can be re–used over time please.

For the students

Year 1 is easy - we're online!

We’ll be trying to make recycling and composting facilities as readily available as we can in year 2, and ask that you do your best to use them. Where possible, why not think about reducing the packaging you bring to the camping site to start with? As zero–waste stores and markets start to open in cities and towns across our island, nudging larger businesses to act accordingly, we’ll find this easier. We’ll release some top tips soon and hope to have a beeswax wrap–making workshop during the week, for those wanting to avoid clingfilm and plastic wrappings.

Got questions, suggestions or comments? Why not email us at: equip at