It started with a thought-provoking meeting back in October 2019 “Climate Change is a Jewish Issue.”
A good turnout and a lively discussion produced several proposed actions one of which, joining EcoSynagogue, was prioritised for 2020. EcoSynagogue (www.ecosynagogue.org) is designed to provide a practical and simple road map towards a net zero carbon future. This unique initiative spans the whole Jewish community with religious leadership from four denominations of Judaism. Rabbi Mark is the Reform Judaism representative on the Steering Group.
EcoSynagogue invites each participating synagogue to an online Environmental Audit which is a comprehensive survey of how we engage with the environment in our places of worship. The audit helps us to assess how we are doing and ways in which we can improve. The score will lead to a Bronze, Silver and ultimately Gold EcoSynagogue Award.
In May EHRS achieved a Bronze Award which we received at a special event held in Kew Gardens in July.
We plan to create a number of activities this year to bring environmental action into EHRS life. Hopefully, some of the excellent ideas first mooted back in 2019 will also come to fruition.
Please click here for our event schedule for 2023
Update February 2023
EHRS donated 7 trees to honour all the volunteers of the community.
On behalf of our eco-team Julie Tucker presented it to Shirley Lever,
one of our most senior volunteers at the communal Tu B’Shevat Seder.
EHRS Eco Tips
A while ago we gave some tips using natural ingredients to clean your home. Here’s a few more. Add 1/4 cup of White Vinegar to your washing machine fabric softener dispenser to soften clothes; clean your washing machine by putting 2 cups in the detergent dispenser and run it empty through a complete cycle on the hottest wash; spray it onto shower screens to remove water marks. Dilute 1/3rd White Vinegar with 2/3rds water add 3 pumps of washing up liquid and you have an eco friendly, all purpose, affordable spray cleaner. Oxygen bleach or Sodium Percarbonate disinfects, whitens whites, deodorises and remove stains and because it doesn’t contain chlorine bleaching agents it is safe for aquatic life. Bicarbonate of soda works well for removing baked on residue on pans and baking trays. Mix two tablespoons of Bicarbonate of Soda with hot water and a squeeze of washing up liquid to form a thick paste, apply to the pan and allow to soak for up to 20 minutes. Remove using a sponge or plant based scourer for a sparkling finish.
According to the PDSA, in 2022 there were 11.1 million pet cats and 10.2 million pet dogs in the UK. One of those cats is mine and while she is my world, just how green is she for our planet? Pet food is responsible for a staggering 25% of the resources involved in meat production. Dogs, in theory should be able to tolerate a vegetarian or even vegan diet. However, your dog needs a range of proteins and vitamins and the safest option is to consider feeding a mixed meat and vegetable diet. Cats, on the other hand are obligate carnivores. Only meat will do for them, but you can buy brands that are more environmentally friendly. Look for recognised ingredients especially if they are certified organic or locally sourced. Buy your pet food in tins, which is easiest to recycle or dry food in compostable bags. Of course what goes in also comes out! For your dogs use corn-starch poo bags which decompose the most successfully and for your cats use natural, sustainable sources of litter such as wood chip or plant based materials.
EHRS now has 2 types of recycling bins. One is for general waste. The other is labelled mixed recycling and is for cardboard, cartons, food tins, drink cans, glass bottles and jars, mixed paper, plastic bottles, tubs, pots and trays. You may have even more options where you live but, what do you do with the items that don’t fit your home recycling choices? Before you consign them to general waste and subsequently, landfill, check and see if you can recycle them elsewhere. A while ago we told you that you can now take plastic bags, wrapping, crisp packets, sweet and chocolate wrappers, cling film and pet food pouches to most major Supermarkets. You can also take pet food pouches to your local branch of Pets at Home. Superdrug will take empty blister packs and the Recycle at Boots scheme has been set up to take those hard to recycle beauty, healthcare and wellness products that cannot be put in home recycling. Coffee pods and capsules can be recycled through Podback, click here to find out more. Most opticians will take unwanted glasses and Help the Aged and Age Concern will take used hearing aids. For more options try the Recycle Now website click here, and if you like the idea that your unwanted stuff could raise money for charity, check out Recycling for Good Causes, click here.
Stop waste. Stop waste of any kind. Stop wasting energy, stop wasting food, stop wasting plastic and stop wasting time. This is a precious world and each of us can use our actions and our voice to save our planet.” - David Attenborough
According to WWF by 2050 there could be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Our throwaway culture cannot continue. So what can we do? First, stop and think before reaching for the familiar, ask yourself if there is a sustainable alternative and avoid single use items wherever possible. Here are a few swaps you could try. Swap clingfilm for beeswax or soy wax wraps. Swap teabags for loose leaf tea. Swap liquid soap and shampoo for solid versions. Swap plastic toothbrushes for those made from bamboo or treat yourself to an electric toothbrush (preferably one made from recycled plastic which doesn’t use removable batteries). Swap wet wipes for bamboo versions or use washable cotton cloths or, at the very least, use biodegradable ones. There are also bamboo versions of cotton buds. If everyone made just a few adjustments to their everyday buying habits it would make a big difference.