For Our Earth Home

Unity Earth Care is a ministry at USCW with a twofold purpose:

  • to help out fellow congregants, to inform and inspire you to take positive ecological actions in your everyday lives.
  • To be a force for positive change in our church, to identify and champion ways to implement environmental “best practices” within all aspects of our church operations.
Unity Earth Care

Unity Earth Care Team

March 21 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every month that begins at 11:00 am on day Third of the month, repeating indefinitely

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Unity EarthCare recognizes the sacredness of creation and provides the bridge to loving care for creation as a foundation for everyday living on Earth. Unity EarthCare is a spiritual social action program of Unity Worldwide Ministries.  unity EarthCare at USCW is certified by the Worldwide International team. Unity EarthCare is run by a dedicated team of volunteers.  Our activities include:

  • Teaching the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

  • Running a recycling center

  • Publishing a “Tip of the month”

  • Presenting an annual Earth Day service

  • Showing earth care related, motivational films

  • And much more…

Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock proudly declares our spiritual connection with our Earth home and all of creation.

This Covenant is a tangible affirmation of our sacred commitment to an ecological foundation that informs our organizational and personal actions. Our commitment is grounded in the Unity movement’s five principles; our Center’s vision, mission and core values; and the long philosophy of spiritual devotion for nature that started with Unity cofounders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.

Our commitment is further grounded in the Biblical call for humankind to be eternally responsible stewards of creation, and in the imperatives to use all twelve powers in taking positive actions today so that there may be future generations.

We envision a world in which everything has intrinsic value and where all beings are assured a secure and meaningful life that is ecologically responsible and sustainable. We create this world through the fullest engagement of our souls, minds and bodies.

We declare our covenant with God to walk upon the Earth for the greatest good of all creation.

As a service to congregants, we accept the following materials in the denoted containers for recycling

  • Giant batteries: Any type of battery
  • Giant shoe: Any type of shoe, boot or sandal; not limited to just “gym shoes”
  • Fabric unit with pull-out drawers: Audio/Visual media; each drawer is labeled for audio CDs, DVDs, audio cassettes and VHS video cassettes
  • Green bin: Inkjet Cartridges (but no toner cartridges)

Note: Inkjet cartridges are sent to the Planet Green program, a fundraiser for Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock. Planet Green formerly also accepted a number of types of small electronic items, but no longer does. We can no longer accept those for recycling.

Additionally, there are blue recycling bins in our building. A large one is in the Fellowship area, just to the left of the coffee serving table. It’s next to a trash can; please carefully put only accepted materials in the recycling bin and all else in the trash.

The following materials are appropriate for the blue bins for the City of Woodstock recycling curbside program contracted through MDC Environmental Services, Inc.:


  • Recyclable plastic products are identifiable by the three-arrow triangle surrounding a number and the plastic type abbreviation.
  • Look for these: #1 PETE, #2 HDPE, #3 PVC or Vinyl, #4 LDPE, #5 PP
  • Some examples: Peanut butter jars, ketchup/salad dressing bottles, yogurt tubs and milk jugs.

Other Food Containers

  • Glass jars and bottles (without the lids)
  • Aluminum and Steel Containers
  • Some examples: Aluminum cans, steel cans (most canned foods), foil and pie plates.
  • Also: Tetra packs (juice boxes) and milk/juice cartons

Paper and Cardboard

  • Paper: Some examples include printer and other plain paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, slick advertisements, envelopes (including windowed)
  • Cardboard: Some examples include frozen food boxes, paperboard carrying boxes for soda and beer, cereal and other dry food boxes, notepad backs, paper towels and toilet paper cores, and corrugated boxes flattened into pieces that are no larger than 2×2 feet (no food contamination allowed).
Unity Worldwide Ministries Earth Care
McHenry County Green Guide

Tip of the Month

Unity EarthCare gives you a Tip of the Month, tangible small actions you can take to green up your personal life.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the MonthPlastic youth ministry

February, 2021

There are changes to curbside recycling guidelines! Local governments, waste haulers and recycling materials processors are requesting that we change some habits in what and how we place items into the bins for curbside pickup.

For this month, we’ll focus on plastics, with other updates to be sprinkled into Tips of the Month throughout the year of 2021.

  • Keep plastic lids on plastic containers when putting into your recycling
    • Previously we advised to place an empty plastic container into the recycling without the lid attached.
    • If the lid was large, e.g., mayonnaise, sour cream, cottage cheese, bulk yogurt, etc., we would throw the lid in separately. Now, please put the lid back on first.
    • If the lid was small, e.g., soda bottles, salad dressings, etc., we would dispose of the lid into garbage because they’re too small for the sorting machines. Coffeemate youth ministry Now, these lids too can be recycled but only if attached to the original container.
    • This new guideline even applies when the container and its lid are both plastic, but clearly made from different kinds of plastic – one soft and one solid.
    • Think of the aforementioned soda bottles, as well as coffee creamers, grated parmesan cheese cannisters, etc. It’s counterintuitive to us veteran recyclers, but it’s what the processors want now.

Thank you for your flexibility!

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

January 2021

Dispose of used facemasks mindfully

We are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and therefore wearing face coverings when away from home (shopping, etc.). Some facemasks are intended for single use, while others are intended for using multiple times. But even good cloth

masks may eventually wear out and require disposal.

  • One small action to take before disposing a face mask:
    • Use scissors to cut through the ear straps.
    • This is to prevent wildlife from becoming entangled by the small loops created by uncut mask ear straps.
    • It’s much like cutting through plastic six-pack aluminum can rings.
  • Can facemasks be recycled?
    • Unfortunately, single-use masks are considered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are assumed to be contaminated.
    • In concept, cloth apparel can be recycled. But even cloth m asks need care, because they too would be considered potentially hazardous to recycling facility staff. And textile recycling is still very rare, so most likely you’ll have to discard them when they’re no longer usable. Be sure to cut through the ear straps!
  • The birdies and their friends thank you!

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

December, 2020

Give the gift of less stuff

We neither can or should avoid all material goods – stuff. We do need some stuff to live our lives. For this Christmas especially, let’s see if we can cut back a bit on the amount of stuff we buy to give as gifts. This is the second of two monthly tips to encourage a more ecological approach to gift giving as we approach the end of 2020. In November, we encouraged you to Shop Local!

This month, we look at gift possibilities that use less stuff.

  • Why reduce physical stuff?
  • Lower the harmful impact of the chemical emissions involved in the manufacturing and shipping of physical gifts.
  • Studies have shown that people value experiences over material objects.

As our family holiday gatherings will likely be smaller and more “virtual” during this continuing pandemic, you just may be looking for alternatives to hauling bagful’s of wrapped gifts. And speaking of “virtual,” consider:

  • Donate to a worthy charitable organization. Some ecological organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund or the Sierra Club, give you the opportunity to “adopt” an endangered or other animal species. And while it may violate a strict “no stuff” policy, it’s okay with our “less stuff” tip to have a stuffed animal sent to the recipient – perhaps a child.
  • A gift certificate for an experience. Perhaps your loved one would enjoy a massage or wine tasting.
  • Give the gift of a class. Many folks would appreciate learning yoga, composting, Zentangle, vegan cooking or much more. Some classes are even offered online; no need to venture out in our future post-pandemic times.
  • Give of your time and talent. Use your skills to craft something or build a garden. The possibilities are endless.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

November, 2020

Shop Local!

We are approaching the Christmas holiday season. Although our holiday get-togethers may look quite different from the norm due to the continuing pandemic, gift exchanges will likely remain high on many of our agendas. This is the first of two monthly tips to encourage a more ecological approach to gift giving as we approach the end of 2020.

  • You may have heard the expression “Shop Local” or heard about “Small Business Saturday.” Here’s some information and inspiration to help put the practice into reality:
  • Patronize locally owned small stores and boutiques
    • Shop small: Think independent businesses when you think of shopping small. Boutique or consignment clothing stores, toy stores, gift shops, hardware stores, salons/spas, restaurants, and sports equipment stores are just a few examples of owner-run businesses where you can find great gifts.
    • In many cases, these shops feature jewelry, artwork, clothing and more that has been created by local residents whose craft talents are their business.
    • Buying locally helps grow other businesses as well as our region’s tax base.
  • Decrease the emissions created from national and international shipping
    • Locally made goods that are sold locally don’t need much transportation.
    • Even patronizing local chain stores can have a large environmental impact. Many products are main in China and go through considerable wasteful transport with the resultant pollution and carbon emissions.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

October, 2020

What to do with your used books

 During the pandemic of 2020, you may have purchased books online to help keep yourself productively busy. Our September, 2019 tip encouraged you to buy used books, but now we have the opposite situation. You may have an overflow of books! Here are some ideas on what to do:

  • Share with others
    • Consider a “book exchange” with friends, swapping books to give you fresh ones to read.
    • Leave books in a Little Free Library. Visit https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap
    • Release them “into the wild” through https://www.bookcrossing.com/
    • You bought books online; now sell them online through websites Ebay or Craigslist.
  • Consider donating your books (this is an expansion of some ideas from the September, 2019 Tip of the Month)
    • Donate spiritually oriented books to our own Lending Library (in the Power room)
    • The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County operate two used book stores as fundraisers for this wonderful nonprofit organization.
      • A short walk from church to the Woodstock Square Mall (110 South Johnson Street) brings you to the Green Spot. 
      • In downtown Crystal Lake (61 North Williams Street) is the Defenders’ more upscale store, the Green Read. Gently used books are accepted. (Check the Defenders’ website http://mcdef.org for hours and details.)
    • Charitable organizations in our area also accept donations of books. Consider bringing some to Savers, Sparrows Nest or Goodwill.
    • Books that have “been through the wringer” (worn out, loose pages, heavily outlined, etc.) may as a final resort be recycled as with other paper. Remove covers first.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

September, 2020

What NOT to put into your compost?

  • This is the third in a series of composting tips.
    • July, 2020, we encouraged you to start composting (if you weren’t already), and dove into knowing what composting is and general ways to do it.
    • August, 2020, we focused on what organic items are the best to put into your outdoor compost bin or pile.
    • This month, we help you optimize your composting success with some tips on what kinds of organic waste you should consider disposing of other than by adding to your compost bin.
  • If your municipality includes a yard waste pickup service, whether through large paper bags or a designated container, please take advantage of that for the “hard to compost” items listed below. They will take the contents to a large-scale “industrial” compost facility which can go far beyond what we can accomplish in our households.


  • Please consider putting these items into the yard waste bag or container:
    • Walnuts, including walnut shells (This may seem counter-intuitive, but walnuts contain a chemical that keeps them from composting at the household level. This is overcome by the high heat of industrial composting.)
    • Other hard materials: 
      • Most other nut shells, e.g. almond and pistachio shells. Peanut shells surprisingly also don’t compost well – unless you manually grind them down to small pieces.
      • Pits from stone fruits, e.g. peaches and nectarines. But go ahead and throw cherry pits and stems into your home compost.
      • “Woody” materials, such as twigs, branches, wood mulch and the like.

Surprise: You CAN compost corn cobs! Within a few weeks, they get soft enough to crush!

  • Watch out for these nonorganic items that should go into your trash, NOT into compost:
    • Those little labels on grocery store produce. 
    • Stones, rocks and pebbles.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

May, 2020


May is an ideal time to start a garden or to work on an existing one. At the time of this monthly Tip, the Corona virus COVID-19 pandemic is keeping us close to home. And gardening is a significant environmental action to do at home.

  • Growing vegetables, culinary herbs and even fruit can help later this summer to healthfully feed yourself.
    • As of May 1, 2020, the state of Illinois is allowing garden shops and plant nurseries to reopen as essential businesses.
    • Of course, continue to observe social distancing, wear a face mask and take all other appropriate precautions while shopping.
  • Most of us have a back yard where you can start a small garden area.
    • If you’ve never gardened before, start small.
    • Especially if you have a sunny area, buy a couple of tomato plants. They grow almost despite our caring for them. A small seedling will produce a four-foot tall plant in just three or so months, so be sure to have a tomato cage or stakes available.
    • Cucumbers also grow well, starting small and then fanning out to own their territory and produce healthy, delicious cucumbers about the same time as the tomatoes are ready.
    • Two herbs to consider are basil and chives. Basil is a good companion plant to tomatoes, but make sure you plant it a distance away so the mature tomato plant doesn’t shade it.
    • Chives are perennial. Plant them once and you’ll be snipping fresh chives for years! Great for salads, baked potato toppings and much more.
  • Of course, the above “beginner” tips are not necessary for veteran gardeners. With more time to attend to your early garden, though, perhaps this year you can try something new – an exotic sweet pepper, for examples.
  • Flowers and fruit trees are also significant garden plants.
  • Even condo or apartment dwellers without outdoor space can grow herbs or cherry tomatoes on a sunny windowsill.

Reduce travel by using computer applications

At the time of this monthly Tip, the Corona virus COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped human interaction by forcing many to use technology for distance meetings, education, religious and spiritual events, social interaction and more.

While the pandemic is tragic, the use of technology can help even in “normal” times. 

  • Almost all forms of travel burn fossil fuels, which are harmful to human and environmental health as well as contributing to climate change.
    • “Travel” in the context of this trip includes short and long distances through driving, flying and even using public transportation.
    • Driving to work, school, meetings, shopping, church, play, events, friends, family are travel.
    • Commuting to work, particularly, has a major environmental impact.
  • Fortunately, technology has brought us alternatives.
    • Even with landline telephones, you can take part in audio conference calls.
      • Anyone can set up an account at freeconferencecall.com
    • Facetime is an easy way to both see and converse with family or friends who all have Apple devices (iPhones, iPads).
    • Skype is a universal free app for video and audio calls.
    • Facebook Live can broadcast an event to anyone with a Facebook account.
    • Zoom is being used at USCW to facilitate meetups. Use the “gallery” view to see everyone!
    • There are many other computer apps of varying pricing, quality, availability, etc.
      • These include Google Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex and many others.
      • Larger employers have access to enterprise software to facilitate working from home or anywhere.
  • However, human contact is still vital and no technology can – or should – replace all travel to see one another! Going to church, family get-togethers, recreational travel and more will always be with us.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

March, 2020

Treat your hair to shampoo bars and conditioner bars

  • We’re accustomed to buying shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles.
    • But as you stroll through a drug store, you’ll notice that the hair care aisle is a depository of plastic bottles – shampoos, conditioners and sprays.
    • And these bottles are petroleum products, with millions of barrels of oil used annually in production.
    • The refining of the product releases greenhouse gases, the major cause of climate change.
    • Less than 20% of plastic bottles get recycled. More than 80% leach from landfills or harm ocean wildlife.
  • Shampoo (and conditioner) bars eliminate the need for plastic bottles in these product categories.
    • This is by far the number one reason to make the switch to shampoo bars and conditioner bars. These little “pucks” don’t require packaging, so they are much better for the environment than their bottled counterparts.
    • Shampoo bars are more concentrated than traditional shampoos and conditioners, so you can use less per application and they will last longer.
  • More reasons to use bars:
    • Shampoo bars and conditioner bars are great to travel with as you don’t have to worry about any potential for spillage or liquid restrictions. The bars are perfect for carry on as not only are they small and lightweight, they are TSA approved, which means you don’t have to plan your packing around liquid hair care products!
    • Shampoo bars and conditioner bars are great for saving space. Being much smaller and more lightweight than their bottled counterparts relative to the number of washings you can get from the same amount of product, shampoo bars and conditioner bars help you save space.
    • The overall carbon footprint is less with shampoo bars and conditioner bars. Roughly ten to fifteen transport trucks of liquid shampoo would be needed for one transport truck of solid shampoo bars to get the same number of washes! Another way to help alleviate climate change.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

February, 2020

Use energy-efficient light bulbs

  • As incandescent light bulbs burn out, please consider replacing them with more efficient bulb types
  • Although the incandescent bulb was state of the art when Thomas Edison invented it, its time has passed for indoor and outdoor lighting – just as Edison’s bulb replaced fire-prone kerosene and gas lamps. (And incandescent lighting was brighter, too.)
  • Consider using compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED) types of bulbs.
  • If you’re already using CFLs, consider changing to LEDs.
  • “Energy-efficient” means more monetary savings for you – consistent with the Unity values of prosperity and abundance.
    • CFLs are a 75% electricity savings cost compared with an incandescent with similar light levels.
    • CFLs last ten times more hours than incandescent.
    • LEDs can save even more electricity costs, up to about 80% savings over incandescents.
    • And LEDs can last an amazing twenty-five times more hours than incandescents.
    • CFLs and LEDs are more than worth the initial higher purchase price.
    • Incandescent bulbs cannot be recycled but CFLs and LEDs can (check the Green Guide).
  • More tips:
    • Don’t remove a perfectly good bulb just to replace with a better one – let it burn out first
    • Avoid so-called “energy-efficient” incandescent bulbs; they’re just 25% more efficient than traditional incandescents and may not last many if even any more hours.
    • Use night lights for safely walking in your house overnight.
    • Consider no lighting if you get enough natural lights through your windows.
  • Turn off the lights in rooms not being used! (Your parents were right about that.)
  • One reasonable exception for our world, security considerations may justify some extra lighting.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

January, 2020

Use pet friendly ice melter for your driveway and walkways

  • Please consider our furry friends.
    • No ice melter is totally safe for dogs, but some are better than others
    • The most common ice melting product is rock salt – sodium chloride – and this is the worst for dogs.
    • Calcium chloride, the most common alternative to rock salt, is still toxic to paws and if ingested.
    • Prolonged exposure to common ice melters can have an irritating effect on a dog’s paws.
    • Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal irritation in minor cases.
    • In more severe cases, a dog could suffer from hypernatremia (elevated blood sodium levels) which can lead to a number of health problems, including advanced GI issues and neurologic dysfunction.
  • What to look for on the label
    • Magnesium chloride and is marginally safer.
    • Chloride-free ice melters are even better.

What else can help?

  • It is a real quandary, because winter brings ice and snow, which must be removed for human safety.
  • But dogs must go outside, so consider behavioral solutions.
  • To keep your dog from ingesting large amounts of ice melt products, keep the dog from eating snow or drinking from puddles.
  • If your dog goes on lots of walks on wet winter sidewalks, afterwards rinse and wipe off their feet, including in between the toes and around the central pad. Some companies also make dog paw wipes that are helpful with this.