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

June 20 @ 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 Month

June, 2021

You can recycle cardboard tubes.

With recent changes in curbside recycling guidelines, some people ask if cardboard tubes are acceptablePapertowelroll youth ministry

  • These are the core tubes left over when you finish a roll of paper towels or toilet paper.
  • Because recyclers request that you flatten cardboard boxes before putting them into your curbside recycling container, it’s not intuitive what to do with cardboard tubes.

Good news – they are acceptablePapertowelrollcrushed youth ministry

  • But first, please crush them as flat as possible.
  • One way to do that is to put them in an open box or bin and then crush them with your feet. If you have kids, they would love to help with this!
  • Stiffer cardboard tubes, found in the core of other household products, such as alumni foil, wax paper, plastic wrap and parchment paper, are also accepted in your recycling. These are difficult to crush, but will break down later during the recycling process.

Other uses for leftover cardboard tubes existPapertowelrolltoy youth ministry

  • There are practical household uses and many craft activities that you can do with these tubes.

Mcc Conservation youth ministry

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

May, 2021

Celebrate this year’s 50th Anniversary of the McHenry County Conservation District, by planning to visit one or more sites.

The McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD) is now 50 years old.

  • The people of McHenry County passed a county-wide referendum in April of 1971.
  • MCCD was then formally organized in July 1971.
  • The founders envisioned a public agency that would preserve and protect the land and the water they loved and lived on, while promoting a way of life they cherished, and establishing a place that could be shared with the wildlife around them.
  • In these 50 years, MCCD has secured and protected more than 25,600 acres, diverse with woodlands, wetlands, prairies, creeks and rivers that afford habitat for a wide array of plant and animal species, as well as numerous endangered and threated species.

The Conservation District has also created numerous recreational opportunities for we, the McHenry County taxpayers, to use and enjoy.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

April 2021

Do not place paper shreds in your recyclingPicture youth ministry

Previously (March, 2019 Tip of the Month), we advised that an acceptable way to recycle paper shreds was to put into a paper bag (tightly closed), and then place that bag into your recycling. At that time, it was true. Unfortunately, the local waste haulers who pick up your curbside recycling have changed their protocol. They no longer can accept the shreds that come out of your paper shredder, in any form.

This is another change from past advice, based on updated recommendations from the professionals. With the single-stream processing (i.e., different materials mixed rather than separated by you) of household recyclables, some compromises have to be made to avoid jamming the sorting machines.

So now what to do with confidential or sensitive documents?

Picture youth ministry

  • Here again are some of the other ideas that were in the original tip:
  • Hold on to the documents in a secure location in your home until you can bring them to a professional “shredding event,” sponsored from time to time by banks or government officials. These are held for free as a public service. You will find a truck with a large shredder and may even see your documents shredded.
  • If you prefer to use your personal shredder, put paper shreds into your compost!
  • Use as pet bedding. If you don’t have a pet, consider donating shreds to a local animal shelter.Picture youth ministry
  • Use as packing material for moving or shipping.
  • Search online and you’ll find a variety of craft activities using paper shreds.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

March, 2021Coffeefilterswhite youth ministry

Avoid using bleached coffee filters

Many of us need that first cup of coffee to get going in the morning. While there are various ways to make coffee, a full pot of steaming hot fresh coffee is a delight to the senses. A “drip” style coffeemaker is a classic way to produce the “life giving fluid” that many of us drink for sustenance.

  • Coffeefilters youth ministryCoffee grounds need to be retained in a filter. The most popular filters are paper.
    • If the paper filter color is a bright white, most likely there was bleaching used during the manufacturing process.
    • If the paper filter color is a beige or brown, most likely, these were not These would be a better choice than the bleached.
    • Some coffeemakers come with a reusable filter, or you can purchase one. This is the best choice.
  • What’s wrong with bleached paper coffee filters?
    • In many cases, the bleaching process uses chlorine, and the chemical reaction produces dioxins. In some cases, filter paper is bleached using oxygen. This is a safer process than chlorine, but is still an additional and unnecessary processing step, using energy.
    • Dioxins are highly toxic chemicals, linked to cancers and other illnesses including birth defects and immune deficiencies.Coffeebasket youth ministry
    • Dioxins contaminate groundwater and air. Dioxins enter the environment in pulp and paper mill waste water. They are also created in PCB transformer fires and municipal incinerators and can be found in some wood preservatives and a few other sources. Once in the environment, the dioxins work their way up the food chain, accumulating in the fatty tissues of carnivores such as crabs, trout, herons . . . and humans.

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.