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.

Local Events

Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson

Groundwater Hydrologist Illinois State Water Survey

Groundwater and Well Construction 101

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
The Water Resources Action Plan (WRAP)

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

May, 2022

You can now bring Styrofoam (polystyrene) to USCW for recycling!Picture youth ministry

 Your Unity Spiritual Center of Woodstock EarthCare team is pleased to announce that polystyrene (commonly known under a brand name, “Styrofoam”) is now added to the “hard to recycle” items that can be brought to the Center for recycling. This is in addition to the batteries, shoes and used printed ink jet cartridges that we have been recycling for some time.

  • There is a large clear bin at the far end of the Fellowship room that is labeled for you to to drop off your polystyrene.
  • A few caveats:
    • Items must be clean and dry, with no other materials (e.g., tape) attached.
    • If you have any polystyrene contaminated or discolored by food or drink, unfortunately that will need to go into the garbage.
    • Packing “peanuts” are acceptable; please enclose these in a bag or box
    • Flexible flat foam packing materials are not polystyrene and also cannot be accepted. Please save these for your future personal use, e.g., to wrapPicture youth ministry breakable items in your luggage.
  • The Unity EarthCare team will periodically bring the accumulated polystyrene to a local drop-off site. The total accumulated polystyrene is then then to a company in Elgin that has special machinery that can break apart the polystyrene to a particle form. It is then sent to other companies to manufacture new polystyrene containers or shipping materials.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

April, 2022Wastewise youth ministry

Use Your Dishwasher!

You wouldn’t think it, but using a dishwasher as opposed to washing dishes by hand actually saves water and energy in the long run.

    • The most efficient modern dishwashers use between 4 and 6 gallons of water per cycle.
    • In contrast, the average faucet can run as much as 2.5 gallons per minute, according to federal plumbing standards.
    • When you save water, you save yourselves money!


  • Wait – how can it save water to use the dishwasher?
    • Assuming 2.5 gallons of water flow from your sink per minute, in five minutes of hand dish washing time with the hot water running, you will have used 12.5 gallons of water. That’s twice the amount of water used by a modern dishwasher.
    • From an energy perspective, it takes about 6.63 kWh to heat a 40 gallon tank of water using your electric water heater3, so you are actually using more water to wash dishes by hand than you would if you were using the dishwasher.
    • Add to this the need for the water to be hot – using energy from your hot water heater – and you’ve got quite a bit of waste on your hands.

Using Your Dishwasher for Maximum EfficiencyDishwasher youth ministry

    • First, make sure you have an efficient dishwasher. If your dishwasher is old or out of date, then chances are it’s using up too much water and energy.
    • How old is too old? According to Energy Star, any dishwasher made before 1994 is a culprit.
    • The next time you buy a replacement dishwasher, make sure that the machine is Energy Star certified.

Mark your calendar now for USCW’s annual Earth Day service. This year, it’s Sunday, April 24th

Unity EarthCare Tip of the MonthMar youth ministry

March, 2022

Celebrate the Vernal Equinox

On Sunday, March 20 at 10:33 am, Central Time, the Vernal Equinox occurs.

  • The Vernal Equinox is also known as the “Spring Equinox.” Winter gives way to Spring here in the northern hemisphere.
  • The equinox is the point in time that the sun crosses the celestial equator. It is an astronomical event that happens simultaneously across the globe but is converted to local time.
  • Daytime and nighttime are of equal length, hence a time to observe balance.
  • Springtime also represents the renewal of life and light.

Some ways to celebrate the vernal equinox include:Mar youth ministry

  • Get outside and connect
  • Plant new life
  • Enjoy spring arts and crafts
  • Decorate eggs
  • Meditate and/or practice yoga
  • Read books about spring
  • Restore balance in the home
  • Begin sometime new or establish a daily routine or rhythm

 Mark your calendar now for USCW’s annual Earth Day service. This year on Sunday, April 24th

Unity EarthCare Tip of the MonthFeb youth ministry

February, 2022

  • Be careful with glitter
    • As the old saying goes, all that glitter is not gold. And all that glitters is not green.
    • We’re all familiar with glitter: Sparkly, shiny material that we use in craft projects, greeting cards, clothing, makeup and more.
    • Glitter is plastic. And although glitter is less common in ocean waters than other plastics like microbeads, there is a growing recognition that glitter is a problem, too.
    • Glitter is typically made from a type of dense plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, or PET — the same plastic used in most disposable water bottles.
    • This plastic takes many years to biodegrade. In the meantime, glitter leaches out and finds its way into waterways. Whether in a river or an ocean, plastic glitter is harmful to wildlife.
  • Fortunately, there are now some alternative glitter products available, made from plants rather than plastics.Feb youth ministry
    • Some of the products biodegrade in the water. But some of them need composting to biodegrade, so even with alterative glitters, we need to watch our usage.
    • Biodegradable glitter uses plant-derived regenerated eucalyptus cellulose.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the MonthThermostat youth ministry

January, 2022

Set your thermostat at this temperature:

68 degrees

  • According to the US Department of Energy, it’s best to keep your thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the day during the winter season.
    • Why 68?
      • It’s on the lower end of comfortable indoor temperatures for some people, but there’s a good reason to keep your home cooler during winter.
      • When your home is set to a lower temperature, it will lose heat more slowly than if the temperature were higher. In other words, keeping your home at a cooler indoor temperature will help it retain heat longer and reduce the amount of energy required to keep the house comfortable. As a result, you’ll save energy and money.
  • Other ideas:
    • For maximum efficiency, you could also consider designating 8 hours per day during which you turn the temperature down by between 7 and 10 degrees. By following this routine, you may be able to reduce your yearly energy costs by up to 10%.
    • Many people have been shocked at the increase in their natural gas bills. Heating bills are increasing by as much as 54% for some households this winter. Changing your thermostat setting is a relatively easy way to reduce energy consumption and save money on heating bills.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

December, 2021

Celebrate the Winter SolsticeWinter Solstice youth ministry

  • The 2021 winter solstice in the northern hemisphere will occur on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at 9:59 am CST.
  • Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.
    • Throughout history, societies across the world have held festivals and ceremonies marking winter solstice, the day of the “sun’s rebirth.”
    • Another tradition that we still hear about today is Yule (or Yuletide).
    • And Christianity celebrates the birth of Jesus on December 25, commemorating the bringing of the Christ light.Festivals youth ministry
  • Some ways to celebrate the winter solstice include:
    • Create an altar with items that bring you joy and peace, and surround it with candles. Light the candles as a symbol of the sun’s ability to give us both life and light.
    • Wake up early on the day of the winter solstice to watch the sunrise. Close your eyes, feel the sun’s warmth on your face. Observe how the sun lights up the world around you. Bring a journal and write down any thoughts that come to mind.
    • Draw a winter solstice bath, adding citrus essential oils to symbolize the energy of the sun.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the MonthTurkey

November, 2021

Have a Green Thanksgiving!

  • Did you know that our beloved holiday of Thanksgiving can also produce a lot of wasted food? Consider that a typical American Thanksgiving week
    • Two million pounds of Turkey get thrown out!
    • Only 6.3% of food waste gets composted (see our past tips on composting).
    • The carbon footprint is about equal to 800 thousand cars driving from California to Florida.
  • Some ideas on reducing food waste:
    • Coordinate with attendees to avoid too much food. If you have guests contributing dishes to the feast, keep tabs on what everyone’s bringing so you can plan accordingly and avoid making too much food — or duplicating a guest’s dish. Leave dishes that are proven duds off the menu.
    • Make a green Thanksgiving a group effort. Engage your family and friends in a quest for a more sustainable holiday.
    • Challenge guests to eat everything on their plates to cut down on wasted food. And make sure everyone knows where the recycling and compost bins
    • Make things from scratch when possible.
    • Around 83 percentof greenhouse gas emissions from food come from its production. The less prepared and packaged food you buy, the lower your carbon footprint. Buy local!
    • Choose recipes that will use up leftover ingredients. If one recipe calls for a half container of broth, find another recipe that will use the rest — it could be something you’ll make a few days later.
    • Go organic.
  • Most importantly, be sure to give thanks for all the good in your life. Be grateful that we can gather together with family members this year, unlike 2020 (with COVID surging and no vaccines yet).

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

October, 2021Greenpumpkin youth ministry

Have a green Halloween!

Halloween is typically a wasteful event, environmentally. Let’s change that! Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Decorations: Gather supplies, arts and crafts. Examples include:
    • Turn stockings with runs into spider-webbing
    • Paint foam peanuts (packing materials) and turn them into worms
    • Clean Styrofoam and make Halloween masks
    • Turn cardboard boxes into tombstones
    • Make other creative decorations from netting from bags of oranges, cotton balls, leaves and branches from the yard, etc.
    • Reuse your decorations from the previous year
  • Costumes: Make your own!
    • Keep old clothes that can be used as good pieces or parts of costumes, like worn t-shirts, black pants/shorts, etc.
    • If necessary, shop at thrift shops, consignment stores and yard sales, instead of buying retailOctpumpkin youth ministry
    • Let your kids’ imaginations run wild! Make a game of turning old clothes into costumes.
  • And more:
    • When having a party, cut down on waste by avoiding disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Use regular dishes or buy biodegradable ones, and use a marker (or apply cute labels) to identify cups so party-goers can keep track of theirs.
    • Buy locally produced foods, candies and treats. Look for goodies with minimal packaging and/or those made packaged in recycled materials.
    • Check labels to see that chocolate and sugar are from sustainable sources.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

September, 2021Autumnequinox youth ministry

Celebrate the Autumnal Equinox

On Wednesday, September 22 at 2:20 pm, Central Time, the Autumnal Equinox occurs.

  • Summer gives way to Fall here in the northern hemisphere.
  • The equinox is the point in time that the sun crosses the celestial equator. It is an astronomical event that happens simultaneously across the globe but is converted to local time.
  • Our lives are lived based on the seasons, so each equinox and solstice is a cause to celebrate.
  • At the exact moment of the equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator before continuing its journey south or north, depending on the time of year.
  • This also explains why the equinox is celebrated as a day of balance – day and night are about the same lengths.

Here are some ways to celebrate the autumnal equinox:

  • Make a gratitude list. Gratitude brings abundance.
  • Restore balance. Do a fall deep cleaning or use the power of rhythm and routines to help you get organized.
  • Make fall crafts and create fall art.
  • Visit a local farm or go to a harvest festival.
  • Eat a fall harvest meal, perhaps with corn, squash, zucchini, apples, pumpkins, etc.
  • Add fall décor to your home.

And speaking of celebrations, this month marks the 50th Tip of the Month since the feature began in 2017!

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

August, 2021

Use air conditioning wiselyThermastat youth ministry

As summer continues, now is a good time to think about air conditioning,

  • It may almost seem heretical for an environmental tip to seemingly “endorse” air conditioning, but it is not realistic to rail against any and all use of air conditioning.
  • We live in a region of the country that can not only get very hot during much of the summer, but humid as well.
  • Additionally, air conditioning helps filter out pollutants and provides a healthier indoor air quality.
  • Many people with medical conditions need air-conditioned air in order to breathe easily.
  • With climate change, we are in a warming world. No one disputes the use of central heating to stay warm during winter, and it’s just as important to stay cool during summer. Virtually every house built in the past 60 years has central air. Europe, which traditionally has eschewed air conditioning, has felt the effects of global warming and is starting to install air conditioning in structures.

But use it wisely, not wastefully.

  • Manandfan youth ministryDon’t blast arctic cold air throughout your house.
    • Keep the thermostat set to as high a temperature as you can stand.
    • Keep your house insulated so you use air conditioning efficiently.
    • If there are rooms of your house that are rarely used, consider closing off the registers in those rooms so you don’t waste electricity on them.
    • And keep doors and windows closed.
  • Consider using ceiling fans and window fans. Even in conjunction with air conditioning, using fans to blow the air around makes it seem cooler, so you can use a higher thermostat setting and still be comfortable.

When buying a new air conditioning unit, look for the most energy efficient that you can afford.

Unity EarthCare Tip of the Month

July, 2021

Combine trips when you drive

This is an oldie but goodie piece of advicePicture youth ministry

  • Here in McHenry County, it is a veritable necessity to have a car or two (including other forms of personal motor vehicles: SUVs, Mini-Vans, full size vans, small trucks – you name it).
  • Almost all shopping, restaurants, recreation, visiting, schools, personal business, churchgoing, etc., is far enough away from home to require a motor vehicle trip.
  • If you plan on driving to two or more locations that are close to each other, it is better to combine your business and do it in one trip, if possible, rather than setting out on two separate trips.

It saves you fuel and therefore moneyPicture youth ministry

  • According to the United States Department of Energy, your fuel economy is worse when your engine is cold than when it is warmed up.
  • So, several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multipurpose trip covering the same distance.
  • Trip planning can reduce the amount of time you drive with a cold engine.
  • Monetary savings of course vary based on your individual situation and the cost gas, with annual estimates ranging from $250 to $750 . . . here in the exurbs, the savings are probably on the higher side (think: combining trips between, e.g., Woodstock and Crystal Lake, etc.).
  • Even plug-in hybrid and fully electric cars can save you money on electricity when you combine trips.
  • Beyond the everyday, think creatively, possibly combining business and vacation trips.

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.