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Unity EarthCare

Spiritual Care for our Earth Home

From our Unity Earth Care Team:  We have a team that meets monthly (generally), on the third Sunday of each month. These are team meetings, i.e., like committee meetings for planning.  Unity EarthCare is a ministry founded on the premise of caring for Earth as a spiritual imperative and devoted to two main purposes of optimizing ecological practices within the church and educating congregants on personal actions they may wish to take.  We will be showing environmentally-themed films to interested congregants for our January, February and March meetings.

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

  1. to help out fellow congregants, to inform and inspire you to take positive ecological actions in your everyday lives.
  2. 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 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…

Come and join us!

Unity Worldwide Ministries Earth Care – To Learn More
McHenry County Green Guide

Unity EarthCare 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.

Use the cold water setting on your washing machine

Here’s another tip that is easy to do. When using your washer for clothing or linens, your washer most likely gives you a choice in water temperatures between hot, warm and cold. Choose “cold.”

  • Why do we recommend the cold temperature setting?
    • Save energy; save money!
    • Most of the energy used in washing laundry is expended on heating the water, in fact 90% according to Energy Star.
    • Cold-water washing means clothing is less likely to shrink or fade and ruin clothes.
    • Cold water can also reduce wrinkles, which saves energy costs (and time) associated with ironing.
  • Will cold water get things clean?
    • Washers have become more efficient.
    • So have detergents.
    • Use cold for the full cycle.
    • Cold water is best in both top and front loading washers.
  • Is there ever a time to use warm or hot water?
    • Yes!
    • If a family member is sick, their clothing and linens should be washed in hot water to fully kill the bacteria.
    • Cloth diapers. Need we say more?

Keep your vehicle’s tires properly inflated

  • It’s summer and many of us will take road trips.
    • You may have heard that low tire pressure gives you lower gas mileage on your car or truck. It’s true!
    • Experts estimate that the average person who drives 12,000 miles yearly on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas.
    • And remember that the Illinois gas tax just increased substantially (doubled from $0.19 to $0.38 per gallon).
  • Fortunately, there is one fairly simple action you can take to save money due to under-inflated tires
    • Periodically, check the pressure on your tires
    • And if necessary, inflate to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
    • If you don’t already own one, get a tire pressure gauge and learn how to use it.

Save more than money

  • There are negative environmental impacts from the burning of gasoline – actually from the entire process starting with petroleum extraction, refining, storage, transportation and even the process of gassing up.
    • Air and water pollution occur, harming our health.
    • Each time one gallon of gas is burned, 20 pounds of carbon dioxideis added to the atmosphere, as the carbons in the gas are released and combine with the oxygen in the air. As such, any vehicle running on soft tiresis contributing as much as 1.5 extra tons (2,880 pounds) of greenhouse gases to the environment annually. The climate crisis is already bad enough.

McHenry County Health Department accepting batteries for recycling this month

During the month of January, the McHenry County Department of Health is accepting single-use alkaline batteries for recycling. This is a special event that ends on January 31.

What is accepted?

  • Common household batteries that are single-use (that is, cannot be recharged) and marked as Alkaline.
  • The common battery size types AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt are accepted.
  • No other battery types or sizes, please (those can continue to be recycled through USCW).

Where and when?

  • Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at both health department locations.
    • Annex A Building, 2200 North Seminary, Woodstock (behind the Courthouse; you will not have to go through security)
    • Crystal Lake clinic, 100 North Virginia Street (Highway 14 southwest side of street a little south of Highway 176)
  • Why?                    
    • It’s important to keep batteries and other corrosive materials out of landfills.
    • Not only is landfill space dwindling, but in time chemicals leach out and could reach our water supply.
  • More info (also check www.mcdh.info)
    • You do not need to pay a fee to drop off your batteries for recycling.
    • You need not be a McHenry County resident.
    • All batteries collected will be shipped to Battery Solutions, a U.S.-based company, where battery materials – zinc and manganese concentrate, among others – will be separated and recycled.

Reduce your use of giftwrap paper

 This holiday season please consider Earth-friendly alternatives to standard wrapping paper.


  • Face it, most people want to quickly get to the present inside. It’s normal for giftwrapping to be torn off and discarded, along with the accompanying ribbons and bows.
  • So, a lot of waste is created at this time of year through single-use products that aren’t even the main event.
  • Most recyclers do not accept gift wrap for recycling. Sadly, it ends up in landfills.

Consider these festive alternatives:

  • Wrap gifts in colorful fabric, or place in reusable fabric bags.
  • Use shiny gift bags – easy to carry, with handles.
  • Think about pre-decorated boxes with lids.

More creative ideas:

  • Use newspaper; perhaps the comics or maybe the sports pages for an athletically minded recipient.
  • Roll out some butcher block paper and use paint, crayons, markers or other art tools to create your own designs.

Also think about alternative gifts that are physically small and need little if any wrapping:

  • Gift cards, subscriptions or memberships
  • Donations to worthy causes or organizations in the recipient’s name

Reuse your plastic bags.

Here in the U.S. alone, we use around 100 billion plastic grocery bags every single year! Most end up in landfills or oceans.

You probably still have a number of plastic bags from groceries and other store purchases. Of course, now you are bringing your own canvas bags whenever you go shopping – right? – so you might want to use some of these ideas for reusing the bags you already have. Even if you use canvas bags, the smaller produce bags are almost unavoidable.

  • Travel:
    • Bring plastic bags in your suitcase to bring home your dirty clothes while you’re on vacation.
    • Put your extra shoes or sandals in plastic bags, so they don’t dirty up your clothing.
    • Similarly, wrap plastic bags around larger cosmetics and other items in case the contents leak.
    • Can’t resist the hotel pool on your last day? Stuff your wet swimsuit into a plastic bag for the trip home.
  • Clean:
    • When sifting the cat litter boxes, place the waste into a plastic bag, tie it up and put into your garbage.
    • Dog owners, reuse plastic bags when walking your dog.
    • Reuse a plastic bag to line small trash cans, like in the bathroom, instead of buying new plastic can liners.
  • Garden:
    • Protect your plants from spring or fall frost by wrapping them securely in a plastic bag overnight and removing the bag in the morning.
    • Tie a couple of plastic bags around your knees to add some padding while you’re working in the garden.
  • More: Craft projects, protecting items in shipping without needing bubble wrap, and many more uses exist for plastic bags of different sizes and colors. Perhaps this will inspire your own ideas!

Polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) is hard to recycle.

Curbside recycling programs do not accept polystyrene. However, clean polystyrene can be brought to some local sites for recycling; see below for specifics.

  • What is polystyrene?
    • Used in food packaging and shipping, polystyrene is a petroleum-based product that has the advantages of being lightweight with good insulating and cushioning properties. Unfortunately, polystyrene has numerous disadvantages, including that it is not biodegradable, and will last forever in landfills. Also, the manufacturing process releases pollutants into the air. And its chemicals are irritating to people.
  • Can polystyrene be recycled?
    • Yes, with qualifications. The larger polystyrene blocks, such as used within cardboard shipping containers to cushion household products, should definitely be recycled. Food containers if clean can be recycled. Even the small polystyrene “peanuts” used in shipping can now be recycled.
  • Where can I bring polystyrene to be recycled? Two local places are:
    • Through the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County at monthly recycling drives held at various locations on the second Saturday of each month. See: mcdef.org
    • At the Algonquin Township Highway Department 6:30 am to 3:00 pm (3702 US Highway 14, Crystal Lake) or the Village of Algonquin Public Works 24/7 (110 Meyer Dr., Algonquin)

Know what to recycle into the blue bins at USCW

USCW recyclables and garbage are collected weekly by MDC Environmental Services, the contractor for the City of Woodstock. Hint: These same guidelines apply at home within Woodstock and other nearby municipalities serviced by MDC (including Crystal Lake).


  • 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).

It is not necessary to sort the different kinds of recyclable materials (though you may find this convenient at home during the week while accumulating items for the pickup day). MDC Environmental Services uses a single-stream system to process collected recyclable materials.