Church of England and ClientEarth give up plastics for Lent

The Church of England has provided worshippers with a calendar of tips to avoid using single-use plastic during Lent, with MPs and environmental law firm ClientEarth also agreeing to the pledge.

Tips provided by the Church of England include avoiding plastic cups, using bamboo toothbrushes and buying items that aren’t pre-packaged. A specific calendar has been sent the Church’s 42 dioceses.

The Church of England’s environmental policy officer Ruth Knight said: “The Lent challenge is about raising our awareness of how much we rely on single-use plastics and challenging ourselves to see where we can reduce that use. It ties in closely with our calling as Christians to care for God’s creation.”

The Diocese of London said in a statement that the BBC’s Blue Planet series had brought attention to the “hideous damage” caused by a throwaway society and that Lent would give ocean creatures a chance to “renew themselves”.

Both the BBC and the Royal Family have been inspired by David Attenborough’s television series. The BBC announced it will launch a new “three-step plan” to remove single-use plastics from its operations by 2020, while caterers to the Royal Family will only be allowed to use china plates and glasses, or recyclable paper cups for events.

A total of 40 MPs have also pledged to give up plastics for Lent, including minister of state for energy and clean growth Clair Perry and environment secretary Michael Gove. The MPs have signed up to the #giveupplasticforlent campaign.

Lawful agreement

Environmental law firm ClientEarth, which has taken the UK Government to court numerous times over air pollution, has also committed to fighting pollution of a different kind. Team members of the firm have agreed to take part in the Lent challenge.

ClientEarth’s lawyer and chemicals project lead Apolline Roger added: “I want to completely avoid single-use plastics (like bottles, candy wrappers, etc.) and limit as much as possible my use of short-term plastics (such as shampoo bottles and tissues).

“I’m going to invest in other materials to try and avoid plastics in the long-term, like clothes that don’t shed microfibers and Tupperware.”

In the UK, the Government has vowed to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as part of the 25-Year Environmental Strategy.

Matt Mace

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