Resolution 5: Single-Use Non-Biodegradable Plastics

Resolved, That the 170th Convention of the Diocese of California reaffirms the 79th General Convention resolution C063 (Advocate for Ocean Health) calling for us “to advocate for ocean health through the adoption of appropriate public policies, including, without limitation, projects, programs, and public policies and advocacy;”

Resolved, That this Convention recognizes that widespread use of single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags, utensils, containers and packaging materials results in large scale pollution of our land masses and oceans, causes deaths of many millions of fish and other living creatures, wastes the Earth’s resources and exacerbates global warming;

Resolved, That this Convention directs that whenever appropriate alternatives to single-use non-biodegradable plastic, bags, utensils, containers and packaging are available, this Diocese and all its institutions and congregations shall purchase and use such alternative products and shall urge their members to purchase and use such alternatives instead of single-use plastics; and

Resolved, That this Convention supports a world-wide ban on single-use non-biodegradable plastic bags, utensils, containers and packaging materials.

Explanation: As Christians, we believe that we are accountable for careful stewardship of God’s creation, which means that we should not degrade or pollute our Mother Earth, that we should care for all of our fellow creatures, and that we should take of the Earth’s resources only as much as we need, and leave the rest for our fellow creatures and for generations to come.

The negative environmental consequences of the manufacture and use of single-use plastic bags, utensils, containers and packaging has been well documented:

  • Approximately 300 million tons of single-use plastics are produced each year from scarce petrochemical resources.  The average plastic bag is used for approximately 12 minutes but will last for approximately 500 years before it decomposes in landfill.
  • Approximately 2 millions tons of plastic waste enter the oceans each year, creating in at least five large areas of floating refuse in the oceans of the world; one of these floating garbage patches, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, has been estimated to cover an area twice the size of Texas.
  • Six-pack plastic rings and plastic straws cause the deaths tens of thousands of land and marine animals every year.
  • Decomposing pieces of plastic have been dispersed throughout the earths oceans, lakes and rivers and have entered into and contaminated the food chain for humans as well as fish and animals and caused many millions of fish and animal deaths; small pieces of plastic are now routinely found in the stomachs of beached whales and other marine creatures.
  • The manufacture and disposal of single-use plastics contributes substantially to global warming. The Center for International Environmental Law warns that by 2050, the production of single-use plastics alone will result in 2.75 billion tons of CO2 emissions and account for 13% of the earths total carbon budget, equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.

There are safe and less environmentally harmful methods of packaging that are alternatives to plastics.

The harmful effects of plastic waste on the environment and the biosphere can be greatly reduced by banning single-use plastics. The United Nations reported that as of July 2018, 27 countries had banned single-use plastics. New Zealand and Canada, among others, have also banned such plastics. California and several states are currently considering phase-out and complete bans on single-use plastic utensils, containers and packaging and are soliciting public input on pending legislation.

Reference: 79th General Convention Resolution C063 Advocate for Ocean Health

Submitted By: The Commission on Creation Care of the Diocese of CaliforniaCarl Diehl,


The author of this resolution has provided FAQ's, which can be reached at

Please click on the link to see vendors favored by our parish administrators who have made the switch away from single-use plastics. If you have additional recommendations please send them to and they will be added to the list.

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