Good Deeds All Around

Grind for February 7th, 2019
“There are only two forces that unite men – fear and interest.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte

Make An Impression

The Headline

Pope Francis visits United Arab Emirates

The Grind

Pope Francis on Tuesday celebrated mass with thousands of people in a sports stadium in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi.

The event, which marked the first-ever papal trip to the UAE, has been described as the largest public display of Christian worship to ever occur in the state.

“Someone who is afflicted, who suffers injustice, who does everything he can to be a peacemaker, knows what it means to suffer,” Francis said to an audience of 180,000 people.

Audience members included migrants, asylum-seekers, and 4,000 Muslims.

“It is most certainly not easy for you to live far from home, missing the affection of your loved ones, and perhaps also feeling uncertainty about the future,” he continued. “But the Lord is faithful and does not abandon his people.”

The Details

Tuesday’s mass was delivered one day after Pope Francis met with Muslim leaders to discuss ways of promoting peace. “No violence can be justified in the name of religion,” he said.

Later that day, Pope Francis signed a declaration with Sunni leader Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb which reads:

“We resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood…These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings.”

UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan previously declared 2019 the “year of tolerance,” but has been criticized for religious restrictions including a ban on crosses and church bells and a death penalty for conversion from Islam.

It’s Working

The Headline

In Oregon, recycling is the norm

The Grind

Despite a nationwide downturn in recycling rates, participation in Oregon’s bottle deposit system “BottleDrop” is at an all-time high.

In 2018, Oregon recycled a whopping 90% of beverage containers covered by the system (that’s about 2 billion bottles). The rate jumped significantly from 2016 when Oregonians recycled about 64% of bottles covered by the system.

“That’s a really interesting thing given how much change is happening in recycling markets right now,” says BottleDrop spokesperson Joel Schoening, referring to the high contamination rates suffered by curbside recycling programs.

“Because we deal only in glass, plastic, and aluminum with very few exceptions, we have a very clean recycling product…which makes it easier to sell and recycle domestically.”

The Details

Increased participation in BottleDrop follows an expansion which allows consumers to recycle more types of containers (including coffee, tea, energy drinks, sports drinks, and kombucha).

BottleDrop also offers a service where people can drop off containers that are then counted and credited to their accounts. The deposit value per item was recently pushed up from 5 cents to 10 cents.

After a 50% increase in 2018, there are now more than 300,000 people signed up for the service.

According to natural resource specialist Peter Spendelow, BottleDrop is mitigating the failures of recycling companies who are forced to dump recyclables in landfills.

“People do not put coffee cups in when they return their bottles through the redemption center,” notes Spendelow, “whereas you do see those in curbside bins.”

Unlike most paper items, paper coffee cups cannot be recycled because they are coated in plastic.

The company that makes Nutella uses about 25% of the world’s supply of hazelnuts.