Consumables is any object that is purchased for use in the building. The question is usually not “what can we get rid of?” but “how much can we toss?” Congregations are natural repositories for old and outdated technologies. An American proverb captures the sentiment, “waste not, want not.” However, what is clearly no longer dear or worthwhile does not need to be funded. Many congregations have moved from paper bulletins to online bulletins.
The average office contains over a hundred different objects, of which many are not relevant to the daily work of the synagogue. Fax machine technology went out of date over a decade ago, replaced with electronic records, yet, thermal fax paper is still available for purchase. To consume less, the synagogue must make a conscious effort to purchase less.
In a time of plenty and of ignorance about climate change, four-color glossies were the epitome of marketing materials. Placing a homegrown service inside a glossy cover gave the document more legitimacy. Unfortunately, glossies are not recyclable, nor do they degrade easily in the landfill.
The beginning of a consumables’ assessment is a listing of what technologies does the synagogue use. Which old processes can be abandoned or should be abandoned? The organizational principle is learning how to do congregational tasks smarter, and with less of a carbon footprint.
For a complete food assessment, request a Sustainability Plan from NYIPL.