Vatican City Pope Benedict XVI is taking a new step in the Vatican's environmental campaign, leading a youth festival this weekend where participants will use recycled prayer books, biodegradable plates and backpacks made from reused nylon.
About 300,000 young Roman Catholics are expected to attend the festival in Loreto in a run-up to next year's World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia.
The festival coincides with the church's "Save Creation Day" and has a decidedly eco-friendly theme. Each participant will be given a knapsack made of recycled nylon containing a hand-cranked battery recharger, three sets of biodegradable plates and three bags for recycling trash.
Prayer books for Benedict's Sunday Mass are made of recycled paper, hydrogen cars will be on display and trees will be planted in areas of southern Italy recently devastated by forest fires to make up for the carbon dioxide emissions generated by the festival, organizers said.