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Great Ways to Celebrate Earth Day in New Jersey with Kids and Teens

Celebrating Earth Day in New Jersey

Earth Day is traditionally celebrated on April 22nd. New Jersey has lots of different events happening on that week that demonstrate support for environmental protection. Keep reading as we share with you New Jersey Earth Day events, ways to make your home more ecofriendly, as well as easy ways to celebrate Earth Day at home.

A special bonus for Jersey Family Fun readers….. Since May marks the end of plastic bags from retailers in New Jersey we have a special offer to help you save 15% on reusable bags. Keep reading for that deal.

New Jersey Earth Day Events

We’re starting our guide to ways to celebrate Earth Day in New Jersey with a listing of family-friendly Earth Day events in New Jersey. While Earth Day is April 22, these events take place before, during, and after April 22. Be sure to click on the event titles for additional information.

Union County Earth Day Events

Central Jersey Earth Day Events

For Earth Day events in Central New Jersey, review our county listings of New Jersey Earth Day events.

Hunterdon County Earth Day Events

South Jersey Earth Day Events

Kids and families would love to spend Earth Day enjoying New Jersey Earth Day events in Southern New Jersey. Review our county listings for the Earth Day events closest to you.

Salem County Earth Day Events

We will continue to add to this list throughout the month of April. If you know of a family-friendly Earth Day event that should be added to this post or any of ours listing Earth Day events please email me at jenniferauer@jerseyfamilyfun.com.

Great-Ways-to-Celebrate-Earth-Day-in-New-Jersey-with-Kida-and-teens-horizontal-image

Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Ecofriendly

Most of us want to take steps to reduce our family’s carbon footprint. We want to do more than just recycle, but it can seem overwhelming, especially if we feel like we are doing it all alone.

Taking steps to make your home more ecofriendly doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can get the kids and teenagers involved in making changes. They may even have some ideas to add to ours. To get started check out these easy ways to make your home more Earth-friendly.

Bag it wisely

By now you probably know that May 4, 2022, starts a statewide ban on plastic bags in New Jersey.

“Starting May 4, 2022, New Jersey retail stores, grocery stores and food service businesses may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products. Single-use paper carryout bags are allowed to be provided or sold, except by grocery stores equal to or larger than 2500 square feet, which may only provide or sell reusable carryout bags.”

NJDEP

If you haven’t been using reusable bags, now’s the time to start. Or if you find that you never have enough bags when you go to the store, it’s time to stock up.

Replace your plastic bags with BRINGIT reusable bags.

I am loving this iTKit ShoppingSystem collection of reusable tote bags BRINGIT Bags sent me to review. I tested their larger bag, the iTTote out while we were visiting the National Harbor. The large shoulder strap made it easy to sling over my shoulder. The large inner pocket was spacious enough to carry all my purchases of souvenirs. The outside pockets came in super handy for holding my wallet, sunglasses, and snacks. There are even deep pockets on both sides of the bag for holding water bottles. It’s definitely going to be my go-to bag when shopping on excursions.

Replace plastic bags in New Jersey with iTKit ShoppingSystem collection from BRINGIT.
iTKit ShoppingSystem collection from BRINGIT Photo Credit BRINGIT

The iTTote will also come in handy on trips to farmers’ markets and grocery stores because it will hold the smaller bags that BRINGIT makes and are part of this collection.

  • one iTBag Shopper
  • two Mesh Produce Bags
  • two Large Produce Bags
  • two Small Produce Bags.

When my bags are full, I’ll use the handles to carry the bag.

Replace plastic bags in New Jersey with iTKit ShoppingSystem collection from BRINGIT.
iTKit ShoppingSystem collection from BRINGIT Photo Credit BRINGIT

A few more reasons I’m loving the BRINGIT bags

  • Fiber made from sustainably grown beechwood and eucalyptus trees
  • 100% plastic-free and machine washable
  • Tear-resistant
  • Home compostable and marine biodegradable at end of life

Save 15% on the iTKit ShoppingSystem collection by using our affiliate link and the promo code Jerseyfamilyfun.

Tips to reduce your plastic and paper waste

The Dry Goods Refillery store in New Jersey sent me a wonderful collection of Earth-friendly products to try out with my teens. I am loving them. Not only are they fun and easy to use, but I know they are going to help my family cut down on our paper, plastic, and food waste.

Shop Dry Goods Refillery in person at 193 Bellevue Avenue in Montclair or their online Dry Goods Refillery website. Not only are their products kind to the Earth so are their shipping methods. Items from their shop are shipped plastic-free to the lower 48 states. If you’re local you can even opt for delivery. Did you know Dry Goods Refillery is New Jersey’s FIRST plastic-free grocery store? Learn more about this innovative women-owned business at their website.

Replace plastic wrap or aluminum foil with Olsen + Olsen Food Wrap and Food Huggers.

Olsen + Olsen Food Wrap

Canadian organic bees wax, organic jojoba oil, organic pine rosin come together to create a washable, reusable, compostable, and plastic-free wrap for foods. Unlike plastic wrap, these wraps won’t stick to your hands when you try to use them. No fighting to get the wrap to cut across the sharp edge of a box. Take out the size wrap you need and gently fold or mold that to fit your food.

The wraps can be molded over a jar or wrapped around a piece of fruit or some cookies. They come in packs of 3 in various sizes and fun patterns.

Replace plastic wrap or aluminum foil with Olsen + Olsen Food Wrap.

Food Hugger

I have never seen anything like these food huggers. They are like somewhat adjustable flexible lids. The food huggers come in packs of 5 in various sizes. BPA and Phthalate Free they can snugly fit over a piece of food, a glass, a jar, etc.

Can of soda you don’t want to go flat? A small plate of leftovers that you need to cover? Use the food huggers. I even use them with my kids’ drinks they don’t finish. One food hugger over the top of the glass and it’s good till the next meal.

Replace plastic wrap or aluminum foil with Food Huggers.

Replace plastic sandwich bags with Olsen + Olsen Food Wrap or plastic containers.

I like using the Olsen + Olsen Food Wraps to wrap my kids’ sandwiches as well. They make a great alternative to plastic sandwich bags. Plastic containers have been our go-to for as long as I remember. But sometimes those containers can be bulky in a kid’s lunchbox or they break down over time in the dishwasher. Since the food wraps mold to the food they tend to take up less space. I find the wraps easier to wash as well.

Olsen + Olsen Food Wraps help a family be more ecofriendly.
Photo credit Dry Goods Refillery

Whether you choose plastic containers or food wraps, both can help your family cut down on the waste that comes from using plastic bags.

Replace paper napkins and towels with Cheeks Ahoy Unpaper Towels

Cheeks Ahoy Unpaper Towels

A napkin in each of my teens’ lunchboxes every day. A few paper towels every time I need to wipe down a counter or clean a surface. All that paper starts to add up and becomes very wasteful. I love the idea of using these Cheeks Ahoy Unpaper Towels.

Each pack of Cheeks Ahoy Unpaper Towels includes 12 microfleece towels. They come in 3 different color options. I received the rainbow. They are bright and fun. Right now, they are stored on my kitchen counter so I never forget I have them and to use them as an alternative to paper towels.

Next week, I plan to start using them in the kids’ lunchboxes. I’m hopeful that their fun color will make it easy for my boys to remember to use them AND to bring them back home.

Replace paper napkins and towels with Cheeks Ahoy Unpaper Towels

Tips to reduce your food waste

I am so over food going bad so quickly. My husband and I are good about keeping the fridge stocked with fruits and veggies. But if we aren’t very intentional about eating it every day it goes bad. So now I’m trying a variety of methods to keep our food fresher AND making sure it gets eaten.

Food Hugger

Have a leftover lemon? A half-cut tomato? Don’t trash the other half or let it spoil. Use those same food huggers we talked about earlier. Slip a food hugger on the cut side and help it stay fresh until you’re ready to eat it.

Use food huggers to avoid food waste.
Photo credit Dry Goods Refillery

Vejibag Crisper Bags

Keep that Romaine lettuce, celery, and cucumbers crisper and fresh longer with Vejibag Crisper Bags.

The Vejibag vegetable preservation bag creates a safe space for vegetables. When damp, the bag wicks away excess moisture while keeping vegetables well-hydrated and fresh for up to 2 weeks (or more).

Certified organic and made in the USA, these bags use 100% organic french terry cotton, grown by the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, and are hand sewn by employee-owned Opportunity Threads, in Valdese, North Carolina. The bags come in two sizes.

Your food and you can feel good about using these bags.

Vejibag vegetable preservation bag in a fridge drawer helps keep vegetables fresher longer.

Freshpaper Sheets

One of the most popular fruits we keep on hand are berries: strawberries, blueberries, etc. They can go bad so crazy quickly. These Freshpaper Sheets can help lengthen the shelf life of these foods. Who couldn’t use a few extra days to enjoy their fruit?

Freshpaper Food Saver Sheets

Add the Freshpaper Sheets to the fruit bowl of the fridge drawer. One sheet can last up to 30 days.

After the month is over you can feel good about tossing these sheets. They are recyclable and compost-friendly. If you’re like me and worry about forgetting when the month is up, just write the ‘expiration’ date on them. That’s what I did.

Fresh Paper Food Saver Sheets in the fridge with fruit

Glass mason jars

I recently saw a post on Facebook about how some families are storing fresh fruit in glass mason jars to help their fruit last longer. I no longer have strawberries left from my picking at the Father Son Farm, but I do have lots of jars. I thought it couldn’t hurt to try.

What I’ve discovered in trying is that those smaller jars are perfect for packing berries in my teens’ lunchboxes. Earlier in the week, when the fruit is fresh, I rinse and pack them into the jars. In the morning, it makes packing their lunches so much easier because I can just grab a jar.

I gotta say I think the boys feel like they are eating something fancier when it comes from those pretty mason jars. Those jars are all empty when they come back home. You can get your own set of wide-mouth mason jars on Amazon using my affiliate link or pick some up in your grocery store.

Put your trash to work

Composting! One of the hobbies, I wanted to take up during the pandemic is composting. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but it’s still on my list. I feel like my family has always been fairly good at not generating a lot of trash, but there’s always room for improvement and this is one area we need to do better.

Amazon has a great collection of compost tumblers and bins (affiliate link), but your local recycling authority may also sell some and a reduced price. In Atlantic County, NJ the ACUA not only sells compost systems but they also teach classes on composting. Check out their page on how to build your own compost bin.

Make the most of the rain

Don’t let the rain from the next rainstorm just run off into the street. Put it to good use! Rain barrels can help you collect the rain and reuse it to water your garden or lawn. Rainwater WITHOUT chlorine and water treatment chemicals, is an excellent water source for lawns, plants, and gardens.

Did you know you can cut household water bills by up to 40% with a rain barrel or two in your backyard?

When shopping for a rain barrel look for these 3 features.

  • An overflow hose for those times when the rain barrel is at risk of overflowing.
  • A spigot
  • A fine mesh lid to keep debris from getting in and mosquitos from getting out.

Again in South Jersey you can order and pick up a rain barrel from the ACUA. The ACUA will also be holding classes on building your own rain barrel. If you’re not local to the ACUA another great source for shopping for rain barrels is Amazon.

A pretty rain barrel option is available on Amazon.

Grow your own veggies and fruit

We did this last year and will have more details in the next day or two about this.

Shop local when you can

Shopping closer to home helps you support local farmers but it also cuts down on your time in the car. You’re also more likely to get meats, fruits, vegetables, and flowers that have less exposure to pesticides.

CSA

There are several farms in New Jersey that offer CSAs. While we don’t have a list, check in with your favorite farm they can probably make a few recommendations if they don’t have their own.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Markets have always been popular in New Jersey. During the past two years, they became more popular. Many offered convenient services like drive-thru pick-up and curbside service. Check our list of New Jersey Farmers Markets for some recommendations. NJ Farmers Markets run from the spring into the late fall.

Farm-fresh-produce-at-NJ-farmers-markets

A few More Fun and Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day at home with Kids

  • Kids love dirt!  Plant shrubs or trees in your backyard.
  • Organize a cleanup day at your school.
  • Read an Earth Day story.
  • Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth or washing your face and hands.
  • Go on an Earth Day scavenger hunt in your backyard or at the local park. Search for pine cones, flowers, rocks and sticks.
  • Spend the day outdoors with your family.
  • Make a bird house or feeder.
  • Have a picnic!
Happy Earth Day
JFF Newsletter

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