The customers at Kings Grocery Store in Upper Montclair have been taking home colorfully decorated paper shopping bags these past weeks. Local Montclair elementary students are sending messages to the community asking them to choose to reuse their shopping bags. This project, organized by the Eco Action Green Team, began when Edgemont Montessori students spent time during their annual Earth Month program learning about ocean eco-systems and the impact of plastic waste on our oceans, water bodies and marine life. They were particularly moved when learning that sea turtles and other marine animals mistake plastic bags for jelly fish, fatally ingesting the bags. One student said “we can protect them by letting less plastic go to the ocean. We should recycle plastic or not even use plastic.”
The school took the learning out to the community and partnered with Kings Food Markets located on Valley Road to help educate customers on the importance of bringing reusable bags when shopping. Kings is trying to play their part in reducing waste. They provide customers a choice of paper bags or bio-degradable plastic bags and sell reusable bags. “I was appreciative when approached by the school” said King’s Store Manager Donald Wisse. “More attention is always needed when it comes to recycling and keeping our environment clean. Most people don’t realize what an impact not recycling has on our ecosystems. When we put our trash out for pickup, it becomes “Out of sight Out of Mind” and we don’t think about where it will end up.”
While the trash from Montclair, that is not recycled, mostly ends up in the Newark incinerator and not in a landfill, trash can become ground litter or be wind blown and end up in local waterways which drain out to the Newark Bay and ocean. These students and the community members they reach will be encouraged to help prevent this from happening.
During Earth Month, Edgemont students also participated in a letter writing campaign to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to ask their support in protecting the endangered NJ Diamondback Terrapin Turtle and raised money to help protect local NJ shorebirds and the horseshoe crab by selling reusable shopping bags and napkins as part of a waste-less / plastic-less week at school.
If you are a Kings customer who received a decorated bag, feel free to email EcoEdgemont@gmail.com and let the students know the impact of their message on your shopping. They would love to hear from you!”