MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville residents came out in force to learn about living a lifestyle that is better for the environment when the Environmental Commission held its Zero Waste Fair at the Senior House on May 22.

The fair, consisting of about a dozen vendors and an introduction by commission member Bansari Shah, showed residents that there are many different approaches to reducing waste and therefore helping the environment.

“It can be overwhelming when you try to produce zero waste,” Shah said. “Just try to reduce the amount of garbage you make. Try to buy as little packaging as possible, because recycling is not the solution. At some point, an item can no longer be recycled.”

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Shah gave examples of how making one’s own food items saves money, and buying reusables that can be washed and put back to work is not only better for the environment, but good for the pocketbook as well.

“There are cloth wipes that save you money on paper towels, and bees wax-coated sandwich wraps that save you from buying more sandwich bags,” she said.

She suggested Whole Foods as a good source of buying bulk, or package-free food, and she said that a new location will be opening in Parsippany this summer.

She encouraged attendees to buy second-hand items and use more natural items for shampoos, soaps, detergents, and cleaning products.

“Most products are not expensive, except the toothpaste and floss, but it’s worth it because these things go in your mouth and this way you are not using chemicals,” she said.

At the vendor tables, items were for sale that were homemade, home farmed, and home-sewn. Cedar Hill Elementary School fifth graders Danny O’Neil and Miki Riskski were selling their homemade all natural hand sanitizer they dubbed Germ Crusher.

William Mason Elementary School’s Girl Scout Troop 96439 was selling lotion bars made with bees wax and coconut oil, and the proceeds went to comfort care bags for foster children. Troop 4395 from Montville Township High School was giving out seedlings.

Julie Greenfield had hand-crocheted dish cloths. Michele Caron of Towaco Farms had honey products for sale, while Erin Kounouklos offered hand-made cold process soaps.

Mayernik Kitchen offered plant medicines and Nature Nest is an eco-friendly childcare facility that just opened in Boonton. They use natural cleaning products and rags instead of paper towels, for example. Many lessons occur outside, owner Sarah Myriam said.

Abi & Sue offered snack bags and lunch bags and dōTerra offered a chemical-free lifestyle.

Another way residents can recycle is by participating in the township’s plastic program. The township is collecting all types of plastic bags including produce bags, dry cleaning bags, and bubble wrap. Bags should be clean and dry. When 500 pounds are collected, the township will receive a bench as a reward. Collection bins are at the Municipal Building and the Senior House. See the information in the photo gallery.

For more information about these vendors, contact Bansari Shah at bansari.modi@gmail.com.

Montville’s Facebook page “Montville NJ Free/Buy Nothing” is a great way to exchange items you don’t want or find items you need without purchasing items in packaging.  

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