Home Essex CountyBelleville Ways to Practice a Plastic-Free July in Essex County

Ways to Practice a Plastic-Free July in Essex County

by Olivia Fisher
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July is plastic-free month, a global movement which started in 2011 intended to make individuals more conscious of their trash creation by focusing on the reduction of single-use plastic. NJ’s recent plastic bag ban is a great place to start. Whether it’s at home, at work, or within your community, there are numerous other ways to reduce your plastic use and live more sustainably. Following a Zero Waste lifestyle, recycling, composting, shopping locally, or shopping secondhand are all ways in which you can practice this. Read on to learn about what businesses in Essex County can help you be more sustainable.

plastic free zero waste ideas essex county


Composting is an excellent way to honor plastic-free month. Composting reduces greenhouse gas, creates soil, and minimizes landfill waste. You can compost in your own backyard (it’s especially great for a garden) or send your food scraps out to businesses such as Java Compost or Green Bucket Compost.

The Ivy at Chatham

Green Bucket Compost

Green Bucket Compost provides services to Maplewood and Millburn residents. If you are looking to have a sustainable B’nai Mitzvah, Sweet 16, quinceañera, wedding, or any other event, Green Bucket Compost has different options for food scrap collection, including an at-home pickup program.

Java’s Compost

As of May 2022, Java’s Compost has kept over 1.2 million pounds of food scraps from meeting landfills and incinerators. Java’s Compost is currently available for households and businesses in Bloomfield, East Orange, Glen Ridge, Livingston, Maplewood, Madison, Millburn, Montclair, Morristown, Orange, Millburn, South Orange, Verona, and West Orange. If you don’t live in any of these communities, don’t worry — Java’s Compost has drop off locations in Newark and Glen Ridge.

Read More: This Eco-Friendly Jewelry Brand Gives Back Locally


Freecycle is a grassroots movement of over 5,000 communities engaging in free item exchanges. You can join by signing up and joining whichever group location pages you desire. There are Essex County, Clifton, and Wayne groups. You can offer items or ask for items within the groups. Available items range, but have included bed frames, sewing kits, and bicycles.

Second Hand Shops

The fashion industry contributes to 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of global wastewater. By 2030, it is estimated that humans will be discarding more than 134 million tonnes of textiles annually. Fast fashion, overconsumption, and overproduction are several factors leading to textile waste. These textiles can either be recycled or reused by another person through resale, thrift, and consignment shops. However, many items will never be recycled properly due to the variety of materials and nonrenewable resources used to create it. By shopping second-hand, you can help prevent these textiles from reaching landfills and contribute less to fast fashion. These shops are not just limited to clothing, but may include furniture, containers, electronics, cooking supplies, and books.

List of Thrift, Sale, + Consignment Shops in Essex County

maplewood mercantile

^ Maplewood Mercantile (Photo credit: @maplewoodmercantile)

Too Good To Go

More than one-third of all food is wasted, but Too Good to Go is trying to combat that. It partners with businesses to provide consumers a way to acquire food that would otherwise be thrown out. You can download the free app to discover which local businesses are offering discounted produce, baked goods, and meals.

List of Essex County Businesses on Too Good to Go

elephant plate montclair

^ Elephant Plate

See More: Green Point Juicery: Verona’s Sustainable Juice Bar

Zero Waste Stores

Zero waste is a concept aimed at waste prevention. It encourages people to rethink their waste production and is not just about recycling, but about reusing and reducing. The ultimate goal is for no trash to end up in landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Zero waste looks different for everyone based on their affordability and lifestyle needs. Some can live a nearly waste-free life while others only do so in the kitchen. Zero waste stores provide consumers with an assortment of sustainable products. Their entire inventory is curated with reusable and almost entirely plastic-free print such as bamboo toothbrushes, cloth diapers, and stainless steel containers. Zero waste stores may also have an assortment of loose dry goods such as pasta, lentils, and coffee beans. Customers can bring reusable containers made of glass and even plastic to fill with these dry goods. They may also sell locally grown produce, dairy products, and meat.

List of Zero Waste Stores in Essex County

dry goods refillery

^ Dry Goods Refillery

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