Environment Erie

Environment Erie, Mason Jar Co. announce partnership

Mar 09, 2015 | Posted in News

Using glitter, glue, googly eyes, markers and craft pipe cleaners, sisters Lydia Orlando, 9, and Cecilia Simmons, 3, turned Mason jar lids and rings into decorative magnets and spiders.

Their mother, Brea Bush, said the craft projects offered Sunday at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center were a way for the Fairview Township girls to express their creativity. She said the event also promoted a locally made project.

The crafts were part of an announcement about a partnership between Erie-based Mason Jars Co., maker of the Recap lid, and Environment Erie. The business and the nonprofit are working to raise awareness of environmental responsibility, promote sustainability and share eco-friendly uses for Mason jars.

"We're very excited about this partnership," said Amy Jo Zola, director of Environment Erie.

Karen Rzepecki, Recap inventor and Mason Jars Co. founder, said her introduction to Environment Erie came through a composting class she took a few years ago. Then she started her company in 2012 and in 2013 it joined 1 Percent for the Planet, a network of businesses that donate to environmental and sustainability nonprofits.

"You pledge 1 percent of your sales to organizations that help the environment," Rzepecki said.

Zola said the company's contribution would help keep Environment Erie's programs running.

The business also will help with fundraisers and donate craft supplies, marketing director Carlo Fuda said.

He said the company will be coming out with a new cap with a magnifier to allow children to look at bugs in a Mason jar. Fuda said Nate Millet, Environment Erie's education manager, will develop an educational curriculum to go along with the kit that could be used at home or in schools.

"We have the product, they have the education part of it," Fuda said.

Millet said the nonprofit and the company focus on finding new uses for items.

"What we're trying to emphasize is reuse," he said.

The craft stations at Sunday's announcement allowed children to decorate one side of a Mason jar and put a magnet on the other side. The children twisted pipe cleaners around Mason jar rings to create spiders.

"They actually make really great projects for kids," Rzepecki said.

DANA MASSING can be reached at 870-1729 or by e-mail. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNmassing.