NJDEP announces $20.7M in Clean Communities grants

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — During a May 26 news conference at Great Falls National Park in Paterson, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette announced the award of $20.7 million in grants to help municipalities and counties implement programs to clean up and reduce litter in communities across New Jersey.

LaTourette also urged the public to use reusable shopping bags in advance of the state’s new law protecting New Jersey’s environment against certain single-use plastics, which takes effect next year.

“We are pleased to provide these grants that have long funded important anti-litter programs in communities throughout the state, including cleanups and public education programs,” LaTourette said. “DEP is grateful for the continued partnership of New Jersey Clean Communities and all of the municipalities that make litter reduction a priority for their residents. We can all do our part in being mindful about littering and the toll it takes on our communities and make it a priority to responsibly manage trash in our homes and at our places of business. Now is the best time to start new litter-reducing habits, including switching to eco-friendly reusable bags for shopping and picking up takeout food.”

Over the years, the DEP has provided municipalities and counties hundreds of millions of dollars in Clean Communities grants to implement litter cleanup and abatement programs, including adoption and enforcement of local anti-littering ordinances; beach cleanups; public information and education programs; and purchases of litter collection equipment such as receptacles, recycling bins, anti-litter signs and graffiti-removal supplies.

This year, the DEP has awarded $18.4 million in municipal grants and $2.3 million in county grants. The total of $20.7 million represents a $1.3 million increase from last year due to an increase in revenues. The program is funded by a legislated user-fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors that produce litter-generating products. Disbursements are based on housing units and miles of roadways within a municipality or county.

“Municipalities and counties are strongly encouraged to use these grants to pay for litter cleanups and supplies, badly-needed equipment purchases, enforcement activities and education,” Clean Communities Executive Director JoAnn Gemenden said. “We are grateful for funding that helps keep New Jersey clean. We are proud to serve as an educational resource for communities, as we drive many of our campaigns to engage the younger generations to help mold positive, long-term behaviors against discarding litter.”

Essex County will receive $72,937.96 and the following amounts will be awarded to Essex County municipalities: $59,905.58 for Belleville, $81,272.68 for Bloomfield, $14,872.45 for Caldwell, $23,294.17 for Cedar Grove, $110,383.92 for East Orange, $6,116.58 for Essex Fells, $18,607.08 for Fairfield, $12,572 for Glen Ridge, $88,373.40 for Irvington, $59,048.15 for Livingston, $40,925.27 for Maplewood, $42,299.83 for Millburn, $72,236.54 for Montclair, $430,940.60 for Newark, $13,889.31 for North Caldwell, $51,757.96 for Nutley, $48,626.22 for Orange, $11,235.55 for Roseland, $29,161.53 for South Orange, $25,552.64 for Verona, $21,836.89 for West Caldwell and $78,383.69 for West Orange.