EWING, NJ — Sustainable Jersey recently announced the recipients of the 2016 Sustainable Jersey municipal awards and the 74 towns that have achieved certification. The announcement was made at the annual Sustainable Jersey luncheon at the New Jersey League of Municipality Conference in Atlantic City.
Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange were awarded the Collaboration Award for their joint sustainability ventures.
“The Sustainable Jersey municipal awards recognize the outstanding work being done at the local level,” Randall Solomon, who co-directs Sustainable Jersey with Donna Drewes, said in the announcement. “We are extremely impressed by the innovative and effective sustainability programs and initiatives of these towns. They deserve to be commended for their accomplishments.”
The Collaboration Award recognizes a municipal green team that has advanced sustainability by building strong partnerships. The Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange green teams meet monthly to move collaborative projects forward, according to the press release. Two successful projects launched include the re:Yard program, a community program that recognizes yards for being sustainable and provides 31 credits covering topics such as water efficiency, sustainable materials, composting and native plants for residents to complete for certification, and the Essex Community Energy campaign to help local residents get energy audits and use energy inefficiently. Both programs have had multiple community events, websites, social media and an impressive participation rate with residents in all three towns.
“Maplewood is honored to receive the Sustainable Jersey Collaboration Award with South Orange and Millburn,” Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca said in the release. “Towns sharing in regional sustainable efforts result in an efficient and effective way to plan, educate residents and businesses, and carry out our goals. Regional collaborations are important in addressing sustainability issues because so many of the challenges which confront our individual municipalities do not recognize our political borders. The re:Yard and Essex Community Energy programs are two examples of the important programs the green teams are bringing to our three towns.”
“Thank you to Sustainable Jersey for honoring South Orange with bronze certification and for recognizing the efforts of our green team with the Collaboration Award,” South Orange President Sheena Collum said in the release. “Most of the challenges our municipalities face neither exist in nor can be solved in isolation. Reaching out to share services, ideas and resources is critical to every municipalities’ future and I am especially proud of our green team’s work with Millburn and Maplewood as it exemplifies how collaboration results in shared success.”
“Millburn Township is proud to continue its work to advance sustainability through Millburn Township Green Team’s partnership with the green teams of Maplewood and South Orange,” Millburn business administrator Alexander McDonald said in the release. “We appreciate the hard work of our volunteers and thank Sustainable Jersey for this commendation.”
This year in Essex County, Maplewood and Glen Ridge attained silver certification, and Montclair, South Orange, Verona and West Orange attained bronze certification. Each municipality that is certified at the bronze-level must submit documentation to show it has completed a balance of the program’s sustainability actions, meeting a minimum of 150 points; silver-level certification requires that a town meet a minimum of 350 points.
According to a release from West Orange, over the years, the township has created a green team and completed priority actions such as implementing energy efficiency measures, a green business recognition program, a fleet inventory, a look at flooding risks, a sustainable land use pledge, a natural resource inventory, a prescription drug safety and disposal program, an e-ticketing program, a property tax credit program, the Health Fair, the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, an anti-idling ordinance, mandatory recycling ordinances, rain gardens, a buy local campaign, community asset mapping, green purchasing, complete streets, a Master Plan Sustainable Element and the Liter of Light model curriculum.