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What’s Happening in New Jersey?

Atlantic County

Galloway Township ( 217kb) is one of the few NJ municipalities to enact an ordinance facilitating the installation of both small wind and solar energy systems. The ordinance is intended to enable clean, renewable energy resources be utilized in a cost-effective and timely manner.

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Bergen County

Ridgewood has signed a 20 year public-private partnership with Ridgewood Green RME, a joint venture of Natural Systems Utilities and Middlesex Water Company to build and operate facilities to optimize production of electricity at the village’s waste water treatment plant.  Biogas at the plant will be converted to electricity by means of anaerobic digestion.  Additional electricity at the plant will be provided by installation of solar arrays.  It is expected that all of the electricity needed to run the plant will be provided from these sources. Ridgewood Green received PlanSmart NJ's Environmental Achievement Award in November 2012.

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Camden County

Camden County prepared a County Green Initiative Action Plan, which makes recommendations for implementing 12 objectives, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its Living Green and Clean webpage highlights both county programs designed to inform the public and improve the local environment and Tips for Living Green and Clean.

Camden is one of 24 NJ communities, which have combined sewer systems to carry sanitary sewage and storm water runoff.  Its Camden Stormwater Management and Resource Training Initiative (SMART) was designed to bring green infrastructure solutions to the aging sewer system.  Since SMART’s start in 2011, 33 demonstration projects have been implemented including rain gardens and rain barrels, which are designed to capture, treat, and infiltrate over 4.3 million gallons of stormwater each year.  SMART received the 2012 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for the Healthy and Sustainable Communities Category and was a 2015 winner of New Jersey Future's Smart Growth Award.

Collingswood Borough has developed a unique bike-sharing program using unclaimed bicycles from police storage. Volunteers paint the bikes lime green and maintain them. The program operates like a library, enabling residents to borrow the bikes for short or extended periods.

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Cape May County

Dennis Township adopted a pesticide-free zone policy to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides on Township-owned land.

West Cape May Borough passed an ordinance making small wind and solar systems a permitted use in all zones.

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Essex County

Maplewood: Residents helped to develop an innovative jitney service to get commuters to the Manhattan train instead of building an expensive parking structure. By providing frequent and direct public transit to commuter railway stations, residents no longer need to drive their cars, thereby reducing traffic congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Montclair( 50kb): The council endorsed the environmental commission’s Sustainable Planning Guide and has:


Newark is now the site of the world’s largest indoor aeroponic garden.  Aeroponics is a form of hydroponic cultivation that grows plants in a mist without soil or sun.  Aero Farms and its partners have built a 69,000 square foot vertical garden at a former steel factory in Newark’s Ironbound section.  The indoor garden is expected to produce up to 2 million pounds of pesticide free produce.

In July, 2016 Newark became the first municipality in the country to pass an Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts ordinance. The ordinance requires that developers requesting environmental permits must submit information about environmental impacts to the Newark Environmental Commission (NEC). The NEC can advise the Central Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment and the public of any possible “cumulative pollution impacts.” The Boards are not required to follow NEC’s recommendations. The recommendations become a matter of public record and are helping to create a new culture of EJ-CI awareness in the City.

The Verona Environmental Commission began a campaign to increase awareness and reduce idling in their community.  They worked with the Board of Education to get “no idling” signs posted at the schools and they also installed signs in other areas of the town.  In addition to implementing a comprehensive education program that included newspaper coverage, posters, flyers, speaking engagements and an elementary school poster contest the Commission collaborated with students and parents to produce a two minute video ,”Go Idle Free Verona. 

The Verona EC also teamed up with the high school environmental club and the manager of the Recycling Center to produce a video explaining what items should be recycled in Verona.

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Gloucester County

Woolwich Township passed an ordinance to increase the proportion of construction and demolition debris recycled rather than disposed of at land fills.


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Hudson County

Both Hoboken and Jersey City implemented bike share programs in 2015.

Hoboken began its program, Hudson Bike Share, on October 9, 2015.  The program began with 120 bikes and 17 stations located at spots designed to be a 3 to 5 minute walk from every Hoboken resident.  A total of 29 stations and 250 bikes are planned.  An annual membership costs $95 and allows for 45-minute unlimited rides.  Weekly passes cost $25 and allow unlimited 30-minute trips while single-trip passes are $2 for a 30 minute trip.

Jersey City launched its bike share program, Citi Bike Jersey City, in September 2015. It is fully interoperable with New York City’s Citi Bike bike share program. Bicycle rental fees are the same in both cities and members in either city can use their membership in both systems.  Citi Bike Jersey City increased the number of bikes it operates from 350 to 500 bikes at 50 docking stations.    

Mercer County

After severe flooding resulting from Hurricane Irene the Hightstown Environmental Commission proposed and advocated for a strengthened town storm-water management ordinance.  The amended ordinance was enacted in summer 2012.   It triggers review of zoning or development /redevelopment projects by the Commission for over 250 sq. feet of new impervious cover and /or 1000 sq. feet of disturbance.  The prior threshold was ¼ acre of impervious cover and/or one acre of disturbance.  The Commission received a 2012 ANJEC Environmental Achievement Award for this accomplishment.

Hopewell Township’s sustainability initiatives include a master plan and zoning based on “water balance”, solar panels for its public works building and retrofitting the lighting in its municipal buildings. The township currently has funding from the Board of Public Utilities to develop the “EQ Challenge” that aims to encourage energy conservation in local households by inviting residents to show their “energy intelligence.”

Princeton: The Princeton Environmental Commission created a Guide to Fall Leaf Management. The guide encourages residents to use leaves to naturally support their yards rather than placing them in the street for pick up. The Princeton Environmental Commission collaborates with Sustainable Princeton whose stated goals are to reduce Princeton’s energy generated by fossil fuels by20% by 2020 and to reduce Princeton’s waste by 50% by 2016.

West Windsor Township: The Sustainable West Windsor Plan 2007 was created by the town's Environmental Commission to provide a roadmap for evolving West Windsor into a more environmentally sustainable community.

The West Windsor Environmental Commission (WWEC) released the West Windsor Climate Action Plan (CAP) in July 2015.  CAP summarizes the science of climate change and associated risks, provides an estimate of quantity of greenhouse gas emissions (GGH) for the township, GGH reduction goal, proposes plan of action to achieve GGH and initiates discussion on how residents should plan/adapt climate change.  Working in partnership with the Rutgers Climate Institute and consultants funded by Sustainable Jersey, environmental commission members framed and shaped the CAP document. WWEC has shared this draft report through various outreach activities such as Council meeting, West Windsor Farmer’s Market, Sustainable Lawrence and Mercer County Sustainability Coalition and Rutgers Earth Systems Science class.  WWEC held a public meeting on November 2, 2015 to present CAP and to seek a dialogue with the community.

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Middlesex County

Highland Park: A range of global actions includes:

The borough estimates that its award-winning green savers program has saved approximately $14,000 a year, with the photovoltaic (PV) roof system saving approximately 25 percent. The town has implemented many green community initiatives, including:

For the seventh year in a row, Woodbridge Township has earned Sustainable Jersey’s Sustainability Champion award in the large municipality category. Woodbridge completed 92 actions in 18 categories and scored a record 1,035 points.

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Monmouth County

Belmar has created an action plan that combines the objectives of a clean environment, affordable housing, and quality of life in the shore community. Entitled Sustainable Living by the Sea: Belmar’s Blueprint for Building a Livable, Affordable and Inclusive Community, the plan’s key strategies include:

In 2009 Long Branch began participating in the Energy Star Change the World pledge campaign with a goal of collecting pledges leading to actions that would avoid more than 1.2 million pounds of Greenhouse Gas emissions. Each subsequent year participants have been asked to renew their commitment and at the beginning of 2014 cumulative emission reductions were approximately 9 million pounds.


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Morris County

The Roxbury Township Environmental Commission organized a campaign to collect and recycle monofilament (plastic) fishing line, which takes many years to degrade and can cause entanglement injuries to fish and wildlife, boaters and swimmers.  The Commission registered with the Boat US Foundation and the Boat US Angler Program, which offered free collection bins. Late in the summer the commissioners collected 6 pounds of line (the equivalent of eleven miles) from the five bins that were installed at Ledgewood Park Pond and five at Horseshoe Lake prior to the 2012 fishing derbies; the line is sent to Iowa for recycling.  The Commission received a 2012 ANJEC Environmental Achievement Award for this campaign.

Ocean County

The Plumsted Township Environmental Commission worked with Girl Scout Troop #559 on a kestrel awareness project.  Early in 2012 the Girl Scouts requested help from the Commission in building bluebird boxes.  On learning that the American Kestrel was newly added to the NJ Threatened Bird Species List, the Commission suggested focusing on kestrel boxes instead.  The Commission helped the scouts to create a kestrel display, explained how to build wooden kestrel boxes and helped them obtain building materials.  The team installed two kestrel boxes at Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area and one at a local farm.  The team received a 2012 ANJEC Environmental Achievement Award for this project.

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Passaic County

The Hawthorne Environmental Commission and the Hawthorne Green Team partnered with residents, governments and local organizations to create an interactive Green Map. The map promotes safe walking and biking routes that link residential areas to the train station, downtown areas, parks and recreational areas, historical sites, and schools.  A downloadable map is also available on Hawthorne’s website. The Commission and Green Team received a 2012 ANJEC Environmental Achievement Award for developing the Green Map.  

West Milford Township has a citizen's initiative called Sustainable West Milford that sponsored the Highlands Green Fest, native plant and medicinal plant gardens and the Buy Local-Be Local Campaign. An attractive web site keeps residents informed about sustainability matters.

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Somerset County

Bernards Township Green Team has developed an online resource to help residents make positive changes at home. The Green Guide also recognizes the green efforts of local community and nonprofit organizations and businesses and highlights measures the town is taking to protect health and the environment. For example:

Hillsborough has an ordinance that will allow the use of small windmill systems to generate renewable power on 10-acre lots in specific areas of the town.


Union County

Linden received the 2012 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for the Land Conservation Category for its ongoing development of the Hawk Rise Sanctuary, which opened in May 2012 after a five year restoration. The 95 acre ecological preserve and wetland complex was converted from a capped landfill under the combined leadership of Linden, NJ DEP, and New Jersey Audubon.  The sanctuary includes open land and wetlands and offers a mile and a half of walkway/trail system from which the Rahway River and many birds can be observed.

Summit Environmental Commission completed a sustainability plan in 2008 and has enrolled more than 2% of residents in BPU’s Clean Power Choice Program. The city-wide cleanup each Earth Day collects several tons of recyclables. Summit’s compact, walkable downtown has two LEED-certified commercial buildings. For fourth year, Summit has earned Sustainable Jersey's Sustainability Champion Award in the medium municipality category and has achieved Silver certification for the third time.


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