Edison and Woodbridge have been awarded Clean Communities grants from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The townships are two of the largest municipal recipients of funds this year for environmental cleanups and education projects. Edison received $166,404 and Woodbridge received $163,272.
Edison Health Director Jay Elliot, who oversees the local Clean Communities program, explained the DEP grant, which was awarded on June 25, helps Edison sponsor public park and roadside litter cleanups, provide environmental education to school children, and raise awareness about litter control and recycling at public events.
“We are grateful for the DEP’s continued support of Edison’s many environmental initiatives,” Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey said. “These grants enable us to improve the quality of life for residents and to show families how they can be more environmentally conscious in their daily lives.”
Edison plans to use its 2018 grant for environmental outreach initiatives at public and private schools and child care centers; during Recreation Department summer youth programs; at National Night Out in August, and at the Edison Fall Family Spectacular in September. The township also plans to host a Clean Communities Day at the Farmers Market on Amboy Avenue.
Edison’s Clean Communities program is the primary sponsor of the local Earth Day celebration, which marked its eighth straight year on April 22 with educational performances and giveaways, Elliot said.
During Edison’s Earth Day, volunteers from Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, the Lions Club, Job Corps, Tzu Chi Foundation, Edison Greenways and the Environmental Commission pitched in to clean up Papaianni Park and its lake, and compile data for the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s annual visual litter survey.
The nonprofit Clean Communities Council oversees municipal reporting requirements for the DEP’s grant program, which awards grants based on a town’s number of housing units and miles of municipally owned roads. Edison’s grant was $173,900 in 2017 and $189,028 in 2016.
John Hagerty, communications director for Woodbridge, said the Office of Recycling in the Department of Public Works receives and manages the DEP Clean Communities grant.
“The grant funds are used to support our public information and marketing campaign(s) geared to inform residents about recycling initiatives,” he said. “The funds are also used to support the MyWaste App, which we have established to provide residents information about Department of Public Works services. Finally, grant funds support recycling education programs in the Woodbridge middle schools.”