Hillsborough residents urged to partake in local compost challenge

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Hillsborough Township residents are encouraged by municipal officials to take part in a local initiative aimed to compost more waste.

The Hillsborough Compost Challenge 2020, which was introduced this year by Girl Scout Troop 60364 member Nikita Agarwal, was enacted as part of her Gold Award project. The initiative by the Hillsborough girl scout is intended to encourage locals to make a difference and take a compost challenge pledge this year.

Officials said people interested in participating can complete the pledge by Feb. 15 to be eligible to enter the drawing for a free compost bin.

“A pledge goal of 337 Hillsborough households would account for almost one ton of waste that would be removed from every 100 tons disposed,” Hillsborough officials said.

Composting is defined as a process where organic matter that has been decomposed recycles various organic materials otherwise regarded as waste products and produces a soil conditioner. Compost is rich in nutrients and can be used in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, urban agriculture and organic farming. It can also be used as fertilizer and as a natural pesticide for soil. Other uses for compost in ecosystems include erosion control, land and stream reclamation, wetland construction, and landfill cover.

The township-wide initiative also comes after Hillsborough was recognized in 2019 as one of Somerset County’s most sustainable communities. As part of Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that aims to provide tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs, officials from the group announced last year that Hillsborough met the requirements to achieve its eighth Sustainable Jersey certification in 10 years.

Additional notable actions the township received credits towards 2019’s recertification included: Buy Fresh, Buy Local (Hillsborough Harvest); commercial energy efficiency outreach; green infrastructure planning; community forestry management plan; tree maintenance and planting programs; municipal communications strategy; improve public engagement in municipal government and in planning and zoning; and municipal building waste audit.

Previous actions taken by the township in recent years include support of local businesses; a buy local campaign (Shop Hillsborough); municipal complex rain garden; emergency communications planning; a green living and wellness fair; building a healthier community (Mayor’s Wellness Campaign); recycled paper purchasing; municipal on-site solar system; hunting and wildlife management; smoke-free parks; tree protection ordinance; and NJ Smart Workplaces.

Hillsborough officials have also endorsed other initiatives for eco-friendly actions, which included the introduction of one resident’s mission to raise awareness, as well as a donation to clean up local sites.

The township’s Clean Communities Program and “Kaptain Cleanup Partner for a Beautiful Hillsborough” were introduced to the township last year when municipal officials unveiled “Kaptain Cleanup” at a committee meeting.

The character made its first Hillsborough Township appearance on Nov. 16, 2019 at the township-wide endorsed “Clean Up Day,” sponsored by the department of public works, parks, the health department recycling coordinator and Clean Communities Community.

“Kaptain Cleanup,” born as Kacey Green, is the daughter of an environmentalist who introduced the importance of being a “steward of the earth” and protecting it from the worlds’ harmful effects. When she moved to Hillsborough, Green took on the identity of the character as a way to help serve, protect and promote litter free communities where residents are encouraged to become “litter heroes.”

She works with the Hillsborough Clean Communities team with an intent to encourage residents to make an impact on their community.

“The ultimate goal of ‘Kaptain Cleanup’ is to educate and motivate residents in making a choice to get involved and to see the impact being involved has on promoting a beautiful, and clean community that is litter free,” according to a statement released from the township.