Lawrence Township has earned Silver certification from Sustainable Jersey for the second consecutive time at an awards ceremony at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities convention in November.
Lawrence Township is one of 70 municipalities to be certified at the Silver level by Sustainable Jersey for 2022. A town must earn at least 350 points across eight of 17 categories to earn Silver certification.
Sustainable Jersey provides tools and training to encourage municipalities to become more sustainable by reducing waste and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.
“Having Silver certification for the second time is huge. We are very proud of the fact that we earned Silver certification again. We want to keep the momentum going,” said Pam Mount, who chairs Sustainable Lawrence. She is a former chairman of the statewide Sustainable Jersey nonprofit group.
Annette Loveless, who chairs the township’s Environmental and Green Advisory Committee, said the trick to earning certification is not to make it a checklist, but to make Lawrence Township more resilient.
“We are strategically making Lawrence more resilient through the control of greenhouse gases and using more renewable energy,” Loveless said.
Sustainable Jersey certifies participating towns as Bronze for earning at least 150 points, or Silver for earning at least 350 points. Certified towns may go on to earn Gold Star recognition for high levels of achievement in energy, health and water categories.
Of the 464 participating communities, 152 are certified at the Bronze level and 70 municipalities – including Lawrence Township – are certified at the Silver level. Princeton and Woodbridge are Gold Star communities.
Lawrence Township earned Silver certification in 2019 by earning 415 points. For 2022, the town earned 505 points. Certification is valid for three years, although a town may recertify at any time.
The township earned points for holding a Green Fair; re-adopting its Sustainable Land Use pledge and its Complete and Green Streets for All policy; and for updating its Natural Resources Inventory that contains updates on open space, trails, floodplain areas and remediation of contaminated sites.
Points were earned for Brownfields Reuse Planning, for designating the property at 40 Enterprise Ave. as an area in need of redevelopment to encourage its reuse; and for continuing the brownfields assessment and investigation of the former Pit Stop service station at 1175 Lawrenceville Road. Both sites are contaminated.
Under the category of Energy Efficiency for Municipal Facilities, Lawrence scored points for installing solar panels at the Department of Public Works building and for installing a solar panel carport system in the parking lots at the Lawrence Township Municipal Building and the Lawrence Township Police Department.
The township purchased two electric vehicles that are used by township inspectors for field inspections, and also installed public EV (electric vehicle) charging stations at the Lawrence Township Municipal Building parking lot.
Additional points were earned for the township’s Food Waste initiative. The organic waste program provides residents with an opportunity to compost their organic food waste through a curbside organic collection program. The contents of the 32-gallon carts are taken to local farms for composting.
“Sustainability has to start with the residents. Each one of us is doing our part to change the trajectory of climate change. Sustainable Jersey and Sustainable Lawrence have done that by encouraging community involvement,” Mount said.