Princeton demonstrates commitment to ‘sustainability initiatives’

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The Municipality of Princeton has been certified at the Silver Level by Sustainable Jersey, becoming one of 20 towns to achieve that status in 2023 and one of 70 towns overall.

Princeton was recognized for its achievement at the State League of Municipalities’ annual conference Nov. 14. The town racked up 675 points in 14 categories, and also earned Gold Star status in health.

A town must earn 150 points to earn Bronze Level status and 350 points to earn Silver Level status. Certification is valid for three years, but a town may seek recertification at any point to maintain momentum or to seek a higher level of certification, officials said.

Certified towns excelled in areas such as improving energy efficiency, health and wellness, reducing waste, sustaining local economies, protecting natural resources and advancing the arts.

Princeton Council President Mia Sacks, who is the liaison to Sustainable Princeton, was pleased that the town earned Silver Level certification status.

“Princeton is honored to receive this record number of points from Sustainable Jersey. It demonstrates our continued commitment to implementing innovative and comprehensive sustainability initiatives,” Sacks said.

Among its actions, Princeton earned 10 points for purchasing three battery-operated electric scooters for parking enforcement officers. The scooters arrived in June.

The town earned 15 points for hosting a “Green Fair” in collaboration with Morven Museum and Garden, Sustainable Princeton, the Johnson Park School’s Green Team and Rutgers University Master Gardeners.

The all-day event included electric lawn equipment demonstrations; educational booths about composting, rain gardens and rain barrels; and free bicycle repairs by Princeton High School’s bicycle club.

It also earned five points for its backyard composting program. The town arranged for residents to purchase a backyard composter at a discounted rate to divert food waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.

Princeton also received Gold Star status in health. The town earned 15 points for two community gardens – one on John Street and another one at Barbara Smoyer Park.

The town received 15 points for its public electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot outside of the Witherspoon Hall municipal building at 400 Witherspoon St.

The four Level II dual-port charging stations were installed in February and opened to the public in March.

Sustainable Princeton is grateful to work in a town that prioritizes sustainability, said Christine Symington. She is the executive director of Sustainable Princeton.

“It is a privilege for us to be on a team alongside municipal staff, board, committee, commission members and community partners to recertify every year. Our town’s dedication is clear by the record number of points awarded,” Symington said.