Learn more about Township Environmental Commissions and Sustainable Jersey Green Teams.

An environmental commission is a township council that advises on environmental planning, opportunities, and challenges. The commission is a group of volunteers. They also take an oath to serve as government officials. They regularly meet to discuss environmental issues such as “open space preservation, smart growth, wetlands and water resource protection, green infrastructure, recycling and litter, environmental cleanups, wildlife habitat, energy efficiency, conservation, and transportation.”

Your town may have an environmental commission! Research is the best way to get information on if your town has an environmental commission. Start with the township website as well as township social media channels. If you can’t find anything, reach out via phone number or email to ask. If they don’t have one, propose making one.

As an Environmental Commission member, I can provide insight into how the council works. We meet virtually every month to discuss new township building developments and engagement opportunities. The council focuses on how community members can reduce their environmental impact and get involved or get started with green projects in town. Throughout the year, we promote township events such as a Green Fair, Pumpkin Recycling, Christmas tree recycling, Paper Shredder days, and more.

The Environmental Commission also provides zero-waste options for community members. Through township funding and grant opportunities with Sustainable Jersey, the council can offer recycling opportunities for waste that is not curbside recyclable. They collect waste through TerraCycle’s Free Recycling Programs and Zero Waste Boxes at the Public Works building. For example, they collect oral care products, art supplies, beauty products, and so much more right in town. The township provides amazing opportunities to recycle everything!

New Jersey even has an Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. This organization provides support and resources to all the township commission groups throughout the state of New Jersey. The ANJEC cares about how municipal governments manage their environmental services. Learn about how this non-profit supports local protected areas, waterways, infrastructure, wildlife habitat, energy efficiency, waste management, and more. Check out this non-profit supporting local-level environmental protection, here.

Sustainable Jersey is a non-profit associated with The College of New Jersey. By joining a Green Team, anyone can work with community members on environmental projects that can gain rankings against other towns, grants, and further resources on environmental development. The Green Teams are a space and movement where the community can get involved with others who care about the environment and climate change. Thanks to the non-profit’s support, resources, and events, hundreds of municipalities across the state have created environmental projects that make a difference, from permeable sidewalks for stormwater management to be naturally filtered to native gardens that support native butterflies and bees and more. Sustainable Jersey’s Green Teams have even reached other states, such as New York and Connecticut.

Start your research if you don’t live in New Jersey but still want to get involved with local environmental protection. From nonprofits to businesses and community groups, there might be organizations nearby working to mitigate climate change and help environmental services in your town. Start your research with simple search keywords and your town name. Look on township Facebook groups and see what you find. Joining groups where people are already making strides towards a similar goal is a great way to work with a platform that already has momentum. Then you can learn from them and help provide your leadership in needed areas.

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