Sustainable Jersey Announces 2016 Municipal Champions and Certified Towns

on Nov 15, 2016

Today, Sustainable Jersey announced the recipients of the 2016 Sustainable Jersey municipal awards and the 74 towns that have achieved certification. The announcement was made at the Annual Sustainable Jersey Luncheon held during the New Jersey League of Municipality Conference in Atlantic City.

The 2016 Sustainability Champion award recipients are (descriptions at the end of the release):

  • SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION (LARGE CATEGORY) with 1,035 points: Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County)

  • SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION (MEDIUM CATEGORY) with 460 points: Ewing Township (Mercer County)

  • SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION (SMALL CATEGORY) with 375 points: Bordentown City (Burlington County)

The 2016 Sustainable Jersey special award winners are (descriptions at the end of the release):

  • MAYOR ART ONDISH LEADERSHIP AWARD:  Caroline Ehrlich, Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County)

  • CREATIVITY & INNOVATION AWARD: Longport Borough (Atlantic County)   

  • ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Monroe Township (Gloucester County)

  • COLLABORATION AWARD: Maplewood Township, Millburn Township, South Orange Village (Essex County)

“The Sustainable Jersey municipal awards recognize the outstanding work being done at the local level,” said Randall Solomon, who co-directs Sustainable Jersey with Donna Drewes. “We are extremely impressed by the innovative and effective sustainability programs and initiatives of these towns. They deserve to be commended for their accomplishments.”

Seventy-four towns have achieved Sustainable Jersey certification so far in the 2016 municipal certification cycle. Each municipality that is certified at the bronze-level must submit documentation to show it has completed a balance of the program’s sustainability actions, meeting a minimum of 150 points. This application cycle, 26 towns achieved certification at the more advanced silver-level to make a total of 41 towns that are silver-certified. Silver-level certification requires that a town meet a minimum of 350 points. Currently 198 towns are certified and Sustainable Jersey's 440 participating communities represent nearly 78 percent of the state's municipalities.  Review the list of the 2016 Sustainable Jersey Certified Communities.


2016 Sustainability Champion Award:

The Sustainability Champion award recognizes municipalities that have scored the most points in the Sustainable Jersey certification program in three population categories (large, medium and small).

Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County) LARGE CATEGORY with 1,035 points. This is the seventh time that Woodbridge Township has achieved this honor since the awards began in 2009; the Township received the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Woodbridge Township is pleased to once again accept the Sustainable Jersey silver-level certification and Sustainability Champion award for the sixth time,” said Mayor John E. McCormac.  “Sustainable Jersey serves as a benchmark for our sustainable initiatives, while providing the Township with additional resources needed to plan for our green future.  In the quest for our sixth Sustainable Jersey Champion Award, Woodbridge Township competed against 198 Sustainable Jersey certified municipalities and 440 participating municipalities in the Sustainable Jersey competition, earning Sustainable points with 92 actions in 18 separate categories – scoring a record 1,035 points. And throughout, Greenable Woodbridge continued to implement many sustainable initiatives and programs that serve to better manage the ways we use energy and other natural resources at work and home.  The Sustainable Jersey program is an important vehicle by which our Township will continue to move into the future as a sustainable and environmentally-conscious community,” Mayor McCormac added.

Ewing Township (Mercer County) MEDIUM CATEGORY with 460 points: Bert H. Steinmann, Mayor, Ewing Township said, “I am extremely proud of the diligent work that was done by our amazing green team, and the many volunteers to help achieve this honor.”   

Bordentown City (Burlington County) SMALL CATEGORY with 375 points

2016 Mayor Ondish Leadership Award: Woodbridge Township/Caroline Ehrlich (Middlesex County): This year Sustainable Jersey renamed the Leadership Award to recognize our friend Mayor Art Ondish; he was a true leader and an original member of the visionary mayors who founded the Sustainable Jersey program. This award recognizes an individual who is a driving force behind moving the Sustainable Jersey program forward at the local level and statewide. This year’s award recipient, Caroline Ehrlich, serves as treasurer on the Sustainable Jersey Board and is the chief of staff to Woodbridge Township Mayor John E. McCormac and executive director of the Woodbridge Township Redevelopment Agency. Caroline Ehrlich leads the Sustainable Jersey Certification Standards Committee, and she spearheaded efforts to designate Woodbridge Township a Sustainable Jersey community and was instrumental in creating the Greenable Woodbridge program. Under Caroline Ehrlich’s leadership, Woodbridge Township received a 3-STAR Community Rating for national leadership in sustainability—a designation that places Woodbridge among the top sustainable cities and communities in the nation. Woodbridge Township has received the Sustainable Jersey Sustainable Champion award seven times for achieving the most certification points and has been certified at the silver-level certification for seven years.

2016 Creativity and Innovation Award: Longport Borough (Atlantic County): This award recognizes a forward-thinking municipality that supports a culture of creativity and innovation as it implements new approaches to solving problems or develops community and social capital to pursue sustainability initiatives. In 2016, Longport Borough enacted New Jersey’s first single-use bag fee ordinance.

“The Borough of Longport is honored to be presented with the Creativity and Innovation Award from Sustainable Jersey. Enacting New Jersey’s first single-use bag fee ordinance is a small step towards reducing the dangers that single-use bags, in particular those made of thin plastic film, pose to the environment. As a coastal community, we find these plastic bags washing up on our beaches, jamming our beach rakes, and clogging our storm drains. We know that they can have a devastating impact on marine wildlife. I say it is a small step because in order to see significant change, it is a step that I hope all 565 municipalities will strive towards. The 10-cent fee imposed on all single-use bags is not punitive in nature. The monies charged are kept by the businesses providing the bags, so it is not a tax. The additional fee’s true purpose is to raise awareness and encourage the public to bring a reusable bag. We hope that other municipalities can learn and build upon our experience. Longport may have been the first to take this step, but we hope we are not the last.” - Nick M. Russo, Ed.D., Mayor, Borough of Longport

2016 Rookie of the Year Award: Monroe Township (Gloucester County): This award recognizes a newly certified municipality that overcame challenges by effectively leveraging a wide range of internal and external resources to achieve success. Monroe Township achieved certification this year.

"This award is tremendous for our town.  It shows the hard work done by our Sustainable Monroe Township team to move us forward as a green community." - Daniel P. Teefy, Mayor, Township of Monroe

2016 Collaboration Award: Maplewood Township, Millburn Township and South Orange Village (Essex County): This award recognizes a municipal green team that has advanced sustainability by building strong partnerships. The Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange Green Teams meet monthly to move collaborative projects forward. Two successful projects launched are worth noting.  First, the re:Yard program, is a community program that recognizes yards for being sustainable and provides 31 credits covering topics such as water efficiency, sustainable materials, composting and native plants for residents to complete for certification. The second program is the Essex Community Energy campaign to help local residents get energy audits and use energy inefficiently. Both programs have had multiple community events, websites, social media and an impressive participation rate with residents in all three towns.

“Maplewood is honored to receive the Sustainable Jersey Collaboration Award with South Orange and Millburn.  Towns sharing in regional sustainable efforts result in an efficient and effective way to plan, educate residents and businesses, and carry out our goals. Regional collaborations are important in addressing sustainability issues because so many of the challenges which confront our individual municipalities do not recognize our political borders. The re:Yard and Essex Community Energy programs are two examples of the important programs the green teams are bringing to our three towns.” – Victor DeLuca, Mayor, Maplewood Township

“Thank you to Sustainable Jersey for honoring South Orange with bronze certification and for recognizing the efforts of our green team with the Collaboration Award. Most of the challenges our municipalities face neither exist in nor can be solved in isolation. Reaching out to share services, ideas, and resources is critical to every municipalities’ future and I am especially proud of our green team’s work with Millburn and Maplewood as it exemplifies how collaboration results in shared success.” – Sheena Collum, Village President, South Orange Village, NJ

 “Millburn Township is proud to continue its work to advance sustainability through Millburn Township Green Team's partnership with the Green Teams of Maplewood and South Orange. We appreciate the hard work of our volunteers and thank Sustainable Jersey for this commendation.” - Alexander McDonald, Business Administrator, Township of Millburn

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