17 NJ Municipalities Recognized for Sustainability Leadership

on Nov 19, 2019

Today, Sustainable Jersey announced the recipients of the 2019 Sustainable Jersey municipal annual awards. The announcement was made at the Annual Sustainable Jersey Luncheon held during the New Jersey League of Municipality Conference in Atlantic City.

The 2019 Sustainability Champion award recipients are (descriptions at the end of the release):

  • SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION (Large Category) with 1,160 points: Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County)

  • SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION (Medium Category) with 640 points: Summit City (Union County)

  • SUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION (Small Category) with 535 points: Bordentown City (Burlington County)

The 2019 Sustainable Jersey special award recipients are (descriptions at the end of the release):

  • MAYOR ART ONDISH LEADERSHIP AWARD: Victor DeLuca, Mayor of Maplewood Township (Essex County)

  • CREATIVITY & INNOVATION AWARD: Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Leonia, Oakland, Oradell, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood and Wyckoff (Bergen County)      

  • ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Audubon Borough (Camden County)

  • COLLABORATION AWARD: Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange Village and Verona (Essex County)

“The need for sustainability action has never been more urgent as New Jersey tops the list as one of the fastest-warming states in the nation. The municipalities that are receiving Sustainable Jersey’s highest recognition awards have set a new bar and aspirational example for other communities to meet as they pursue sustainability goals,” said Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey. “As we mark Sustainable Jersey’s 10th anniversary, I’d like to congratulate the award winners for their efforts and dedication to their communities. Thank you for innovating and growing with Sustainable Jersey!”


2019 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 (over 40,000), medium (5,000 to 40,000) and small (under 5,000).

Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County) LARGE CATEGORY with 1,160 points. This is the tenth time that Woodbridge Township has achieved this honor since the awards began in 2009; the Township received the award from 2009-2014 and 2015-2019.

“Woodbridge Township is pleased to once again accept the prestigious Sustainable Jersey silver-level recertification and Sustainability Champion Award for large-size municipalities for the tenth year. Sustainable Jersey serves as a benchmark for our sustainable initiatives, while providing the Township with additional resources as we continue to lead the state in sustainable and green initiatives. In the quest for our tenth Sustainable Jersey Champion Award, Woodbridge Township competed against 450 municipalities, including 212 Sustainable Jersey certified municipalities and 51 silver-level certified towns in the Sustainable Jersey competition, earning sustainable points with 99 actions in 18 separate categories – scoring a record 1,160 points. And throughout, Greenable Woodbridge continued to advance many more 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.” --John E. McCormac, Mayor, Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County 

Summit City (Union County) MEDIUM CATEGORY with 640 points. This is the sixth time that Summit City has achieved this honor since the awards began in 2009; the City received the award in 2009-2011, 2014, 2017 and 2019.   

“I am proud to be mayor of a city that prioritizes working together to create a sustainable future. Being awarded Sustainable Jersey Champion status and a silver certification for the sixth time is recognition of the outstanding work of city staff and community volunteers in advancing this important goal. The City of Summit is thankful to Sustainable Jersey for its support and recognition, and this award.”– Nora Radest, Mayor, Summit City, Union County

Bordentown City (Burlington County) SMALL CATEGORY with 535 points. This is the fourth time Bordentown City has achieved this honor since the awards began in 2009; the City received the award in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019.

“I can certainly affirm and congratulate Bordentown City's Green Team for their continued success in achieving this prestigious award. This was accomplished by volunteers who care deeply about the future of Bordentown’s sustainable future. I personally care deeply of turning over to future generations this mindset that we can all be proud of, so the path forward continues " James E. Lynch, Mayor, Bordentown City, Burlington County

2019 Mayor Ondish Leadership Award: Mayor Victor DeLuca, Maplewood Township (Essex County) This award recognizes the leader of a model Sustainable Jersey town for providing its green team with ideas, policy support and the necessary resources to achieve significant success towards sustainability at the local level and to contribute to the statewide movement. Victor DeLuca has served 20 years in office and 14 years as mayor of Maplewood. Maplewood Township has been certified with Sustainable Jersey since 2009 and has maintained certification at the silver-level since 2013. Mayor DeLuca serves on the Sustainable Jersey Certifications Committee, which vets all of the Sustainable Jersey actions and program changes, and is one of 12 New Jersey mayors who publicly pledged to collaborate with Sustainable Jersey and make a significant effort to achieve Sustainable Jersey’s Gold Star Standard in Energy. He has demonstrated bold leadership to move sustainability forward at the local level. Maplewood signed the Paris Climate Agreement and changed local laws to facilitate the installation of residential solar energy systems. The town set up an electric vehicle charging station for the public and has banned single use, plastic shopping bags. Maplewood is the lead municipality for the Sustainable Essex Alliance Energy Procurement Cooperative, a multi-municipal cooperative that purchased greener and cheaper electricity and promotes energy efficiency for residents.

“I knew and worked with Mayor Art Ondish for many years and am honored to receive this year's Ondish Leadership Award. I believe sustainability starts at the local level and then we need to take those local concerns and transform them into statewide and national movements for change. As elected officials we need to be bold leaders and also encourage and support the activism of our constituents. I share the Ondish Award with the local activists in Maplewood who I proudly work with side-by-side to make our community and the world more sustainable now and for generations to come.”Victor DeLuca, Mayor, Maplewood Township, Essex County

2019 Creativity and Innovation Award: Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Leonia, Oakland, Oradell, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood and Wyckoff (Bergen County): This award recognizes municipalities for forward-thinking that supports a culture of creativity and innovation as it implements new approaches to solving problems. In order to increase public awareness of the negative impacts of Styrofoam, these eight municipalities developed a curriculum called "The Science of Styrofoam" and hosted twelve trainings for students in the schools across the county. The program involved the local businesses and a certificate and a "Bergen Styrofoam Free" decal for those businesses to display. To date, this group has conducted nine collection drives, keeping over 3,000 lbs. of expanded polystyrene, or "EPS" used for packaging, out of the landfills!  Recently, the group also successfully urged the Bergen County Freeholders to pass a ban on XPS (or extruded polystyrene) food containers from all county property.

“Congratulations to the Fair Lawn Green Team and our neighboring towns who are being recognized by Sustainable Jersey for your initiatives to keep Bergen County environmentally friendly and Styrofoam fee.  Your hard work is making a positive difference.” -- Kurt Peluso, Mayor, Borough of Fair Lawn, Bergen County

We are very honored to be a recipient of the 2019 Creativity & Innovation Award. I would like to congratulate the other award recipients. This is a special recognition for us given our commitment to sustainability and environmental initiatives. We look forward to continuing our sustainability efforts and welcome opportunities for collaboration and education with other communities.-- Ramon M. Hache, Sr., Mayor, Village of Ridgewood, Bergen County

“It is an honor to have such dedicated and community minded individuals in Oakland who pursue their passions for the greater good of the community to make the place we live a cleaner environment for all.  The collaborative efforts of the Bergen County Hub Styrofoam Team have brought incredible positive change to Bergen County and beyond. Their leadership has transformed communities using educational programs for children, awarding businesses for sustainable practices, hosting collection drives throughout the county and working with legislators on creating laws for clean communities.” -- Linda Schwager, Mayor, Oakland, Bergen County

2019 Rookie of the Year Award: Audubon Borough (Camden County): This award recognizes a municipality that remained committed to achieving certification despite challenges along the way. Audubon is receiving this award for their perseverance as they remained committed to achieving certification despite challenges along the way. Audubon was certified for the first time at the bronze level this year with 155 points.

“Audubon Borough is pleased to receive the Sustainable Jersey Rookie of the Year Award. Special thanks should go to the members of Sustainable Audubon which is a group of dedicated Audubon residents pursuing environmental awareness and sustainability within Audubon Borough.   Through the hard work of achieving a Sustainable Jersey certification, the Borough of Audubon will become a healthy and sustainable community for future generations to enjoy.” -- John J. Ward, Mayor, Audubon Borough

2019 Collaboration Award: Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange Village and Verona (Essex County): This award recognizes municipal green teams that have advanced sustainability by building strong partnerships. In 2017, the Sustainable Essex Alliance, decided to investigate Renewable Government Energy Aggregation or Community Choice Aggregation, as a possible project for the Hub. By using the combined purchasing power of the residents, municipalities can often negotiate increased renewable content and better pricing for their residents. The Sustainable Essex Alliance Cooperative was formed.  Participating towns in the first energy contract for the project include Maplewood as the lead agent, Glen Ridge, Montclair, South Orange and Verona.  The purpose of doing the project as a multi-town group was to maximize the volume pricing discount for renewable energy. The participating townships’ electrical supply now includes renewable content 20 percent above what is required by the state.  Additionally, the Sustainable Essex Alliance Project has an energy efficiency program included as part of the project that will benefit residents in all of the participating townships.

“The Sustainable Essex Alliance is transformational with more than 30,000 families in five towns now receiving cleaner and cheaper electricity. This is an example of how individual New Jersey municipalities can build a collaboration to benefit their residents, advance good public policy and boost the market for clean energy. And the Alliance's energy efficiency program will help the families further reduce their electric use and bills. I want to thank the citizen groups in each of the five towns who pushed and prodded their elected officials to get on board, truly a major win for all involved.” – Victor DeLuca, Mayor, Maplewood Township, Essex County

“Glen Ridge is thrilled to join with our fellow municipalities to accept this award. Together, we are demonstrating that going green can also result in savings for our residents. I would like to thank our green team and municipal staff for their leadership on not only this project, but for also achieving silver certification with Sustainable Jersey this year.” -- Stuart Patrick, Mayor, Glen Ridge Borough, Essex County

“Montclair residents have been pleased to participate in the Sustainable Essex Alliance’s cooperative purchasing program, which increased our supply of renewable electricity while saving our citizens some money by lowering our rate. Cleaner energy choices and smart savings: perfect together!”  -- Robert Jackson, Mayor, Montclair Township, Essex County

“I’m extremely proud of our green team not just for being a part of the group that won the 2019 Collaboration Award but because this cross-border collaboration leverages purchasing power in service of the public. The result of these five towns joining together is millions of dollars in energy savings across all of our communities and each household is a little bit greener too.” -- Sheena Collum, Village President, South Orange Village, Essex County


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