Program Updates

On a continuous basis, through the help of the Task Forces, the Certification Standards Committee reviews Sustainable Jersey program content, standards, and feedback to ensure actions are relevant, appropriate and up-to-date with current trends, information and expertise.  Sustainable Jersey announces new program and action updates every year at the annual New Jersey League of Municipalities Conference.  New actions and action updates are typically implemented in January.


2022 Retired Actions

Nine actions were retired on December 31, 2022.  View the full list and additional details here.

2023 Retiring Actions

Due to the EPA WasteWise Program no longer accepting WasteWise partners, the EPA WasteWise Partner action was retired from the program in February 2023.  The below actions will retire on December 31, 2023.

  • Animals in the Community Education
  • Adopt a Green Purchasing Policy by Ordinance and Resolution: These actions are replaced by the NEW Green Purchasing Policy action.
  • "Green" Your Green Fair: This action is now combined into the updated Green Fair action.
  • Efficient Landscape Design
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • Minimize Water Consumption
  • Vision Statement & Goals, Indicators & Targets, and Action Plans: These actions are replaced by the NEW Community Sustainability Plan action.


2023 New Actions

Natural Resources

Winter Best Practices to Reduce Road Salt Impacts: 5 to 15 Points 
Roadway anti-icing and deicing chemicals are used to minimize snow and ice buildup on winter roadways and, in combination with plowing, are highly effective at reducing traffic crashes in winter weather. At the same time, we know that no matter how it is applied, winter salts do not go away when winter is over. They eventually wash into water bodies or into the soil, where salts are gradually released to surface and groundwater. This action assists a municipality in understanding how much salt is being applied to roadways, its impact and how to employ monitoring, education, training and implementation of best management practices to safely reduce over time the amount used. For certified communities, this action can count toward a Gold Star Standard in Water.

Operations & Maintenance

Green Purchasing Policy: 5 to 10 Points 
A Green Purchasing Policy outlines standards and procedures for selecting products based on environmental criteria. This action was updated to include current best practices and resources. The action awards variable points depending on whether a resolution or ordinance is passed, and replaces the separate Adopt a Green Purchasing Policy by Ordinance and Adopt a Green Purchasing Policy by Resolution actions which will be retired on 12/31/2023.

Sustainability and Climate Planning

Community Sustainability Plan: 10 to 25 Points 
This action combines and replaces three actions: Vision Statement and Goals, Action Plans, and Targets and Indicators, which will retire on December 31, 2023. It awards points to municipalities for developing and implementing a Community Sustainability Plan. A Community Sustainability Plan is prepared by the community to help them envision and realize an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable future. Each Plan is created through a dialogue that incorporates the desires of residents and key local stakeholders for a sustainable future.


2023 Action Updates

Community Partnership and Outreach

Green Fair: 10 to 15 Points
The Hold a Green Fair action has been updated to combine the Hold a Green Fair and existing “Green” Your Green Fair actions. This is now a variable point action, with 10 points awarded for holding a green fair event and an additional 5 points available for the use and promotion of sustainable practices in running the green fair itself. The “Green” Your Green Fair action will be retired on December 31, 2023. Resources, submission requirements, and strategies have also been updated.

Emergency Management & Resiliency

Heat Island Assessment & Mitigation Plan: 5 to 20 Points
This action awards points for conducting a heat island assessment; developing a list of recommendations to mitigate heat islands and their impact on residents and workers, especially those belonging to vulnerable populations; and implementing recommendations from a heat island mitigation plan. By reducing the extent and magnitude of heat islands, municipalities can make their communities healthier, energy efficient, and equitable.  A tiered and variable point system has been added to this action to encourage all types of municipalities - urban, suburban, and rural - to undertake the analysis outlined in this action in order to determine if heat islands are prominent in their community. Additional modifications include the use of more current data in the Heat Island Map, new climate change-focused resources, and updated technical guidance.


Municipally Supported Community Solar: 15 to 25 Points
Community solar is a way for residents who cannot install solar panels on their own property to save money on their electric bill and reduce their carbon footprint. This action awards points to municipalities that support community solar.  The action has been revised to include a new resource. The New Jersey Community Solar Project Finder created by Sustainable Jersey in partnership with New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, allows residents to search by zip code for community solar projects serving their municipality and provides an overview of community solar, including frequently asked questions. A full list of Sustainable Jersey resources for community solar can be found at the Sustainable Jersey’s Community Solar Resource Page.

Electric Vehicle Community Outreach: 10 to 15 Points
This action was updated to clarify the look back and approval period for outreach activities. Approved actions will expire on December 31 two years from the date of the most recent outreach activity. For example, if information about EVs was included in the municipal newsletter in October 2021, the action will be set to expire December 31, 2023. Outreach activity must have been completed within the current or previous two calendar years. For resubmission, outreach activities must have been conducted in the current or previous two calendar years.

Natural Resources

Municipal Water Story: 20 to 25 Points
This action awards points for creating a comprehensive report on all aspects of water in a municipality and engaging residents and workers, especially those belonging to vulnerable populations, for their added input to the Water Story. Action resources were updated to help green teams understand and complete the required components of the action.

Operations & Maintenance

Green Cleaning Products & Motorized Cleaning Equipment: 5 to 15 Points
This action was renamed from Green Cleaning Products to Green Cleaning Products & Motorized Cleaning Equipment, and encourages municipalities to purchase “certified” green cleaning products and motorized equipment. Updates reflect current best practices, clarifies what is considered a green cleaning product, and provides submission spreadsheets to streamline submission requirements. To earn 10 points a minimum 30% of the municipality’s cleaning product purchases is required. To earn 5 points for motorized cleaning equipment, a minimum of $500 in total purchases is required. Purchases must be from the previous calendar year or the most recent 12 months for which data is available.  It also provides guidance about what is required if cleaning services are contracted out.

Recycled Copy Paper: 5 to 15 Points:
This action, formerly called Recycled Paper, has been updated to a variable point action that allows municipalities to earn 5, 10 or 15 points for purchasing 30% Post-Consumer Recycled Content Copy Paper; reflects current green purchasing standards for copy paper; and includes a new Recycled Copy Paper Tracking Spreadsheet to clarify action requirements.


Previous Program Updates

View Sustainable Jersey's Previous Program Updates to learn more about the modifications made from 2009-2022.