Sustainable Jersey Certification Report

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This is the Sustainable Jersey Certification Report of Ridgewood Village, a Sustainable Jersey bronze certified applicant.

Ridgewood Village was certified on October 05, 2022 with 170 points. Listed below is information regarding Ridgewood Village’s Sustainable Jersey efforts and materials associated with the applicant’s certified actions.

Contact Information

The designated Sustainable Jersey contact for Ridgewood Village is:

Name:Christopher Rutishauser
Title/Position:Village Engineer / Engineering
Address:131 North Maple Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
Phone:201-670-5500 ext. 239

Actions Implemented

Each approved action and supporting documentation for which Ridgewood Village was approved for in 2022 appears below. Note: Standards for the actions below may have changed and the documentation listed may no longer satisfy requirements for that action.

  • Arts & Creative Culture

    Establish a Creative Team

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Creative Bergen is an arts advocacy and planning group available to all 70 towns of Bergen County. We unify four key stakeholder groups (artists, art related groups, local community members, and local municipal governments) to promote and enable a vibrant arts community, not just at the county level, but to develop it more fully at the local municipal level. We create opportunities to showcase artists in multiple forums, and seek winning solutions to enable the artists to thrive.

    Utilizing Your Creative Assets

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The vision of the Arts Amble, a county-wide art walk on June 11 - 13, is encapsulated by the printed Map/Brochure of all participating Artists, Venues, including a map of Bergen County with the participating towns highlighted and a QR code to an online directory of Sponsoring Restaurants. The events described in Section II of this document are being held locally in Ridgewood with the intent of continuing each year and building relationships with the community.

  • Community Partnership & Outreach

    Create Green Team

    10 Points
    Bronze Required Silver Required

    Program Summary: The Ridgewood Green Team was established as a permanent advisory committee to the Village Council via Ordinance No. 3423 in July 2014. The explicit purpose of the Green Team is to manage the Village's Sustainable Jersey application and achieve certification. The committee functions as a subcommittee of the Green Ridgewood (formerly REAC – Ridgewood Environmental Action Committee) which has been in existence for more than two decades and initiated many of the actions now being formally documented. REAC has recently rebranded as "Green Ridgewood," but the administrative structure has remained the same. To ensure continuity and adequate knowledge transfer, one third of the Green Team members are also Green Ridgewood members. Resolution 15-67, passed in February 2015, established the initial membership and terms for the Green Team volunteers. Note that many terms defined in Resolution 15-67 have since been extended. Since that time there have been monthly meetings as well as numerous one-on-one engagements as needed to facilitate the Sustainable Jersey application process. Ridgewood continues to support its Green Team in a variety of ways, including inviting the Green Team to participate in various municipal fairs and festivals, approving grant application and projects, supporting new initiatives, and appointing Councilman Michael Sedon as the Council member on the Green Team. He recently wrote a letter of support for the Green Team (documentation provided) and will read this proclamation at the Village Council meeting held May 12, 2021.

  • Energy

    Buy Electricity From A Renewable Source

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Rather than seeking third-party electric supply independently, the Village of Ridgewood participates in NJSEM (NJ Sustainable Energy Joint Meeting) for the dual purpose of improving energy purchasing power/reducing costs (by aggregating load with other municipalities) and for the environmentally sustainable benefit of purchasing electric supply with a greater percentage of renewable resources than is currently required by the NJRPS (NJ Renewable Portfolio Standard). As an NJSEM member and PSE&G customer, the Village of Ridgewood has obtained electric supply pricing that is not only highly competitive but inclusive of RPS+ 5% Class 1 RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates). In fact, the supply price was negotiated at a time (March 2020) when energy demand was diminishing due to the effects of Covid-19 on business operations. Our NJSEM Consultants analyzed the bids received for the aggregated load and chose the best pricing and terms from a reputable supplier. This resulted in an excellent price being secured for a two-year term. Estimated savings in comparison to PSE&G Residential BGS (additional attachment) is in the range of $0.02/kWh, which is substantial.

  • Food

    Farmers Markets

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Ridgewood’s Farmers’ Market is managed by the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce. The Village of Ridgewood supported the creation of the Farmers’ Market in 2001 by working with the Chamber of Commerce to develop the market, advertising the market on the Village Calendar, listing the market dates on the Village website, approving ordinances allowing its operation, and providing the municipal lot at the train station as a location. The Village of Ridgewood also provides traffic control, restrooms, electric power and garbage control. The Ridgewood Farmers’ Market is in its 20th year of operation. Last year, it was back in business from June 28 through November 22, 2020 and this year is again open Sundays from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the train station on the Westside of Ridgewood. There are three farmers, two of whom have accepted WIC coupons for the past 21 years. Other vendors include a pickle salesman, a baker, a maker of fresh mozzarella, and a jelly/jam vendor. The Village of Ridgewood charges vendors a yearly $50 licensing fee. The Chamber of Commerce charges vendors $45 per week for their spots and does advertising for the market in area papers and other digital and print publications.

  • Health & Wellness

    Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Public Places

    10 Points

    Program Summary: The Village of Ridgewood first established smoke-free zones via Ordinance No. 3133 in 2008. The scope of the areas covered by the smoking ban have expanded twice since that time and now include all Board of Education facilities, municipal facilities, and all parks & recreational facilities. Ordinance No. 3382 superseded Ordinance No. 3133 in 2013 and nine months later Ordinance No. 3403 amended the smoke-free boundary to include sidewalks adjacent to all Board of Education facilities. Numerous news articles, prominent signage, and website verbiage educates the community and as well as any visitors. Individuals who violate the smoke-free bans are subject to fines issues by the Ridgewood Police.

  • Innovative Projects

    Innovative Community Project 1

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Ridgewood has been part of the Styrofoam Recycling initiative in Bergen County the last few years. A EPS Styrofoam drive was most recently held on Saturday, April 17, 2021, hosted by Green Ridgewood & Green Team and sponsored by Sustainable Jersey Bergen County Regional HUB Styrofoam-Free Committee. People from 26 Bergen County Towns showed up with Styrofoam to recycle. We filled 2 - 20’ dumpsters plus 2 trucks, 140 bags (densely packed) over 3 hours with 244 cars counted! We had 25 volunteers, 3 council members, along with our Community partners: Ramapo High School Interact students, Suez's Ray Cywinski and Bergen County Commissioner Tracy Zur, all lending a hand to make Bergen County go Styrofoam-Free. COVID safe, contact-free and safe social distancing guidelines followed. Sean Hamlin, Village of Ridgewood Supervisor of Sanitation, Acting Recycling Coordinator and his department lent great support.

  • Local Economies

    Green Business Recognition Program

    10 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: During the period 2019 through 2020, volunteers re-developed a Green Business questionnaire focused on our many restaurants. Scheduling open time can be elusive for these busy establishments, but we were able to complete 13 successfully. Fast food locations were not included in the program. A non-restaurant Green Business Certification program is in planning for the period 2021-2023. The businesses that satisfy the requirements for recognition are designated a Green Business by Ridgewood’s Green Team. Representatives from the Green Team present each recognized business with a certificate suitable for public display. The certificate was signed by a Village Council member and distributed to worthy establishments during the period end 2020- early 2021. The name of each recognized business is posted on social media outlets administered by the Green Team as well as other websites as appropriate. All recognized businesses will be celebrated at the annual Earth Day fair in the Village. Ridgewood's Green Business Recognition Program has received broad support from the business community, the Chamber of Commerce, the Guild, the Village Council, and residents. The Village of Ridgewood’s Green Team Advisory Committee created a voluntary Green Business Recognition Program in 2015 to promote green practices and increase the visibility of those entities that have successfully demonstrated a commitment to sustainability. All privately owned businesses with a physical location within the bounds of the Village of Ridgewood may participate in the Green Business Recognition Program. Participation in the program is free and entirely voluntary. Interested parties may download and complete Ridgewood’s Green Business Application and checklist from the Green Team page on the Village website. The completed checklist and any supplemental application materials should be submitted to the attention of the Green Team electronically (greenridgewoodnj@gmail.com). Businesses are encouraged to contact the Green Team for assistance—a team member will be dispatched for an in-person meeting to facilitate the application process.

  • Natural Resources

    Water Conservation Ordinance

    20 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: Ridgewood Water is a municipally owned system, serving a population of approximately 60,000 residents in four towns (Ridgewood, Glen Rock, Midland Park, and Wyckoff). Ridgewood Water is a sole-source aquifer with 12 storage facilities and nearly 20,00 connections. There are 30 full-time employees, seven who work in the municipal office and 23 who work in the treatment and distribution divisions. Each employee in the municipal office, in addition to clerical and administrative duties, answers inquiries from residents about current water restrictions and is well versed in every facet of the water conservation program. Conservation is of critical importance to the system, as sufficient water pressure, especially in the summer months, is necessary for fire safety. Landscape irrigation is by far the biggest user of water during the spring and summer months, and therefore the primary target of conservation programs and restrictions. Ridgewood operated for many years on a multi stage emergency regulation basis, established by Ordinance 269-48. The stages were outlined as follows: Stage 1 required alternate day lawn watering; Stage 2, more severe restrictions and twice weekly watering; Stage 3, pending critical, only hand held watering on specific days; and Stage 4, critical, no irrigation at all. In 2015, however, Ridgewood's Green Team, Village Council members, and representatives from Ridgewood Water embarked on a two-year effort in partnership with the other towns in the Ridgewood Water service area to modify the existing ordinance and strengthen the conservation program. In April 2017 Ridgewood's Village Council unanimously passed Ordinance 3588, amending Ordinance 269-48 and instituting permanent Stage 2 restrictions. Irrigation is limited to two days a week and acceptable watering hours are restricted to minimize loss through evaporation. Automatic rain sensors are required, and exemptions are granted for the use of SMART controllers. The town has been extremely diligent in notifying residents of the new restrictions via e-Notices, Facebook posts, the village website, the Ridgewood Water website, constant reminders in the newspapers and at public meetings, and mailed brochures. Reverse 911 calls are also employed when the drought status changes. Employees of the Ridgewood Water travel throughout the service area within Ridgewood and issue summonses/tickets to those who are found watering outside the bounds of the current restrictions.

    Tree Protection Ordinance

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Ridgewood has been a "Tree City USA" community for more than two decades. As a mature Village, incorporated in 1894, tree protection has always been a feature of Ridgewood's municipal codes. Currently found in section 260 of the Village's General Code, Ridgewood has had some version of a protective tree ordinance since the early 1900's when the Village's initial Shade Tree Commission worked with the Council and Engineering Department to establish the roadways and streets throughout Ridgewood. With the mission to plant trees within the Village's Right of Way in front of every residence, the commission planted over 14,000 trees, many of which remain in good form today, giving the Village its characteristic tree lined streets. Ridgewood's Shade Tree Commission was reestablished in 2014 and began immediately drafting a revised, modernized, and stronger Tree Protection Ordinance. At the present time this proposed new ordinance has been submitted to the Village Council and is expected to come up for a vote in June or July 2017. Since the process allows for public comment and adjustments by the council, the final document cannot be provided at this time, but will be available for submission prior to September 2017. The draft ordinance under consideration includes all the major components outlined in the Sustainable Jersey guidelines as well as other features unique to Ridgewood. The intent of the new ordinance is to allow for the stabilization of the Village’s tree canopy by requiring a one for one replacement of any tree(s) meeting the criteria for size as defined in the ordinance (a qualified tree). Hence, the ordinance applies to all trees found in the Village, both Village-owned and private property trees. The replacement tree(s) need not be planted on the original site, therefore no physical on-site restrictions exist, but a payment (specified) for each could be substituted by the landowner into a “Tree Fund” so appropriate replacement trees can be purchased and planted on Village property at the Village’s direction. This new ordinance will not change the requirement for an approved landscape plan as part of the Planning Board’s site approval process. Some additional highlights found in the new ordinance include: (1) A permit for removal of each qualified tree to provide Ridgewood some control in the process. (2) Strengthened authority of the village arborist over root grinding and street tree replacement options. (3) Prohibition on planting bamboo anywhere in the Village. (4) A greater emphasis on planting native variety trees. (5) Establishment of substantial fines for non-compliance.

  • Public Information & Engagement

    Online Municipal Public Service Systems

    15 Points

    Program Summary: When Ridgewood unveiled its new website in 2016 it also transitioned many of its municipal public service systems online. At this time residents can easily conduct routine business and interactions with the Village electronically, saving time and resources. In particular the Village has made good use of its E-Notice system, an opt-in program for emailed notifications pertaining to Village operations. The E-Notice system has been used throughout the past year to publicize and promote the newest online capabilities within the Village, including the SDL permit and inspection portal where residents can track the status of building permits online. The Community Pass system, whereby residents can register for various Parks & Recreation programs, has also been a very popular and successful online offering. In addition the use of the Swagit system records each Village Council meeting and breaks it down in segments of individual topics discussed. If a visitor to the Village website wishes to view a council discussion that took place two hours into a meeting, they can click on that online agenda item and view the entire discussion without having to view or, fast forward through the entire meeting.

  • Waste Management

    Prescription Drug Safety and Disposal

    10 Points
    Bronze Priority Silver Priority

    Program Summary: The Village of Ridgewood Police Department has participated for many years in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day as scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The semiannual event is advertised on the Village Police Department website, in local newspapers, and via flyers available at Police Headquarters and other locations throughout the Village. In addition, the event is now promoted on social media forums for Ridgewood residents. Ridgewood provides its residents with educational information as disclosed by the DEA and available on the DEA website (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/). The collection event typically spans four hours (10AM - 2PM) and the drop-off location is the Police Department, located on the 2nd floor of Village Hall, 113 N. Maple Ave in Ridgewood, NJ. A police officer is present at all times during the drop-off period, and the collected drugs are then brought via police escort to the Bergen County consolidation points established by the DEA for proper disposal. In prior years weight tickets were provided to each municipality, but that is no longer the case. Each Ridgewood event collects three to six full garbage bags of prescriptions. The most recent two events were held on

    Community Paper Shredding Day

    5 Points

    Program Summary: The Village of Ridgewood has hosted a shredding event for its residents since 2009, and each event has gained in popularity such that it is now a semiannual offering for the community. Even the pandemic did not stop residents from destroying their paper documents as they came out on Nov. 14, 2020 to confidentially throw out unneeded paper clutter. On April 10, 2021, 50 cars per hour came through during the three and a half hour window. As a result of the increased popularity of the event, Ridgewood has moved the event to the much larger Graydon Pool parking lot. Still cars line up down the road. The program is picked up by local papers but also publicized on the Village of Ridgewood website, in the Village of Ridgewood municipal calendar, and in the Village of Ridgewood Green Guide. The latter two documents are mailed to every home. Electronic versions of the flyer are shared on all relevant social media sites. A blinking electronic billboard was also placed at one of the busiest intersections in our Village, the corner of Maple and Linwood Avenues. The event is free to all Ridgewood residents and businesses only. The Village’s Recycling Coordinator organizes the event and has a recycling team to assist the transfer of papers from the cars to the shredding truck. Participants can watch their documents as they are securely shredded. Limit four 4 file size boxes per vehicle. Cancelled checks, computer printouts, copy paper (all colors), envelopes, letterhead, and stationery are just some of the types of documents shredded during the event.

    Food Waste

    10 Points

    Program Summary: Ridgewood Launches North Jersey’s First Residential Food Recycling Pilot Program In March 2021, Ridgewood became the first municipality in Bergen County, New Jersey to collect food for recycling through a 9-month pilot program open to 100 households. Food is one of the largest parts of the solid waste stream. Municipalities pay to send food trash to a landfill, and costs are increasing. Additionally, food impacts landfill space and forms methane as it breaks down, a potent greenhouse gas. Participating families have agreed to place their food scraps into a town-issued container and deliver the material to Ridgewood’s recycling center at least once each week. They are also willing to provide feedback and data through a weekly survey. From Ridgewood, the food will make its way to its final destination, Trenton Renewables. This New Jersey company uses anaerobic digestion to turn food into compost and organic fertilizer for local farms as well as renewable biogas to power the facility. The Recycling Division reports that through this exciting program they expect to understand the long-term financial and environmental impact that recycling food could have on the community. “We hope that this is just the beginning,” said Recycling Coordinator, Sean Hamlin, “and that Ridgewood will be a leader in fostering environmentally responsible solutions for managing municipal waste." Media Contact: Sean Hamlin, Recycling Coordinator, 1-201-925-7108, shamlin@ridgewoodnj.net

    Household Hazardous Waste

    5 Points

    Program Summary: The Recycling Division within the Village of Ridgewood has a robust program for disposal of household hazardous waste. Specifically, there are two accepted materials that meet the requirements of this action: batteries (automobile, rechargeable, and button cell only), and e-waste broadly speaking (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, monitors, computers, printers, desktop copy machines, hard drives, video game consoles, radios, stereos, cellular phones, electronic tablets, e-book readers, inkjet and laser printer cartridges). Batteries and e-waste, including printer cartridges, can be brought to the recycling center located at 203 E. Glen Avenue from 8am - 3pm (closed Wednesdays & Sundays). Button cell and rechargeable batteries must be placed in separate plastic baggies or have the terminal ends taped with non-conductive tape and handed to the attendant at the recycling center. Village residents are notified of the hazardous waste disposal options within Ridgewood through the Green Guide (recycling flyer) sent to each household and several sections of the Recycling Division's page on the Ridgewood website, including the very helpful and often referenced "how do I dispose of..." section. In CY2020, Ridgewood's Recycling Center reported 1.055 tons of lead acid batteries, 21 pounds of rechargeable batteries, and 59.485 tons of e-waste. Lead acid batteries are trucked from Ridgewood's recycling center to United Paterson Enterprises for scrap metal recycling. Rechargeable batteries are shipped from Ridgewood Recycling to Call2Recycle for sorting and recycling. E-waste material is pickup up from Ridgewood's recycling center by E-Revival for consumer electronics recycling. For more information, please visit the following websites: http://www.ridgewoodnj.net/menu-dpw/recycling http://www.ridgewoodnj.net/recycling-news/553-how-do-i-dispose-of

    Recycling Depot

    10 Points

    Program Summary: In 1974 Ridgewood High School’s Students for Environmental Action and concerned parents approached Solid Waste officials to commence newspaper recycling. The town implemented curbside pickup of newspapers on the Wednesday bulk refuse curbside day. Residents had to bundle or bag newspapers and magazines for pickup. In response to interest from students and residents, glass and aluminum cans were added to the program. Containers were collected at the drop off site at 203 East Glen Avenue, the yard of the Parks Department and now the home of Ridgewood's recycling center. The recycling program remained voluntary until 1988. In that year New Jersey passed mandatory statewide recycling laws. On July 1, 1988 Ridgewood’s mandatory recycling ordinance went into effect, changing the voluntary drop off program to a mandatory one. The Village or Ridgewood operates a convenient recycling center located at 203 E. Glen Avenue (behind Ridgewood Fire Department Headquarters). The center is open five days a week, from 8:00 am – 3:00pm (closed Wednesdays & Sundays) to encourage recycling and facilitate higher recycling rates. The Ridgewood recycling program continues to evolve each year with new additions based on available markets and industry best practices. The hours of operation are advertised on the Village of Ridgewood website, in the Village of Ridgewood municipal calendar, and in the Village of Ridgewood Green Guide (the annual recycling flyer), the latter two documents are mailed to every home. Items accepted at the Recycling Center include: glass /plastic bottles and jars of all colors, aluminum and steel cans, newsprint, magazines, corrugated cardboard and paper bags, appliances and metals, tires, automobile batteries, textiles, printer cartridges, e-waste, batteries, concrete, and expanded polystyrene packaging. Local mulch and wood chips are available for municipal and residents use. In 2020, the Recycling Division collected 4,017 tons of material, resulting in a 34.82% reduction in solid waste, saved $323,328.33 in landfill fees, received $37,022.65 in recycling grant funds, and earned $56,574.48 from the sale of recycled materials. A current FAQ from the Village of Ridgewood's website is included with materials collected, address, hours of operation and much more information here as an attachment. For more information, please visit: https://mods.ridgewoodnj.net//pdf/recycling/2022RecyclingInstructions.pdf https://mods.ridgewoodnj.net//pdf/recycling/2022Area1.pdf https://mods.ridgewoodnj.net//pdf/recycling/2022ShredDay_April30.pdf

    Reusable Bag Education Program

    5 Points

    Program Summary: Over the past several years there has been growing momentum to reduce the number of single use plastic bags within the Village of Ridgewood. Riding this wave of increased interest in a bag ban, in early 2018 Green Ridgewood made a presentation to the Village Council about a single use plastic bag ban. We prepared fact sheets listing the damage that these bags have done to the environment, and prepared copies of the various ordinances passed in NJ, using Hoboken's ordinance as a good example. The Council suggested we survey the businesses in town. We reached out to as many organizations as we could. We again went before the Council with more facts and results of our survey. Only one business objected, but because they had just purchased 500 single use bags. In June 2019 the Village passed the ordinance and listed the effective date as June 12, 2020. As the time for implementation grew near, we purchased over 200 cloth bags and passed out a bookmark to customers entering the several supermarkets in town. Customers were very positive about the ban. We printed flyers to be placed on store checkouts explaining the ban. *During Covid, one store went back to single use plastic bags until they were told to obey the ban. Due to safety concerns, some stores prevented shoppers from putting reusable bags on the counter. Of course months later it was proven that the virus was not really carried by bags, cans, bottles, etc.