NJ Clean Communities Overview
New Jersey Clean Communities is a statewide, comprehensive, litter-abatement program created by the passage of the Clean Communities Act in 1986. The mission is to reduce litter in public places, promote the volunteer cleanup of public lands and sustain a reduction in litter through education. The Act provides a funding source for the program by placing a tax on fifteen categories of businesses that may produce litter-generating products. The program focuses on three areas: cleanup, education and enforcement. For more information on the state program visit njclean.org
Tackling the Litter Problem
What is litter? Litter is solid waste that’s out of place. It’s the kind of trash found on highways, lakefronts, parks and school grounds. Litter takes many forms: paper, plastics, metal cans, cigarette butts, glass, food packaging, tires and graffiti.
Where does it come from? There are seven sources of litter: pedestrians, motorists, overflowing household garbage, construction sites and uncovered trucks. Litter is often blown by the wind until it is trapped somewhere, as along a fence.
Why do people litter? People tend to litter when they think someone else will clean up, when an area is already littered, and when they do not feel a sense of ownership or community pride.
Why is litter a problem? Even small amounts of litter are unsightly, unhealthy and dangerous. Litter causes blighted landscapes resulting in an increase in taxes and a decrease in tourism and industry; loss of civic pride and morale; and a negative public image. Litter can also cause disease in people and animals, fires, and accidents, especially on roadways.
How are we solving the problem? County residents and different organizations are enlisted as volunteers to help with cleanup events. At these cleanup events we offer education to volunteers while they pick up litter so they can fulfill being environmental stewards. With education, habits and acts of littering can be changed! The Burlington County Clean Communities program also offers litter education in schools, county road clean up projects, and more! This office does offer assistance to municipal clean communities coordinators and their projects.
NETCONG CLEAN COMMUNITIES PROGRAM
Netcong Clean Communities program is part of a statewide strategy to clean and prevent litter on streets, beaches, waterways, parks, recreation sites and vacant lots. Clean Communities Grant funding is used for educational programs, supporting clean up events and implementing adopt-a-road and mini-grant programs.
- State NJCC Website: www.njclean.org
- State Bag Up NJ Website: www.bagupnj.com
- NJDEP Single Use Plastics Website: https://www.nj.gov/dep/plastic-ban-law/
- Sign Up for NJCC Newsletter: https://njclean.org/register-for-web-news
On Nov. 4, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature enacted the most progressive bag ban law in the country. The law reduces litter and encourages the use of reusable bags by phasing out single-use carryout bags.
The law bans single-use plastic bags, regardless of thickness, at grocery stores and retail establishments, as well as paper bags at grocery stores equal to or larger than 2,500 sq. ft.
It also bans polystyrene foam takeout food containers and other products such as plates, cups, food trays and utensils; and makes plastic straws at restaurants available only upon request. As of November 4, 2021, plastic straws will only be available upon request.
The “Bag Up NJ” campaign is the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s new single use plastic and paper bag ban outreach campaign, which has a simple message: Bring your own reusable bag(s) when you shop.
For information on Business Compliance please contact
the New Jersey Business Action Center
REPORT ILLEGAL DUMPING
“Public lands all over New Jersey are being used as dumping grounds. Litter, garbage bags, tires, televisions, electronic waste, appliances, yard waste, and construction debris are being dumped and threatening our local environment, animals and public. This dumping detracts from the natural beauty of our public lands; it decreases property value, and costs the citizens of New Jersey tax dollars to cleanup.”
“There’s an app for that!”
The NJDEP offers a free and easy to use app that can be downloaded onto your smartphone device. Click the poster to the right to start reporting illegal dumping sites in New Jersey.