BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – On Sunday, March 24, residents of all ages gathered at Snyder Avenue Park, put on pairs of reinforced gloves, and helped rid Berkeley Heights of approximately 150 pounds of litter through their participation in the Adopt-A-Beach Clean Water Challenge.
The group consisted of approximately 25 children and adults of all ages, including couples and families. One family even brought their dog, Coco, to make the event truly a family effort.
The event, which was a collaborative effort among Val’s Valiants, the Berkeley Heights Innovation and Sustainability Alliance (Sustainable Berkeley Heights), the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (BHEC), and the Berkeley Heights Downtown Beautification Committee (DBC), aimed to kick off spring and the spring sports season by ridding Snyder Avenue and Snyder Avenue Park of recyclables and trash that had been hibernating under the snow and leaves all winter.
Half the group tackled the wooded area behind the turf field at the park itself, while the other half cleaned both sides of Snyder Avenue between the park and the Bank of America Building, as well as the area along the bank of the Passaic River tributary near the bridge next to the Bank of America parking lot.
Visually, the amount of litter in certain places was shocking. According to Chloe Moon, one of the youngest participants, “It’s weird ’cause there’s so much paper everywhere.”
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – To kick off the new year, Berkeley Heights passed the 3,000 milestone of thin film plastics collected in the seven Trex bins placed around town, including the newest one in Mountain Park Elementary School. While the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (BHEC) initiated this Trex bin program, volunteers from the community have been the key to this program’s success.
Most recently, volunteers from seven local Girl Scout troops – Troops 40906, 40398, 40950, 40136, 40538, 40208, and 40254 – collected and delivered the thin film plastics in the Trex bins to ACME in New Providence, where these plastics are ultimately brought to Trex at their Virginia headquarters and used in the manufacturing of Trex’s outdoor furniture and decking products. Elementary school, middle school, and high school girls of all grades and ages from these seven troops participated in this community service effort, with two troops of second graders being the youngest participants.
As part of the Trex Thin Film Plastics Recycling Challenge (Trex Challenge), if an organization registers with Trex and collects over 500 pounds of thin film plastics within a six-month period, Trex will send that organization a performance composite outdoor Trex bench. Having collected over 500 pounds of thin film plastics, the seven Girl Scout troops are collectively eligible to receive a Trex bench.
The Girl Scouts follow the BHEC, the Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission, and Sandy Hook Promise in earning a performance composite outdoor bench from Trex, making this the fourth Trex bench that volunteer organizations have earned for our community. The Girl Scouts have now rotated their collection and delivery responsibilities to the Rotary Club.
January begins the seventh month of Berkeley Heights’ participation in the Trex Challenge. Anyone can drop off their thin film plastics – including items such as plastic bags, newspaper sleeves, dry cleaning wrap, cereal bags, bread bags, Ziploc bags, etc. in the seven Trex bins placed around town – at (1) the library, (2) the police station, (3) the YMCA,(4) Pet Supplies Plus, (5) Columbia Middle School, (6) Governor Livingston High School, and (7) Mountain Park Elementary School. The bins at these locations continue to provide a convenient way to recycle thin film plastics, which are no longer collected as part of the town’s curbside recycling program.
Mountain Park Elementary School is currently participating in a national Trex thin film plastics competition among schools. Students, parents, and staff from this school have been actively contributing to this newest Trex bin in town, located in the school’s entryway vestibule.
The BHEC initiated collaborative efforts with the Trex Company in effort to raise residents’ awareness of their plastic consumption and provide a means of keeping thin film plastics out of landfills. Notably, in October 2018, the BHEC received an Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions in recognition of the success of the Trex bins and Trex Challenge in Berkeley Heights.
Plastic bags, one of the most prevalent thin film plastic items, are a major source of plastic pollution. Placing your thin film plastics in a Trex bin keeps this particular thin film plastic item from ending up in our waterways and harming wildlife.
The BHEC is looking for other organizations interested in assisting with the Trex bin collections. If your organization would like to volunteer, please contact the BHEC.
Also, the BHEC encourages local businesses to volunteer to “sponsor” a Trex bin on a permanent basis. In exchange for a business assuming the collection and delivery responsibilities for a particular Trex bin, the BHEC will permit that business to place its advertisements on the Trex bin. Interested businesses should contact the BHEC by completing the form at http://bh-ec.org/contact/.
Posted on TAPinto Berkeley Heights, January 25, 2019 at 12:46 p.m., at https://www.tapinto.net/towns/berkeley-heights/articles/girl-scouts-help-berkeley-heights-cross-the-3-000-pound-mark-for-thin-film-plastics-collected.
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Braving the freezing temperatures on Sunday, December 9, members of Val’s Valiants and the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission put on their reinforced gloves and led Cub Scouts and Scout members from Pack 368 to clean up litter along both sides of Locust Avenue, between Russo Place and Timber Drive.
The group of 10 consisted of five children, Sambhav Chaturvedi, Vibhav Chaturvedi, Valerie Diamond, Evan Harris, and Tyler Reed, as well as five adults, Tulika Chaturdevi, Kim Diamond, David Harris, Richard Leister, and Victoria Reed. Working together in teams of two and three, the group collectively gathered 36.3 pounds of litter – consisting of 29.7 pounds of recyclables and 6.6 pounds of trash – within just a 1-hour period.
“The small group who made it did quite a good job – especially . . . in light of the cold weather,” noted Victoria Reed.
Some of the more unique items that the group picked up included two sets of ear muffs, a belt, a scarf, and a metal stand from a candidate’s election sign. There was no shortage of beverage containers, cigarette butts, and thin film plastic bags, though. Among other items, the group collected a total of 30 plastic bottles, 28 glass bottles, 50 metal (beer and soda) cans, 41 cigarette butts, and 13 thin film plastic bags.
The particular stretch that the group cleaned is one notorious for being a “litter magnet.” Clean-ups were conducted on the same exact area both in the spring and in the fall. Yet, just a few weeks following the most recent clean-up, litter abounded – particularly in the wooded area adjacent to the street.
The clean-up effort was part of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s International Coastal Cleanup effort, which runs from September 15 – December 31, 2018. Through their efforts, those participating in Sunday’s clean-up joined thousands of volunteers globally in their efforts to rid litter from streams, lakes, rivers, bays, and beaches.
“It’s great that people of all ages are taking an active interest in keeping our town clean, and are actually coming out to do something about it” said Valerie Diamond, leader of Val’s Valiants and junior at Governor Livingston High School. “Pack 368 and Val’s Valiants have already agreed to work together this spring so that more of these clean-ups happen. It just shows that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference.”
Posted on TAPinto Berkeley Heights, December 11, 2018 at 2:34 p.m., at https://www.tapinto.net/towns/berkeley-heights/articles/val-s-valiants-scout-pack-368-and-bhec-members-brave-the-cold-to-clean-up-locust-avenue
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who attended Vegan Fest events throughout the weekend – we loved exercising with you, learning with you, and tasting your delicious recipes! Here are the winners of yesterday’s cook-off:
General Public Division:
First Place – David Steiner; Feisty & Spicy Southwestern Egg Rolls
Second Place – Linda Meehan; Korean Perilla Leaves
Third Place – Toni Emm; Spinach Artichoke
First Place – Anibal Darquea; Dragon Bowl
Second Place – Danielle Melchiorre; Not So Crabby Cakes
Third Place – David Steiner; You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish Awesome Chickpea Sandwich
First Place – Diane Niceforo; A “Date” to Remember
Second Place – Megan Schmeling; Vegan chi Tea Cupcakes
Third Place – Megan Schmeling; Double Chocolate Chip Cookies