Residents Pick Up Everything and the Kitchen Sink at Adopt-A-Beach Clean Up of Snyder Avenue and Snyder Avenue Park

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.”


Girl Scouts Help Berkeley Heights Cross the 3,000 Pound Mark for Thin Film Plastics Collected


Katherine Klacik and Livy Newman drop off thin film plastics at ACME in New Providence.
Bailey Boyette holds a large bag filled with thin film plastics that she delivered to ACME’s loading dock area.
Lauren Foote helps deliver thin film plastics from the Trex bin at the police station.
Lexi Chea stands on a scale to weigh the bags of thin film plastics she collected.

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

Posted on TAPinto Berkeley Heights, January 25, 2019 at 12:46 p.m., at


Val’s Valiants, Scout Pack 368, and BHEC Members Brave the Cold to Clean Up Locust Avenue

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