NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On November 15, New Brunswick’s city government was awarded “bronze” status from the non-profit organization Sustainable Jersey during the New Jersey League of Municipalities annual conference.

The certification marks the second time the city’s sustainability policies have been recognized by the statewide organization focusing on sustainable practices at the local level.

Sustainable Jersey, which provides tools, training and financial incentives to support communities as they pursue sustainability programs, ranks New Jersey’s municipal governments based on a points system: the more a municipality works towards sustainability, the more points they get.

Local governments registered with the non-profit receive one of three categorizations: no certificate, a bronze certificate, or a silver certificate based on how many points they get.

A bronze certificate requires communities to establish a “green team,” implement two of twelve priority actions, complete actions in six of nineteen of their categories, and receive a total of at least 150 points.

The bronze certificate was awarded to 158 municipalities in the Garden State.

The prestigious silver certificate was awarded to only 40 municipalities.  That status requires a “green team,” as well as implementing three of twelve priority actions, completing actions in eight of nineteen of their categories, and receiving a total of 350 points or more.

The program has existed since 2010, but New Brunswick did not achieve bronze status until 2015.

After scoring 235 points in last year’s rankings, the city improved its total by another fifteen points, for a total of 250.

In 2015, New Brunswick was allotted 235 points for the following reasons:

  • Updating Brownfields sites and compiling them into an inventory (10 points)
  • ‘Community Partnership and Outreach’ (10 points)
  • Sustenance of the Green Team created in 2014 (10 points)
  • Holding a Green Fair through the “Raritan River Festival” (10 points)
  • ‘Emergency Management and Resiliency’ (20 points)
  • ‘Achieving Target Increase in Local Business Participation’ (10 points)
  • ‘Outreach Campaign to Local Business Community’ (1o points)
  • ‘Sustaining school and community gardens built in 2012’ (1o points)
  • ‘Support Local Food’ (1o points)
  • ‘Building Healthier Communities’ (20 points)
  • ‘Clean City Block Captain Program / Stop. Think. Go Green — Keep New Brunswick Clean Campaign.’ (10 points)
  • The New Brunswick Environmental Commission developing and printing the “New Brunswick Parks & Gardens Map.” (1o points)
  • GIS feasibility analysis and installation of a native pollinator garden in Buccleuch Park near the Parks Department offices to use for demonstration purposes regarding maintenance of native habitat (10 points)
  • ‘Buy Local Programs’ (10 points)
  • ‘Natural Resources’ (10 points)
  • ‘Natural Resource Protection Ordinances’ (10 points)
  • ‘Prescription Drug Safety and Disposal (10 points)
  • ‘Commercial and Institutional Recycling’ (10 points)
  • ‘Community Paper Shredding Day’ (5 points)
  • ‘Construction and Demolition Waste Recycling Ordinance’ (10 points)
  • Sustaining recycling depot (1o points)  

Jennifer Bradshaw, New Brunswick’s Public Information Officer, is excited about the progress and says the city already is thinking of how to improve its score yet again in 2017.

“We are pleased with this growth. We intend to continue working with each department to examine policies and practices as they correspond with Sustainable Jersey’s Actions,” said Bradshaw.

“We also plan to continue our existing work with Rutgers University and Middlesex County Sustainable Jersey Hub for the betterment of our shared community in these areas.” 

As a first step, the city’s Green Team is planning a meeting before the year’s end to wrap up 2016 and discuss goals for 2017, according to Bradshaw.