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Green Belleville Will Use $10K Grant to Educate Residents About the Dangers of Single-Use Plastics


By: Richard L. Smith 

 A Township-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote sustainability in the township and beyond has been awarded a $10,000 grant from New Jersey Clean Communities (NJCC).

Belleville Township officials said Green Belleville will use the grant money to partner with the Belleville Municipal Green Team to develop a single-use plastics educational campaign by creating awareness of the problems associated with using plastic products just once and disposing of them.

The focus will be on educating the community about making better choices than single-use plastics and how these decisions can help eliminate waste before it gets into the environment.


According to officials, presenters will be scheduled to speak on topics of single-use plastics, recycling, reusing and waste reduction – each with the underlying message of how the accumulation of plastic objects and particles in the environment adversely affects humans, wildlife and their habitat.

The team will also coordinate with the Belleville School District environmental and art clubs to create 12 campaign posters that will be on exhibit in the outdoor pocket park on Division Avenue for all residents to see.

The Green Team will use the artwork display to announce a different message every couple of days which will include more information about single-use plastics, health and the environment, litter, recycling, reusing and solid waste reduction.

“Collaborating on this project ultimately helps the success of our teachers and students in the classroom,” said Gaby Bennett-Meany, the president of Green Belleville.

“We have worked together on programs and projects in the past. A high value is placed on experiential education, as well as field-based learning through participation.”

The New Jersey Clean Communities grant is for state-based non-profit organizations for education and outreach relative to the state’s single-use plastics reduction initiatives, including but not limited to single-use plastics education/behavioral change, litter analytics and the Skip the Straw campaign.

“Green Belleville will put this grant money to great use,” Mayor Michael Melham said.

“This is a small group of residents who are taking on the tall order of educating our community on how to create a cleaner, greener Belleville, and that has been one of my priorities since I became mayor of this great town.”

Melham learned about the grant opportunity for Belleville when he appeared on a Clean Communities panel at the New Jersey League of Municipalities conference in mid-November to share the township’s success story in combatting litter. NJCCC officials strongly urged Belleville to apply.

New Jersey Clean Communities is a statewide, comprehensive, litter-abatement program created by the passage of the Clean Communities Act in 1986.

The Act provides a funding source for the program by placing a tax on 15 categories of businesses that may produce litter-generating products.

The Clean Communities Program Fund generates about $20 million each year and is disbursed each year to municipalities (80%), counties (10%), state parks service (10%) and the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, Inc. ($375,000).