BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Anjali Dahiya, who won the township Environmental Commission's Reuseable Bag Design Challenge, incorporated one of the township's most beloved symbols in her design.

Anjali, a seventh grader at the William Annin Middle School, portrayed the great white oak that stood in downtown Basking Ridge until it died and was removed in 2017. The words reduce, reuse, and recyle are woven into the tree's roots, and the recycling logo is in its trunk.

Anjali's design, recognized by the Bernards Township Committee this week, has been printed on resusable bags that will be available to the public, while supplies last, with the goal of reducing reliance on single-use plastic bags.

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"Bernards Township wishes to encourage positive, environmentally-sound choices," reads a resolution  presented to Anjali and her family. 

The governing body is encouraging residents to shop with reusable bags, particularly because "a substantial quantity of non-biodegradable single use plastic bags ends up as unsightly litter on our roadsides and in our trees, in our storm drains and consequently in our waterways where they can be devastating to marine life and seabirds."

Following the presentation of the resolution, Anjali said she entered the contest because she thought it was for a good cause, and "my mom wanted me to do it."

Anjali accepted the award with her mother, Manasa, and her younger sister, Anya, a second grader at Liberty Corner Elementary School.

During public comment, resident Todd Edelstein said he would like to thank the environmental commission for the reusable bag contest. "It's a very nice bag, and a good size bag," he added.