BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Fourth grade artists who illustrated and named their own original recycling super heroes and villains were honored at an awards ceremony at the Bridgewater Municipal Complex Dec. 19.

A total of 37 entries were received in the 2019 Recycling Super Hero/Villain Poster Contest, sponsored by the Bridgewater Township Environmental Commission and Sustainability Task Force.  At the ceremony, Mayor Dan Hayes congratulated all participants and presented each student artist in attendance with a certificate and Clean Communities gift bag.

Six students also received additional honors and gift card prizes as the top winners.  

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In the “Litter Villain” category, the first place entry was “Trashbot” by Emmanuel Velasquez of Adamsville School, second place was “Litter Critter” by Maria Bacila of Crim School and third place was “Trashopus” by JJ Evans of Hamilton School.

In the “Recycling Super Hero” category, the first place poster was “Green Mile” by Aditi Anand of Milltown School, second place was “Clean Green” by Prisha Mishra of Hamilton School and third place was “Bottle Boy” by Sricharan Gurugubelli of Hamilton School. 

Hayes said it was a tough call to select the winners this year from so many excellent entries.

“Everybody has done a great job,” he said.

Hayes asked for volunteers to talk about their posters and the messages they hoped to convey through their designs.

Adamsville School student Rania Reddad said she tried to make her character, “Hoops the Litter Villain,” funny.

“Make recycling fun, by trying a trick shot,” she said, “but if you miss the trick shot, of course you have to pick it up!”

Fourth grader Camile Hilton, who designed “Professor Plastic Pants,” said her message was, “No matter how small a piece of trash could be, or a piece of plastic, it can pollute the entire earth very quickly.”

Anand said in her illustration of the “Green Mile” she imagined a convenient system of disposing of trash through a garbage chute. Her idea was inspired by a laundry chute that she saw at a friend’s house.  

“I wanted to do that with trash,” she said, “it would go underground, you can just do it by yourself and you don’t have to walk outside.”

Hayes expressed his pride in the students and the community. He said the environmental committees that sponsored the poster contest are the township’s biggest and most active volunteer efforts.

“The whole idea of sustainability has evolved,” he said. “We really are talking about total sustainability in a sense of how we live. I believe that a community that’s sustainable is a community where everybody can find a way to contribute, feel valued and have fulfillment.”