CHATHAM, NJ - Mayor Bruce Harris announced that Chatham Borough has been named a state champion when it comes to Sustainable Jersey standards at the regular meeting of the Borough of Chatham Council on Monday.

Harris said that Chatham scored 505 points for its Sustainable Jersey practices, the highest score in the state among towns with populations of 5,000 up to 39,000 residents.

Len Resto, who has served as chairman of the Environmental Commission and the Green Team subcommittee, explained the "green" practices put in place, which have put Chatham's score so high. Two weeks earlier, Chatham earned the Sustainable Jersey "Silver Award" for its high score.

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"Sustainable Jersey is a state-wide initiative started around 2005 for the purpose of getting New Jersey municipalities to adopt “green” or “sustainable” practices in order to re-use as much as possible and control run-away waste in our communities," Resto said.  "They developed a host of actions that could be taken for which a municipality would be awarded points on a scale of zero (0) to thirty (30). Sustainable Jersey found that municipalities that implemented sustainable practices generated cost savings in energy, water and trash collection bills.

"The program also helps cut waste and stimulates local economies as they rise to the challenge of sustainability. Registering for the Sustainable Jersey program opens the door for small grants to support sustainability projects, such as Chatham Borough’s rain garden in Memorial Park."

Below is a list of Sustainable Jersey practices Chatham Borough put in place. The list and assessment that goes with each was provided by Resto.

  • Energy Tracking & Management:  The Borough has been doing this for well over 10 years.
  • Implement Energy Efficiency Measures:  Municipal buildings have had energy audits and things like windows have been replaced for energy efficiency.   
  • Climate Adaptation: Flooding Risk:  Vince DeNave has mapped out Chatham flooding “hot spots” as part of Chatham’s Emergency Preparedness Plan.
  • Municipal Carbon Footprint:  We track how much energy- fuel to heat/cool facilities, keep on lights, etc. we use.  
  • Natural Resource Inventory :  Dick Plambeck of the Environmental Commission recently updated our Environmental Resource Inventory.
  • Water Conservation Ordinance:  We have our “odd/even” day watering restrictions
  • Recycling:  We have been held up as a model to other municipalities for our “pay as you throw” green garbage bag program and “single stream” recycling.
  • Anti-Idling Legislation:  We followed the state’s lead on idling if you are standing for 3 minutes or more and have placed signs in just about every public place we could think of.
  • Community Outreach:  The Environmental Commission prepares and distributes pamphlets at the Farmer’s Market on a regular basis.
  • Sustainability Fair:  This was formerly the “Green Fair” which was merged with the Wellness Fair this year.
  • Grounds Upkeep:  We use organic materials as fertilizers.  We also cut grass and LEAVE it there to serve as mulch.  We have encouraged residents to do the same.