Middlesex County News

Making the Labor Day Picnic a Litter-Free Event

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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - South Plainfield is in its thirtieth year as a New Jersey Clean Communities town.  To celebrate this milestone, the Clean Communities Advisory Board is developing a new program, the “Litter-Free Event.”  This program has been used successfully in Morris and Union counties.

A Litter-Free Event is a public gathering that leaves the venue as clean as it was before everyone arrived.  The advantage to the Borough is obvious.  In financial terms, fewer taxpayer dollars are needed to pay DPW overtime for cleanup.  In civic terms, leaving the grounds clean and undamaged creates pride and a sense of community well-being.

The challenge is to provide enough litter cans and reminders so that no litter ends up on the ground.  Success depends on raising awareness of litter as a problem, but as a problem that can be solved easily by a small change in behavior. 

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The Labor Day Picnic will be the first South Plainfield Litter-Free Event.  An announcement will be made explaining the concept.  Litter baskets will be placed around the Middle School grounds.  Signs will be posted as reminders.  Personal litter bags will be available free of charge at the vendor tables to make it easy to hold onto food wrappers and any other waste until reaching a litter basket.

Like the “Zero Waste” events being sponsored by many sports teams, Litter-Free Events are a step towards a more sustainable community.  If the Labor Day program works, the Clean Communities Advisory Board and South Plainfield Green Team plan to incorporate Litter-Free Events into the Clean Communities Program.  Additional Borough public events will be targeted, and private organizations such as the ball clubs and churches will be invited to use this approach at their games and festivals. 

For more information, contact the Clean Communities Coordinator at 908.226.7621. 

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