MORRISTOWN, NJ - Students in the Morris School District and districts throughout Morris County are encouraged to "go green" this spring by participating in a countywide litter cleanup effort that targets their own school grounds.

Public schools, including grades 6 and up, in Morris County that participate are eligible for a “Keep Morris County Litter Free” grant from the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, which is sponsoring this program.  In addition to a cleanup effort, the “Litter Free’’ program includes a countywide poster contest, with prizes.

“We are confident these two ‘green’ projects will raise awareness about both litter abatement and recycling, and encourage students to become more environmentally conscious about where they live – whether it be their school, their home, local parks, or even their part-time work places,’’ said Liz Sweedy, Morris County coordinator for Clean Communities Program, which is administered by the Morris County MUA.                

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“This is a great opportunity to reinforce how important it is for them to care for their own environment, and will show how it also improves our communities and our entire county,’’ added Freeholder Christine Myers, who is the county governing board’s liaison to the MUA.  

“Keep Morris County Litter Free” is part of the “Slam Dunk the Junk” statewide initiative sponsored by the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, which focuses on conducting litter cleanups, enforcing anti-litter regulations and changing the attitudes of “litterbugs” through education. 

To qualify for the grant, a public school must conduct a litter cleanup on at least two acres of school grounds, which may include ball fields and wooded areas, between April 15 and June 6, Sweedy said. A minimum of 20 students and their adult supervisors much participate in each cleanup.

After the cleanup is done and required paperwork has been reviewed by the MUA, the participating school will receive a $500 grant to purchase outdoor receptacles for recyclables or trash, or indoor receptacles for recyclables only, Sweedy said.

During last year’s litter-free effort, 495 students and adult supervisors from 13 schools cleaned 148 acres and collected 45 bags of trash, 52 bags of recyclables, 66 lbs of scrap metal and 56 lbs of construction debris. 

A second and optional component of the grant program is a school-run poster contest for Morris County public school students in grades 6-12. The county-wide winners get a $200 gift certificate and have their posters replicated on a recycling receptacle for their schools, Sweedy said.

Morristown High School student, Valerie Bai won the poster contest in 2011. To see previous winners, visit: http://mcmua.com/sw_cc.slamdunkthejunk.asp

A school may participate exclusively in the poster contest or in conjunction with the cleanup, but it must conduct a litter cleanup to earn the $500.

An application packet is available online at http://mcmua.com/docs/2016%20Slam%20Dunk%20Junk%20Forms%20.pdf

The applications must be received by April 8. Additional information may be obtained by calling Sweedy at 973-285-8393.