UNION COUNTY, NJ - Hundreds of Union County students are learning all about recycling and conservation this spring thanks to “Talkin’ Trash,” a free new classroom program coordinated by Union County through a recycling grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

“Talkin’ Trash is a fun way to help young students see that they can make a big difference,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “It’s a great program that helps the next generation of Union County citizens appreciate how we can all care for and protect our environment.”

Talkin’ Trash is a 45-minute program for grades 1-5 conducted by Patricia Lynn, an experienced certified municipal recycling coordinator and former elementary school teacher.

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The program is part of Chairman Bergen’s 2016 Union County Means Green initiative, which includes environmental outreach for schools, local businesses and the general public.

“Ms. Lynn is an expert and she really encourages the students to think about important issues in an exciting, positive way,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowlaski, who visited the program at the Brunner School in Scotch Plains last week. “It was inspiring to see how the class responded as she guided them through hands-on activities and team learning.”

So far, seven school districts in Union County have experienced the program, reaching over 600 students.

Recycling is mandatory in New Jersey, and Union County has been a leader in the recycling field for nearly 30 years. In 2013, the last year for which figures are available, Union County achieved a 61% recycling rate, one of the highest among New Jersey counties.

For additional information about Talkin’ Trash or to schedule a program this spring, schools can email Patricia Lynn at plynn9021@gmail.com.

For information on all Union County recycling programs, including new scrap metal drop-off locations, visit online at ucnj.org/recycling.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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(Photo caption: Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski speaks about recycling with third graders at the Brunner School in Scotch Plains during a visit to the “Talkin’ Trash” program, a traveling lesson available free to schools throughout Union County. Photo by Jim Lowney/ County of Union)