WESTFIELD, NJ — Climate Week has wrapped, but events that benefit the environment are continuing year-round, including with a slate of October happenings.

The Westfield Green Team’s efforts to reduce the municipality’s carbon footprint have included offering incentives for local businesses to adopt more environmentally sound practices, helping residents find greener ways to dispose of unwanted goods and will include a slate two workshops and a town-wide cleanup.

“We’re working on trying to bring downtown recycling back. If it’s feasible, we’re testing that,” said Green Team co-chair Medea Villeré, while briefing the Town Council last week. “We did a free market event, which was re-use focused. It keeps things out of the waste stream.”

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The town’s Green Team has grown to nearly 20 volunteers, who have spearheaded a series of initiatives, including the purchase of 600 reusable bags and metal straws, part of an effort to reduce residents’ reliance on plastics, Villeré said.

Timothy Van Epp, co-chair of the Green Team, said the town is also exploring energy aggregation through a regional cooperative of municipalities.

“Sixteen towns have done it in New Jersey, and some of them have arranged it so they can get 100% renewable energy,” Van Epp said. “Some of them … so they get more like 40% depending on how they feel about the quality of the renewable energy supply.”

Councilman David Contract, the liaison to the Westfield Green Team said, the municipality’s green efforts are getting noticed by other towns, including neighboring Cranford and Scotch Plains, representatives from which are seeking to implement similar efforts in their municipalities.

“They said ‘Hey we heard Westfield is doing a lot how can we … match what you guys are doing,’” Contract said.

The discussion at the Westfield Town Council’s Sept. 24 workshop came during climate action week, the local efforts in support of which appear to be spilling over into October. Here’s what’s coming up:

Composting Workshop

Michele Bakacs, a county environmental agent for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, will host a workshop on composting Thursday, Oct. 3, starting at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Municipal Building, 425 East Broad St. Registration is required. The event is free for residents. A $10 fee applies for non-residents. Participants may register online at this link.

Fall Cleanup

The Westfield Green team will host a fall clean up of parks and open spaces Sunday, Oct. 13. Trash pick up tools will be provided for each group, but participants are asked to bring garden gloves and wear a Green Team T-shirt, if they have one. The cleanup runs 9 – 11 p.m. Volunteers are asked to sign up at this link.

Rain Garden Workshop

The Green Team will host a workshop on building rain gardens Monday, Oct. 7, 7 – 8 p.m., in the community room of Town Hall, 425 East Broad St. The workshop is intended to provide an overview of storm water issues and ways to reduce flooding by installing a rain garden. A rain garden is a planted area with a landscaped, shallow depression that is designed to capture and treat storm water before it becomes runoff.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow hin on Twitter: @MattKadosh

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