The Westfield Green Team wanted to let the Westfield community know about the significant progress that we’ve made over the past nearly two years in helping make Westfield more sustainable and address the impact of global warming. We recently presented these accomplishments to the Westfield Town Council and are submitting this letter to the editor to help ensure the entire town is aware of our efforts.

Since relaunching itself in Jan. 2018 under the direction of Mayor Shelley Brindle, the Westfield Green Team — comprised of 15+ passionate and hard-working volunteers — has actively pursued the following eco-conscious initiatives for both residents and businesses. Beyond these initiatives listed below, the Green Team has also advocated for the planting of more trees in Westfield and is happy to announce that the Department of Public Works is on track to plant more than 800 trees in 2019, an all-time record and a 5x increase over the average of the previous 12 years.

Here are some of our key accomplishments in each of our focus areas:

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Recycling & Waste: Our goal is to promote the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle)

  1. Launched 5 new recycling programs at the Conservation Center (plastic bags, plastic toys, household batteries, fluorescent bulbs, Styrofoam) as well as Curb My Clutter household pick-up recycling program for apparel and electronics.
  2. Launched the Green Westfield Program to promote sustainability among downtown businesses — currently 23 business are signed up!
  3. Ran 1st-ever FREE Market to promote re-use — and collected an estimated 2 tons of gently used household goods with 1 ton taken by residents and 1 ton donated to Green Drop for families in need.
  4. Provided 600 reusable bags and 600 reusable straws for residents to reduce their use of disposable plastics.
  5. Launched used backpack, Crayola marker and other school supply re-use/recycling programs.

Alternative Energy and Transport: Our goal is to promote energy efficiency and alternative energy/transportation choices

  1. Launching Westfield’s first-ever Home Energy Savings Program in Nov. 2019 enabling residents to take advantage of low-cost residential energy audits that will identify ways homeowners can make their homes more energy-efficient and finance through rebates and low-cost financing
  2. Key stakeholder in 2019 bikeways/walkways master plan efforts to improve viability for both in town

Education/Promotion: Goal is to educate residents about the importance of living sustainability

  1. Held 1st-ever Earth Month in 2019, a month-long program featuring lectures, events and movies, and held two successful Earth Day events — one each in  2018 and 2019 including a “Green” vendor fair at the 2019 Earth Day event.
  2. Held Park Clean-ups in April 2018 and 2019 with more than 70+ volunteers this spring. Also held the town’s 1st-ever Parks Clean-Up in the Fall on Oct. 13.
  3. Partnering with the Board of Education to hold “3 Rs” assembly in elementary schools – held the first one at Tamaques in May 2019 and plan to expand to Franklin and Washington elementary schools this academic year.
  4. Enhanced communication efforts to residents including further development of a dedicated Green Team page on town website (www.westfieldnj.gov/green), as well as actively promoting events/topics on social media and create impactful recycling displays at the library and downtown storefronts.
  5. Developed and released 2 recycling videos — including one featured on CBS Channel 2 News in NY.

Policy and Integrative Planning: Our goal is to help make sustainability part of our town fabric and integrate sustainability into town government policy/actions

  1. Conducted FREE training on Green Infrastructure for Town officials and residents in conjunction with the Rutgers Water Resources Extension to identify ways to naturally address storm water run-off and reduce local flooding.
  2. Developing a demonstration rain garden using a technical assistance grant from Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
  3. Initiating a town-wide impervious cover assessment and stormwater management plan with Rutgers.
  4. Held several presentations from outside speakers on topics ranging from the future of EV and green infrastructure.
  5. Continuing to be a stakeholder and active participant in this year’s Master Plan process.

To learn more about our efforts, please visit www.westfieldnj.gov/green. And if you share our passion for the protecting the planet and want to get involved, please email us at wfgreenteamchairs@gmail.com. Thanks.