Friday, February 13th, 2015

Public schools, grades 6 through 12, in Morris County are being offered the chance to apply for a “Keep Morris County Litter Free” grant.The program is part of Morris County Clean Communities, which is administered by the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority.

According to Liz Sweedy, Morris County Clean Communities coordinator, “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 quality for a 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, 2014.

A minimum of 20 students and their adult supervisors much participate in each cleanup. After the cleanup has been conducted and the proper paperwork has been received and reviewed by the MCMUA, the school will receive a $500 grant to purchase outdoor receptacles for either recyclables or trash, or indoor receptacles for recyclables only, Sweedy said.

During last year’s litter-free effort, 575 students and adult supervisors from 21 schools cleaned 127 acres of land and collected 120 bags of trash, 88 bags of recyclables, 2 tires, 80 lbs of scrap metal and 80 lbs of construction debris, according to Sweedy.

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. County winners of this contest will receive a $200 gift certificate and have their posters replicated on a recycling receptacle for their schools.

The 2014 poster contest winners were Claire Anderson of the Ridgedale Middle School; Madison O’Donnell of West Morris Central High School; Sammi Chan of Morris Hills High School; and Corine Traccoli of Morris Knolls High School.

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.

“We are confident these two ‘green’ projects will raise awareness about both litter abatement and recycling, and at the same time will assist the participating schools financially,” Sweedy said.

An application packet is available online. The applications must be received by April 7. Additional information may be obtained by calling Sweedy at 973-285-8393.