Posted Monday, February 11th, 2013

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, 2013, Sweedy said. 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, 679 students and adult supervisors from 21 schools cleaned 179 acres of land and collected 147 bags of trash, 82 bags of recyclables, 200 lbs of scrap metal and 200 lbs of construction debris, according to Sweedy.

“That was a tremendous accomplishment,” Sweedy said.

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, Sweedy said.

“The students’ artwork we received last year was absolutely spectacular,” Sweedy said.

Last year’s poster contest winners were Abirami Kurinchi-Vendhan of Morris Hills High School; Stefanie Fischer of Morris Knolls High School; Jaecob Ponce de Leon of Central Middle School in Parsippany; and Michaela Phelan of the Borough School in Morris Plains.

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 at The applications must be received by April 1.

Additional information may be obtained by calling Sweedy at 973-285-8393.