Sustainable Jersey is a a municipal certification program with a mission to make NJ healthy, just and efficient, one municipality at a time. The idea started in 2006 with the League of Municipalities and a small group of mayors. They realized that meaningful environmental change would’nt happen without support at the local level. The Mayors Committee for a Green Future was created with a mission to make NJ green – one municipality at a time. They developed a 3-pronged approach:
Develop standard criteria for communities that want to be known as “green”
Compile a simple web-based tool to help municipal green teams accomplish their goals
Provide financial incentives to reward and assist efforts
In 2008 their efforts were joined by the NJ Sustainable State Institute of Rutgers and the Municipal Land Use Center of the College of NJ. They put together a Working Group consisting of 150 NJ leaders, experts and organizations and sought funding from the Dodge Foundation and the NJ Office of Smart Growth. It was this group that developed the Sustainable Jersey program and launched it in 2009.
As of January 2012, 356 municipalities have registered with the Program and 96 have been officially certified. Municipalities apply for either Bronze or Silver level based upon the number of actions that they have completed. Each Action comes with a specific set of criteria and is awarded a set number of points.
The Small Grants Program is made possible with generous funding from Walmart and the PSEG Foundation. Walmart provided $975,000 to fund the 2009-2013 Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program. The PSEG Foundation provided $400,000 to municipalities in the form of small grants to fund the 2012-2013 program. The grants are intended to support New Jersey municipalities participating in the Sustainable Jersey Certification Program to institute greening and sustainability initiatives within their communities and better the quality of life for their residents.
The Mountain Lakes Green Team was a recipient of a $2000 grant in 2012. Visit the Small Grant Recipients page for more information on the recipients and their projects.
Mountain Lakes passed a resolution in late 2009 and again in 2013 to achieve certification and has put together a Green Team that operates under the Environmental Commission.