Just over two weeks ago over 50 concerned Ewing residents, township staff and elected officials met to have a discussion about a sustainable future for Ewing Township. It was a gorgeous day and in fact according to one attendee ” I truthfully wanted to skip it when I saw what a beautiful day it was, but I’m so glad that I went! I think this will be a very beneficial process for Ewing, if it is communicated to and shared with the community.”
In fall of 2013, Ewing Township obtained its first bronze-level of Sustainable Jersey certification. Using the funds made possible from a $10,000 Sustainable Jersey Small Grant funded by PSEG Foundation, the team is using a community visioning process to plan for the next 3 year certification. By consulting the community on what is important to them, the Ewing Green Team plans to respond with a coordinated strategy plan that is specific to what the people of Ewing value and want. The Community Conversation on June 7th was the first step in the process. The Green Team will now take the input gathered from the participants and work to develop and prioritize specific goals. Look for development of specific topics developed at the visioning to be further refined at the summer Green Team meetings. A second visioning workshop is targeted for fall 2014. The community be invited to come together again to review the sustainability goals that were developed.
Zero Waste Report
Our first conversation was a low-waste effort. We saw many travel mugs and personal beverage containers. We were pleased to obtain about ½ of a bag of compostable materials which were taken to the compost bins at the Community Gardens on Whitehead Road Extension. There was about ¼ of a bag of actual “garbage” that will end up in a landfill. And the rest of the trash was recyclable. We kept the badges – the plastic containers are reusable (we hope see community members again during our meetings as we brainstorm for a plan and at the Fall review) and the paper insert was recyclable.
It required a little bit more effort to plan for a low waste event, but for a gathering of our size we felt that the results justified our efforts. From the cloth napkins to the absence of extraneous handouts and paper, to the lack of individual sized containers (e.g. sugar packets, individual creamers and tubs and jars of condiments, etc.) and even to the double sided badge with the agenda, we tried to reduce our use of unnecessary packaging, plastic and garbage in general.
The public is invited to attend the next Ewing Green Team meeting on June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ewing Senior and Community Center where the members will begin to brainstorm on some of the initial themes developed from the visioning session.