Education & Outreach
REMINDER: All municipal recycling coordinators must begin The New Jersey Recycling Certification Series by 2010. Courses are currently available through the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Office of Continuing Professional Education. More information is available at: http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/programs/recycling_solid_waste.html
Essex County, through the ECHD/CEHA Program, currently enacts a school inspection program to monitor recycling in schools. The NJDEP mandates that 50 inspections be conducted per year. Essex County surpasses the inspection mandate and sends recycling surveys to 187 schools, eliciting responses regarding recycling practices and levels of success. Once the completed surveys are returned, CEHA chooses 50 schools at random to conduct an on-site inspection to verify results. This information is being used to develop a database to further identify problem areas with recycling in schools. Through these efforts, a better course of action can be determined. Once the database is operating, all Superintendents, Principals and school teachers will have access to the information, and an education and outreach program will be developed.
Link to the Essex County Environmental Center is: http://www.essex-countynj.org/p/index.php?section=env/o
Essex County has a number of resources currently available to the public that provide education about recycling and the environment. The Essex County Environmental Center, located at 621B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, New Jersey, is open Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm, and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm. As stated in its Mission Statement, the Essex County Environmental Center is dedicated to creating awareness, understanding and appreciation of the environment and its relationship to Essex County residents. The Essex County Environmental Center is devoted to uniting its urban and suburban constituencies through developing and delivering holistic educational programs and action projects that foster Earth stewardship among the County’s diverse populations. The Essex County Environmental Center promotes environmental sustainability and encourages individuals and communities to live responsible lifestyles that minimally compromise the Earth’s resources in planning for the future of Essex County.
The Environmental Center offers a number of educational programs about recycling. The following are descriptions of past and present programs offered:
Guide to Going Green at School
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Rethink!
There is more you can do to help the planet than you think! From action projects to everyday choices, learn how you can become ambassadors for your home and school environments. Learn how the 4 R’s are more than just separating trash through interactive games, hands-on activities, make-and-take projects and natural history hikes.
Programs for Grades PK-2
Programs for Grades 3-5
- Litter Bits: Almost every living thing is responsible in some way for littering the earth. Students learn to recognize and differentiate between inorganic human litter and organic litter that will decompose quickly.
- Packaging: Children will classify the remains of a bag lunch to determine what leftovers can be recycled and what packaging can be reduced.
Programs for Grades 6-8
- Where Does it All Go? Kids pick up on the secret life of trash: Materials collected in Essex County don’t just disappear. In this class students will learn how Essex County handles its many different wastes.
- Paper Making: Students investigate the paper making process by trying it for themselves. Using colored construction paper scraps, students make a useful and pretty product.
- Nonrenewable vs. Renewable Resources: Students will discuss the eventual depletion of nonrenewable fossil fuels and learn about the positives and negatives of renewable alternatives.
Programs for Grades 9-12
- “Green” Architecture: Students learn about minimizing negative impacts on the environment, conserving and efficiently using natural resources and respecting the relationship of buildings to their surroundings. There are many features of the Essex County Environmental Center that make it an environmentally friendly facility.
- Balancing Environmental Decision Making with Real Life Issues—A Town Meeting: Students are introduced to current concerns related to the environment and conservation, but have little knowledge of the problems faced by individuals and communities when addressing these concerns. Students participate in a “town meeting” focusing on waste management that introduces both environmental and governmental processes using role-playing and discussion.
- Expand your Environmental Science Curriculum with field-tested labs and activities in our wooded wetland habitat just steps away from the Passaic River. Customize your trip around the following topics:
- Exploring Municipal Solid Waste
- Water Supply, Use & Management
- Regional Analysis of Global Environmental Issues
- Dams and Control Structure
- Resource Extraction
- Global Climate Change
The Essex County Environmental Center also provided a program for small businesses entitled Recycling for Municipalities and Small Businesses: Increasing Efficiency and Compliance in March of 2006. The program provided a great opportunity to local business owners to learn how the community, each attendee’s business and the environment can benefit by recycling. This program was free and open to the public.
Essex County is developing educational programs and raising public awareness of the County recycling program by reaching out and trying to involve the following institutions:
a. Essex County Community College
b. New Jersey Institute of Technology
c. Montclair State University
d. Seton Hall University
e. Essex County Environmental Center
Participating volunteer groups are asked to coordinate with primary schools for implementing recycling initiatives in schools, which in turn, will hopefully bring the recycling initiative into homes as well. Recycling stickers, handouts, etc. can be provided for students to bring home, and recyclable materials containers designed to separate recycling from garbage can be provided. School grades or classrooms can elect a “recycling monitor” to ensure that his/her fellow classmates are recycling. Any volunteer organization and primary school participating in this program will receive written certificates of achievement from the County for doing their part to recycle!
Essex County also encourages Municipal Recycling Coordinators to take the Recycling Coordinator Training offered through Rutgers Office of Continuing Education, in coordination with NJDEP.