Creative Civic: Curbside Composting - Citizens Campaign - Video Feature
Our new video was released today, April 23, offering food for thought—and action. For years, backyard composters have been the pioneers of the composting movement. Many of us look to them with admiration, but have not had the grit to set up our own composting corner by the garden. Our new video, which focuses on the 7th annual Living Local Expo that took place in Lawrenceville on March 29, illustrates that there is an easier way to become a composter, through community curbside composting. People leave their compostable matter curbside according to a schedule, and all of a community’s organic material is composted in a central area. In addition to being more convenient, curbside composting provides the entire community with large amounts of rich garden soil.
In 2009, the Mercer County Improvement Authority, Central Jersey Waste, and 160 citizens started Princeton’s curbside composting program. According to Princeton Recycling Coordinator Janet Pellichero, there are now more than 900 participants in the program. The benefits are huge: curbside composting reduces methane emissions, saves space in landfills and produces nutrient-filled soil. Former mayor of Lawrenceville Pam Mount, who also attended the Expo, discusses the complementary importance of local farming for community health and long-term savings on food costs.
There are quite a few other New Jersey towns that have started curbside composting programs. To start one in your own community, you can contact the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions’ resource center for information on curbside composting. You can then write a proposal addressing how to implement curbside composting in your community.
If you need information from your municipality for the proposal, you can request any data collected by local or state governments at the courthouse under the Open Public Records Act. A request form for the Open Public Records Act can be found on the New Jersey State League of Municipalities’ website. The NJSLM also provides information on how to present your proposal to your local officials. Sustainable Jersey is another great resource for information on curbside composting and other sustainability practices. They also provide funding for sustainability programs, including a grant for Princeton's curbside composting program.
In other news, the Citizen's Campaign is hosting a dinner on Monday, April 28, honoring former CEO of New Jersey Economic Development Authority Caren Franzini, Director of J.G. Petrucci Rosalin Petrucci, and Chairman and CEO of Elberon Development Group Anne Evans Estabrook for their contributions to New Jersey’s civic community. The event takes place at 6:30 pm at The Palace at Somerset Park and will showcase citizens solving problems in their communities in remarkable ways. Tickets and more information are available here.
Next: our discussion of the way we think about ‘economy’ continues. Stay tuned and feel free to share your thoughts with us!
(Tim is a senior and history major at Franklin & Marshall, currently taking electives in Economics and Philosophy at Drew.)