Links & Tips

Environmental Links

Environmental Tips


Shopping bags create an incredible amount of waste for something that's often in our lives for fewer than 5 minutes (store to car, car to house). Every time you reuse a bag you double the environmental savings: you save the bag you reused from going to a landfill, and you save a new one from needing to be used. Next time you go shopping, BYOB (bring your own bag).

Single-use plastic and paper bags—along with disposable polystyrene food containers and cups—will be banned in New Jersey stores and food service establishments, effective May 2022. New Jersey’s ban provides exceptions for certain products for two years beyond the May 2022 effective date. These includes long handled spoons for thick drinks, cups of two ounces or less, for hot food requiring lids, meat and fish trays for raw or butchered meat, and food pre-packaged by the manufacturer with polystyrene foam for food service.

The new law also specifies that foodservice establishments may only provide single-use plastic straws to a customer upon request beginning in November 2021.

Go Paperless

Make it a habit to think before you print: could this be read or stored online instead? When you receive unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazines, or junk mail, request to be removed from the mailing list before you recycle the item. It's as simple as calling the customer service number and requesting to be taken off the mailing list.

Save Energy

LED Light bulbs

Consider replacing outdated incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs with Light-emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. What are the benefits of making this change? The benefits are many and include increased energy efficiency, lower electric bills, a longer bulb life, and a better and safer light source overall.

A study by the Consumer Federation of America found that the average American household could save about $1,000 over a ten-year period by switching to LEDs, saving consumers money in the long run. It’s the whole – pay now or later scenario. Because, while an average incandescent bulb may cost half the price of an LED bulb at the store, that same incandescent bulb would cost almost five times as much as an LED to use each month. This monthly amount added to a consumer’s electric bills can be reduced easily by switching to LED.

Fuel efficiency

To improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy by as much as 5 percent.  Also check and replace your vehicle’s air filter regularly.  

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Turn off electronic devices when not in use. Simply turning off your TV, DVD, computer and other electronic devices can reduce thousands of pounds of household carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Ceiling Fans and window shades

Ceiling fans aren't just for summertime. You can utilize your fan in the winter to keep your home warm without using as much heat. By reversing your ceiling fan's motor, hot air that normally accumulates at the top of the room will be projected downward. This improved heat circulation will also help prevent "sweating windows" by discouraging condensation.

Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows. Consider using insulating curtains to reduce excessive heat loss from large windows at night.

Water Usage

Check your detergent

Common household cleaners containing phosphates or phosphorus can adversely affect environmental water quality. While phosphorus is naturally occurring in soil, it is released into the water supply from rain or melting snow run-off at a certain natural rate. Phosphates are a common cleaning ingredient are found in shampoos, hand soap, bath soap, and dish detergents. Choosing cleaning products with reduced amounts of these chemicals can reduce our effect on our water supply. For example, when choosing a dishwasher detergent, look on the grocery shelf for the product containing the least amount of these chemicals

Use a Recyclable Eco-Friendly Water Bottle

Purchasing water bottles is a common practice - particularly in warm weather. However, a lot of water bottles end up in the ocean as a lot of people fail to recycle them properly. This results in a high rate of pollution in our oceans and the overall environment, as one plastic bottle will break down into 10,000 microplastic pieces over time - and this microplastic pollution is incredibly hard to clean up.

Invest in a water bottle that is not only reusable but also the right size, so you can take it with you whenever you travel. Re-using a water bottle also saves money in the long run, as fewer plastic bottles will need to be purchased.

Lawn Fertilizers

Lawn fertilizers are compounds that promote the growth of grass and other lawn plants, including weeds. Store bought lawn fertilizers typically provide a lawn with the 3 main nutrients necessary for vigorous growth and strong roots, i.e., nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.

Like many things, too much of a good one can be harmful, environmentally in this case. Excessive use of lawn fertilizers can not only have a negative effect on the grass, it can result in ground and surface water contamination. Excess fertilizer that is not absorbed by the grass's roots will work its way through the soil into the groundwater, i.e., the source of drinking water in Washington TWP.

Excess fertilizer may also be washed off of the treated area and carried by storm water into surface waters such as rivers and lakes. An excessive concentration of phosphorous in a pond or lake can cause algae blooms to grow, depleting the oxygen in the water to a point where fish and other aquatic species cannot survive. When fertilizing, use the prescribed amount and at the recommended intervals, while maintain a 20-foot buffer around the edges of lakes, streams, and storm drains.

If unsure about the frequency and amount of lawn fertilizer to apply, purchase a soil analysis kit, or visit the website of any major lawn fertilizer producer.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Think Recycling

3.4 million tons of paper are purchased during back-to-school season. If every student used 100 percent recycled paper--available now at most major retailers--we could save millions of trees

Help ease the burden on our landfills -- give away or sell used items that you no longer want. If you have items you would like to give away, visit and join the local Morris County group. You simply post an item, and people who are interested respond to your post and even arrange for pick up! It's easy and good for the environment

Packing Materials

Many packing and shipping stores will accept plastic foam peanuts, bubble wrap, and other packing and shipping materials for reuse. Help keep our landfills empty of these items! Check with your local packing and shipping stores to see if they will accept used packing materials for reuse.

Recycle Batteries

Recycle Batteries to help prevent the pollution of our soil, water, and air. Single use or rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, that can leach out of solid waste landfills, contaminating the soil and water. Batteries disposed of in the regular trash may also end up being burned in a solid waste incinerator, creating the potential for air pollution. Toxic heavy metals released into the environment bioaccumulate, or concentrate in the tissues of living organisms and can make their way into the food chain. Recycling your batteries can be done by dropping them off at the Washington Township Public Library or at several local retailers that sell electronic equipment.

Think Globally, Eat Locally

Take a moment to think about where the food you eat comes from --- buying local means you're reducing your food miles (the distance and energy it takes to ship the food to your plate). You're also helping to support small family farms and your local economy.

Native Plants

Consider using native plants in your landscape. Since they are already adapted to local conditions, native plants are easy to grow and maintain, generally requiring less fertilizer and water, as well as less effort to control pests. Visit for more info.

See Below for More Information

Identify Invasive Plant Species

The Washington Township Environmental Commission has identified a grant and will be applying for funds to be used to raise awareness of invasive plant species in Washington Township. An invasive species is one that is a non-native organizm that is causing harm to the environment, human health or the economy. They are wshown to interrupt the natural functions of an ecosystem by impacting native plants and animals. The NJ Invasive Species Strike Team has created a website to learn more.

If you have a smartphone, the power to protect is in your hands!! You can use your phone to help stop the spread of invasive plants. Download the NJ Invasive Species Strike Team APP to help identify and share invasive species that you find.