Green Homes

Refrigerator Rebates

This program provides a $50 reward and free pick up of old refrigerators and freezers for New Jersey residents. These old units are not only wasting energy, but money as well -up to $150 a year. NJCEP (in partnership with JACO Environmental) safely recycles 95% of each unit.  These units aren't going into landfills or back on the secondary market, but are being turned into items we use everyday, such as cell phones and laptops. To schedule a free pick up call 1-877-270-3520. For more Rebates and Promotions click here.

The Story of Electronics

Video released Tuesday, November 9, it explores the high-tech revolution's collateral damage—25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill.

Healthy Food

Not everybody can afford to shop 100% organic always. But we can focus on those foods with the heaviest burden of pesticides, additives and hormones. According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated foods and eating only the cleanest.

EWG has been publishing guides of the most pesticide contaminated foods since 1995, based on statistical analysis of testing conducted by the USDA and the FDA. The dirtiest food list only reflects measurable pesticide residues on the parts of the foods normally consumed (i.e. after being washed and peeled).

The Most Dirty

The food listed here has so many pesticides (plus hormones and antibiotics in the case of meat) that is recommended to buy certified organic: Meat, Milk, Coffee, Celery, Peaches, Strawberries, Apples, Domestic blueberries, Nectarines, Sweet bell peppers, Spinach, Kale, Collard greens, Cherries, Potatoes, Imported grapes, Lettuce, Carrot and Pears.

The Clean 16

Buy Smart, if the cost of buying all organic isn't within your budget, check out this list of foods so clean of pesticides you don't have to buy organic. (Buying organic is always a good choice for the health of farms and farm workers).

Onions, Avocados, Sweet corn, Broccoli, Pineapples, Mango, Sweet peas, Asparagus, Kiwi fruit, Cabbage, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Sweet potatoes and Sweet onions.


Composting is easy

What can you put in your composter?

  • Cardboard rolls and cereal boxes (tear them into small pieces first)
  • Clean paper and shredded newspaper
  • Coffee grounds, paper filters and tea bags
  • Cotton rags
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
  • Eggshells
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grass clippings and yard trimmings
  • Hair and fur
  • Hay and straw
  • Houseplants and leaves
  • Nut shells
  • Sawdust and wood chips
  • Wool rags

Leave Out

  • Dairy products
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants and weeds
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils
  • Meat or bone scraps
  • Pet waste from carnivorous animals
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
  • Colored or glossy paper
  • Chemically treated wood
  • Black walnut tree leaves, twig and pine needles
  • Coal or charcoal ash

Composting is an easy way to make your own great soil, the key to a great garden.

You can build an outdoor composter yourself or purchase one.

  • Outdoor composters for sale come in a variety of styles, some have turning mechanisms built in that helps with decomposition. Few accept meat and dairy products. 
  • Place your composter in a sunny corner of your yard, a warm compost pile will break down faster than a cool one.
  • There are also indoor composters, such as a bokashi, a Japanese bin that essentially pickles your food waste, or the NatureMill, a California-made system that uses a small electric motor to turn the compost.
  • Different composters break down waste at different speeds.
  • When you begin to see dirt at the bottom of your composter, scoop it out and let it rest in a separate pile for two weeks before adding it to your garden or plant beds.
Whichever compost method you choose you'll be keeping plenty of waste out of landfills, and keeping Verona green!

Green Cleaning Products

Switching to green cleaning products is an easy way to help the environment

In 2006, acting Governor Cody signed an Executive Order directing all State agencies to purchase environmentally friendly cleaning products to the greatest degree possible. This encourages county and municipal governments to also review their purchasing and use of cleaning products. In 2006, New York became the first state to actually mandate that all their public schools be cleaned with environmentally friendly products.

Cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a hazard to our families, our pets, and our environment. Potentially harmful cleaning products should be avoided since they not only affect air quality in the home but also find their way into the water supply. Most of the conventional cleaning products we all grew up with are petroleum-based and have dubious health and environmental implications.

Verona kids are doing their green homework!

Last January, during a Board of Education meeting 10 third and fourth graders from Laning Avenue School suggested to reduce toxic chemicals in the district's schools by purchasing "green" cleaning products.  The students reminded all grown ups of the health hazards associated with traditional cleaning products and the benefits of going "green”.  The school district is currently in a phase out program of the non-green cleaning products.
Well done!

Natural Cleaners

  1. White vinegar is a nontoxic disinfectant and mildew fighter that can be used either diluted or full strength to clean windows as well as kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  2. Baking Soda makes a great low-abrasive scrubbing agent, and an open box of it will help remove odors in the refrigerator or microwave oven. To freshen a rug sprinkle baking soda on it and leave it for 30 minutes before vacuuming. Add baking soda to vinegar in your toilet to get “scrubbing bubbles”.
  3. Lemon juice is an effective bleaching agent. Use it instead of chlorine bleach on small areas of light-colored fabrics. To get the yellow out of old lace or linen, hand wash, rinse in water mixed with lemon juice, then hang in the sun to bleach dry.
  4. Liquid soap can be added to any of the above if you prefer a little suds in your cleaning experience.
Green Cleaning Products
  • Shop for nonhazardous and phosphorous-free household cleaning products.
  • Look for Eco-friendly packaging or containers that are biodegradable or recyclable.
  • Concentrated products are also a good choice because they produce less package waste that may wind up in a landfill. 
  • Use disinfectants only where necessary. Neutral soap and water is often enough.
  • There are new non toxic cleaning products such as machines that use magnetized water or oxygen bleach which is much safer to use than chlorine bleach or sodium hydroxide. Oxygen bleach is non toxic, non corrosive and earth friendly.
Here is a list of phosphate-free green cleaning supplies and EPA's list of phosphate-free household products.
That's the best possible scenario; no chemicals at all.
There are lots of instances where you can avoid the use of chemicals entirely.

CFL's save you $30 a bulb

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) will save you energy and help the planet. CFLs consume about 75% less and their lifetime is about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. So even though CFLs are more expensive to purchase, each bulb will save you $30 or more in the long run. If every American replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save more than $600 million in annual energy costs while preventing the greenhouse-gas equivalent of the emissions of more than 800,000 cars. Go green and switch to CFLs!

Remember that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain traces of mercury, so it is important to educate yourself on proper use, recycling and disposal of these bulbs. Please visit EPA's Clean-Up and Disposal Guidelines.  Verona residents can properly dispose of their CFLs when Essex County has its Household Hazardous Waste Day. Would you like to learn more or get involved? Visit Project Porchlight

How should I dispose of medication?

Over-the-counter and prescription medications should not be disposed down the drain because waste-water treatment facilities are not designed to remove pharmaceutical compounds and they may end up in local waterways. Because of hazards to humans, pets, and the environment DO NOT flush unwanted medications down the toilet, sink, food disposal unit and DO NOT toss them loosely in the trash. You could accidentally poison someone or your medications could find their way into water sources and landfills, and pollute them, causing danger to humans, animals, fish, and vegetation.

The Verona Police Department will be collecting unused, unwanted, and expired prescription drugs during an Operation Take Back New Jersey collection at Verona Municipal Building, 600 Bloomfield Ave.The collection will run from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, October 29.

You can bring your unwanted medication to medical disposal events or collection centers or follow the steps below:

These are 4 steps for proper disposal of medication:
  • Keep medicine in original container. Mark out personal information on prescription bottles.
  • Mix liquid medicine with undesirable substances like coffee grounds, cat litter, or dirt. Dilute pills with water, and then add coffee grounds, cat litter, or dirt.
  • Place bottles in an opaque container, like a yogurt container, and secure lid; or wrap in a dark colored plastic bag.
  • Hide the container in the trash. DO NOT recycle.

Guidelines for Proper Disposal of Household Medication, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Proper disposal of syringes

Diabetes can require self-injection of insulin and lancets to monitor blood sugar levels at home. You are responsible for destroying your needles and syringes, even when you visit other people.

  • DO NOT put syringes in your recycling bin. Remember, although you may feel healthy, your used syringes can transmit germs. In addition, loose syringes thrown in your trash can seriously hurt people. 
  • We all benefit from the safe disposal of syringes. Please do your part to help keep our environment clean and safe.

For additional information about disposal of syringes read Safe Syringe Disposal Guide for Home Generated Medical Waste.

Ten Ways to Go Green and Save Green

How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time?

Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization based in Washington, D.C.,
share ideas on how to
GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN at home and at work.

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