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Have a healthy yard without the use of dangerous chemicals. Scientific studies associate exposure to pesticides with asthma, cancer, birth defects, developmental, learning disabilities and other ailments. Lawn chemicals can also poison animals and pollute local streams, lakes and drinking water sources.One of the reasons why Verona is such a great place to live and raise a family is our strong sense of community. Is there an environmental issue that you feel strongly about? Get involved! Get informed about upcoming programs, contact us and learn about environmental matters. Attend local public meetings, write letters to the local newspapers or contact your representatives. Be a good neighbor by educating people in your community on ways they can protect the environment in their day-to-day life. Believe you can make a difference! To get inspired, Fred McEwee from the HBW environmental club sent us this video:

Don't Toss that Box!

Verona doesn't have curbside collection of cardboard so please DO NOT place your used boxes at the curb, bring them to the Verona Recycling Center instead. Allowing cardboard to go into our main garbage stream puts Verona at risk of substantial fines and increases our garbage disposal cost. Corrugated Cardboard is one of Essex County's mandatory recyclable materials. Boxes must be empty and flattened before placing it in the Recycling Center's container. All other cardboard such as cereal or cracker boxes and paper towel cores and other paperboard/chipboard go in the Mixed Paper dumpster at the Recycling Center. Juice boxes and milk cartons go in your regular garbage. Placing garbage or recyclable items in the wrong dumpster at the Recycling Center contaminates and lowers the value of our recyclable materials. Recycling is mandatory for all, please help us comply with regulations and save tax dollars.

Essex County Fleet Maintenance Garage

Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

Hours: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Address: Fleet Maintenance Garage on 99 West Bradford Avenue in Cedar Grove.

Paint thinners and solvents, pesticides, herbicides , rechargeable batteries and fluorescent light bulbs are some of the many household products containing hazardous components. NJ law prohibits improper disposal of any amount of “household hazardous waste” (HHW).

The average home can accumulate as much as 100 pounds of HHW and Verona residents can conveniently dispose of their HHW for free at the Essex County Collection Program in Cedar Grove.

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Safe Lawns for Your Family 

It is easy to manage a landscape without harmful chemicals. For example, to prevent weeds and crabgrass from sprouting, apply natural corn gluten. For weeds that already have come up, a clove oil-based product could be used. Local garden centers are fully stocked with effective and safe organic lawn products, visit them or request your lawn care professional to keep your family safe with the latest organic and natural lawn technology.

Avoid Pain at the Pump

  1. Better gas mileage can save money and reduce greenhouse emissions. Save up to 23% on your fuel cost just by observing the speed limit. Gas mileage for most vehicles decrease quickly as speeds exceed 60 mph.
  2. Don’t idle. Idling is another gas gobbler that uses more fuel than stopping and restarting the engine, especially if the wait will be longer than 10 seconds. And the larger the engine, the more fuel is wasted while idling. Exhaust-related air pollution from idling cars and diesel vehicles also puts people at increased risk for asthma attacks, allergies, and other respiratory ailments, and contributes to heart problems and higher cancer rates in high traffic areas.
  3. Lose weight. It pays to take unnecessary items out of the car trunk. An extra 100 pounds can cut your gas mileage by up to 2% . The smaller the car, the greater the impact of extra cargo weight on fuel efficiency

  4. Be good to your car. Routine auto maintenance can improve fuel efficiency greatly. For example, replacing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve mileage by up to 40 percent. Replacing a clogged air filter can boost fuel efficiency as much as 10 percent. Keeping the engine properly tuned, filling tires to recommended pressure levels and using the correct grade of motor oil can also add up to substantial fuel savings.
  5. Drive smart. To improve mileage by as much as 33 percent: Avoid rapid acceleration and sudden braking; use cruise control to keep your car at a constant, moderate speed; use overdrive gear whenever possible if you have automatic transmission; avoid peak traffic hours; and instead of using the air conditioner, open the vents whenever possible.

Perhaps the best way to lengthen the time between fill-ups at the pump is simply to drive less. Warm summer weather brings more opportunities for walking and biking. Use mass transportation or tour buses to get around the cities you visit and consider car pooling.

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection publishes a “Clean Vehicle List” on its web site to help car buyers make informed decisions. For more visit the US EPA web site . A list of ways to enjoy a more sustainable life, at home and in the community is available on ANJEC

Beware of the tank contractor

Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) have been thorns in the sides of home owners for quite a while. Nearly 75% of them are leaking; and cleanup costs can climb very quickly often leaving the unsuspecting home owner with bills in excess of $10,000. The last thing you need is an unscrupulous contractor! The following points are offered to help you make a sound decision when it comes to getting your tank removed:

  • All contractors must be licensed by the NJDEP to perform this work.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) after you have selected a few local contractors to provide proposals. 
  • Get their ratings and ask about their history.
  • Obtain the following paperwork before selecting the tank removal contractor:
  1. Recent and local references. Call them and visit their properties if they’re local. Review the paperwork left by the contractor after their jobs.
  2. Certifications for the tank contractor (Both UST Closure and Subsurface Evaluator licenses)
  3. A written proposal for the REMOVAL of the tank including Remedial costs, in case the UST is a leaker.
  4. Make sure the contract you sign only addresses the tank’s removal and site restoration, not remediation. 
  • If the cost for the removal of your UST is less than the cost for an excavator and an operator for one (1) day, chose another contractor.
  • Remember: the tank contractor needs to get a municipal permit, bring a backhoe or an excavator, a huge truck and trailer, dig up the tank, cut it open, clean it out (with a worker inside with a suit and a mask), remove it from the ground, wait for a municipal inspection, transport the clean tank to a scrap yard, backfill the excavation with certified clean fill material and restore the surface as well as agreed. 
  • If the cost for all this work is less than the total of the associated costs on the contractor’s fee schedule, he or she is losing money removing your tank! Why would they do that? That doesn’t make good business sense! They’ll get that money back once it’s a leaker! That’s how they do it; and they have a 75% chance of success. You get what you pay for. Remember, you only signed a REMOVAL proposal. 
  • If your tank is found to be a leaker, you do not have to use the tank removal contractor to perform the cleanup.
  • If you decide to change contractors, DO NOT PAY the removal contractor until he or she provides the following information: 
  1. Municipal/Building Permit Information
  2. Liquid Waste Disposal Documentation
  3. Tank Recycling/Disposal Documentation
  4. Stone Backfill and/or Clean Soil Certification & Weight Tickets(s)
  5. Laboratory Results & QA/QC Documentation, if available photographs.
  • If your tank is found to have leaked, cleanup must be performed; and this brings forth a host of additional tasks that can, indeed, get expensive. A number of tasks have to be performed in order to obtain a No Further Action letter (the NFA) from the NJDEP. 
If you have any questions about tanks or cleanup, please contact Andrew W. Robinson at (973) 865-0033.

Green Halloween

Halloween doesn't have to be scary for the environment. Here are some green tips for a terrific Halloween:
Trick or Treat with Reusable Bags, cloth or canvas shopping bags make great eco-friendly alternatives to paper or plastic bags, or to the molded plastic jack-o-lanterns. Reuse costumes or make your own from items you already have. Choose eco-friendly candy made with organic or natural ingredients and useful treats that use little or no packaging. Walk instead of driving. Use recycled and recyclable materials to create your Halloween decorations. And once Halloween is over, add your jack-o-lanterns to your compost bin or start one!

Have Yourself An Eco-Friendly Holiday!

Here are some Eco-friendly ideas to put in practice during the festivities:
  • Save energy and money with LED holiday lights.
  • Choose live, uncut trees that can be replanted after the holidays. 
  • Be sure your gift will get used. Get consumable gifts such as organic teas, fair trade coffee or dried fruits and nuts. 
  • Make the gift yourself or offer your time to baby-sit or shovel snow. Get creative! 
  • Buy local gifts and high-quality goods. Try vintage and second hand shops.
  • Help your family and friends go green with gifts that save resources, such as a Rain Barrel, a Smart Strip Power Strip, a Composter or a Low-Flow Showerhead.
  • Purchase PVC free items. Children are at risk from even small exposures to it. READ MORE
  • Think about your packaging. Make a fun "to-from" label for your gifts instead of wrapping them or use reusable wrapping, such us a cloth bag or recycle the newspaper's comic pages.
  • Donate or recycle electronics that are replaced by new presents.

Eco-Friendly Valentine's Day!

On February 14th have an eco-friendly Valentine's Day by making or choosing useful, thoughtful, and sustainable gifts. Here are some green ideas:
  • Each year some one billion valentines are sent globally. Choose cards made from recycled or tree-free paper or send lovely e-cards instead!
  • Children always enjoy creating home-made valentines. Encourage them to make collages with recycled materials such as old homework paper and magazines.
  • Be sure your gift will get used. Get consumable gifts such as organic and fair-trade chocolate, candy, tea, coffee, wine, dried fruits or nuts.
  • Make the gift yourself, such as organic cupcakes or offer your time to babysit, shovel snow or clean the house for your wife. Get creative!
  • Choose natural beeswax and soy candles to avoid indoor pollutants released by conventional petroleum-based candles.
  • Give organic and/or locally grown flowers or buy a live plant. It will live longer than a dozen roses!
  • Arrange dinner at a local restaurant or make dinner yourself using locally grown ingredients.
  • Help your love ones go green with gifts that save resources, such as a rain barrel, a Smart Strip power strip or a low-flow shower head.
  • Purchase PVC-free items. Children are at risk from even small exposures to it. READ MORE
  • Think about your packaging. Make a heart-shaped label and tape it to your gift instead of wrapping it or use reusable wrapping, such us a cloth bag.

Green Quiz

There is a lot you can do to live a more Eco-friendly life, start today!

1-Which uses less water, washing a full load of dishes by hand or in the dishwasher?
A dishwasher can save up to 5,000 gallons of water per year compared to hand washing. Look for current models with Energy Star rating and use phosphate-free detergent brands.  Also, skip “heat-dry” or “rinse-hold” settings.

2-What supermarket bag is “greener”, paper or plastic? 
Neither, bring your own reusable canvas bags instead.

3-Are my appliances using energy while turned off?
Yes, many appliances still use energy when they are turned off. According to the Department of Energy $750 million are wasted each year in the U.S.A. by televisions turned off but still plugged.

4-Are books more Eco-friendly than E-readers?
No, once you read 23 books the environmental impact is the same as a Kindle. Downloading a new book is “greener” than driving to a book store or having it shipped to you. Or walk to the local library instead!

5-What light bulb is more efficient, CFL or LED bulbs?
CFL are up to five times more efficient than incandescents, but contain mercury which is illegal to trash and hard to  recycle. In the other hand, LEDs last up to three times longer than CFLs and they are mercury-free. Remember to choose motion sensing LEDs models for outdoor light fixtures.

6-Car wash or DIY, what uses more water?
About 100 gallons are used for a 10 minutes car wash at home while only 45 gallons total are used for a mechanical pro car wash. Car washes must follow wastewater regulations while at home the motor oil, gasoline and other chemicals can run off  into the waterways.

7-How much of global electricity output is produced from renewable sources?
Only about 8%, the remaining 92% still comes from non-renewable sources such as natural gas, coal and oil.

8-Does fast driving saves you fuel in long trips?
No, the EPA estimates that you will save about 15% on fuel driving at 55 miles per hour rather than at 65 miles per hour.

9-What is the greener way for storing leftovers, plastic wrap or aluminum foil?
Neither. While foil can be washed, reused, and even recycled, plastic wrap is made from fossil fuels and usually thrown away. However aluminum has a heavy manufacturing footprint. It takes a whole lot of energy to mine bauxite ore from the earth and then process it.  Choose reusable food containers instead. 

10-How much can I save by dropping the thermostat from 70 to 68°F?
Each degree you drop the thermostat during winter saves you about 5% on your heating bill.