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One Score For Recycling

The 20th Annual Morris County Recycling Awards Dinner
Friday, November 2, 2007
Hanover Manor
East Hanover, NJ 07936

Mistress of Ceremonies
Penny Jones
Morris County Recycling Education Specialist

Presentation of Awards
 - Glenn Schweizer, Executive Director, MCMUA
 - Kathleen Hourihan, District Recycling Coordinator, MCMUA

And the awards go to…

Campaigning for Clean Communities Award – Michelle Guacci
“This job (Hanover Township Clean Communities coordinator) has become so important to me.  I’m amazed at how many people are unaware of the importance of not littering, as well as the importance of recycling properly,” says Michelle Guacci.  Serving both as a cheerleader for the team and a member of the team,  Michelle has overseen a comprehensive litter abatement program consisting of the following and then some:  1)  conducting an essay contest for 4th and 5th graders; 2) inviting township businesses to “Join Our Team” or “Keep Hanover Township Clean”; 3) also, inviting residents to “Join Our Team”; 4) coordinating a poster contest in the elementary schools (the winners’ designs appear on trash receptacles located in the municipal building, and; 5) sponsoring litter abatement programs for young children that were presented at the Whippanong Library.

Leaving a Green Path in His Wake – Frank Soriano
“If we don’t pick it up, the pigs win,” according to Frank Soriano, who’s been employed as a reference librarian at the Morris County Library since 1977.  As he bicycles* or walks from his home at Old Forge East in Morris Township to work at the library, often dressed in his blue Smurf-like “uniform,” Frank regularly collects garbage and recyclables.  He deposits the properly separated materials at the library on one end of his trip, and at the Morristown recycling center at the other end.  “I believe in the broken window theory:  If it looks like a dump, people will litter.  I don’t like living in a dump or walking through a dump,” states Frank, who is also an official Patriots’ Path volunteer.  * He rides a J.C. Higgins bike, the very first he ever had.  His dad bought it at the Sears store on South Street in Morristown in 1952 when Frank was nine years old.  Frank calls it his equivalent of a trail bike.

Dressing Denville for Success Award – Kathy Zuzock
“I enjoy the diversity of the job.  I love it – there’s something new every day,” remarks Kathy Zuzock, an employee of the Denville Department of Public Works for the past 16 years.  The very artsy-craftsy and imaginative Kathy has dressed “the folks” (her Denville colleagues Gene Feyl, Joe Lowell and Ellen Sandman) for their strolls down the runway at the Morris County Recycling Awards Dinner from 2002 through this evening.  Kathy’s favorite dinner was “The Sounds of Recycling” in 2004 because, “The play on words was so much fun, and the fun gets the attention.  At all of the dinners, though, my comrades have made the costumes sing.  They have such good spirits to allow me to dress them up,” Kathy reflects.

The Green “Gardner” Award – Adam Gardner
“It’s Hip to Be Green” proclaims the headline of a story in the April 16, 2007, issue of  Newsweek.  Adam Gardner, who grew up in Harding Township, is pictured right above that headline, for he’s a guitarist and vocalist with Guster, an indie rock band that’s “…been on a green mission,” according to the article.  Indeed, Adam and his wife, Lauren Sullivan, are co-founders of Reverb and the Campus Consciousness Tour, the whole concept of which is in Adam’s words “combining rock music, environmentalism and social responsibility.”  On Wednesday, October 24, 2007, Adam testified before the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in Washington, D.C.  The title of his testimony is “The Grass Greener:  The Future of Biofuels.”  This evening, Guster is providing music in Nashville, Tennessee, but Adam has sent us a DVD, so we can almost see him in person!

All’s Green on the Western Front Award - Mendham Borough Environmental Commission, Mendham Township Environmental Commission, and Mendham Junior Women’s Club - “For all of the 25 volunteers who helped out on that day, the program was considered a great success for this first of what will likely become an annual event,” says Janis Slutsky, a member of the Mendham Borough Environmental Commission.  That day, Saturday, May 19, 2007, was Electronics Recycling Collection Day when three organizations joined forces to sponsor the event:  Mendham Borough Environmental Commission, Mendham Township Environmental Commission, and Mendham Junior Women’s Club.  Although these groups were aware of the electronics collection program sponsored by the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, they wanted to host an event very close to home, in order to provide as much convenience as possible to the residents.  The collection netted 95 cubic yards of electronics that Supreme Computer and Electronics Recycling Company of Lakewood, New Jersey, reused, refurbished or recycled.  A nice feature was the offer to pick up used electronics from elderly or disabled residents, nine of whom responded affirmatively to the offer.

It’s in the Bag Award – Mount Olive Solid Waste Advisory Committee
It’s no coincidence that a brown paper grocery bag with the message “Recycling is a beautiful thing” printed on it, plays a role at this evening’s dinner.  “People want options; they want to make their own decisions,” says Phil Tobey, a councilman and co-chair of the Mount Olive Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC), as he ponders a big change in Mount Olive.  That change involves allowing residents to put junk mail, newspapers and magazines into brown paper bags.  Mount Olive SWAC hopes that this added convenience will result in greater participation in the recycling program, resulting in a savings of tax dollars (tune in next year for an update).  Mount Olive SWAC made a concerted effort to publicize this new aspect of the recycling program by sending the word home with school children, as well as in the envelopes holding tax bills.  In addition, Mount Olive SWAC has purchased numerous black trash containers and blue recycling containers for Turkey Brook Park, with the hope that recycling participation will increase there, too.

ReStoring Faith in Reuse Award – Morris Habitat for Humanity
He  [Jesus] said also, ‘How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we describe it?  It is like the mustard-seed, which is smaller than any seed in the ground at its sowing.  But once sown, it springs up and grows taller than any plant, and forms branches so large that the birds can settle in its shade

− The New English Bible, Mark 4:31-32

“Kathleen Hourihan brought the idea of a ReStore to the board in 1994 [the planting of the mustard seed], and a committee was established, but there wasn’t much movement,” says Blair Schleicher, executive director of Morris Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds affordable housing, for which there is a desperate need in Morris County.  Well, eventually the ReStore concept grew, just as the mustard seed did, into a large “plant” at 102 Iron Mountain Road in Mine Hill, New Jersey. The Morris Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which a customer from Princeton refers to as a “gold mine,” celebrated its grand opening on May 12, 2007. 

“We want to build homes, and we want to help people who can afford to pay reasonable prices for various donated items ranging from complete kitchen sets to lighting fixtures,” explains Joanne Arnold, ReStore director. “The environment can’t speak for itself; if it weren’t for ReStore, the perfectly good items in our facility quite possibly would have taken a trip to a landfill,” she adds.

“It’s a win-win situation,” adds Blair, “for we can educate our Re-Store customers about the need for affordable housing as they make their purchases.” Jimmy Carter is smiling.

Responsible is as Responsible Does Award – Matt Myers
“Recycling just has to be common,” opines Matt Myers, the seventh grade life science teacher at Robert R. Lazar Middle School in Montville.  About two years ago when Matt began teaching at Lazar, he inquired about the status of recycling and heard more than once,  “We used to, but the custodians threw the material out.”  Matt then acquired containers from Jasmine Lim, the recycling coordinator, and his environmental club members helped to collect the recyclable paper.  Later, Matt made arrangements with a waste hauler to collect the bottles and cans; the environmental club students’ dues paid for the collection service.  The Montville Board of Education currently pays for that service.  “I want to develop an environmental ethic in my students that they carry home with them,” says Matt.  This teacher who encourages his students to hone their observation skills by observing the life cycle of butterflies, is an excellent role model for the seventh graders.

Whole Foods, Whole Picture Award – Whole Foods Market, Madison, New Jersey
One sign on top of the customer service counter says, “SHIPPING A PACKAGE?  Ask us about FREE bubble wrap, peanuts & boxes.”  A second sign says, “MOVING?  Ask us about FREE bubble wrap, peanuts & boxes.”  Behind the counter there are several brightly colored bins for recyclable paper, bottles and cans.  That’s only the beginning.

In the back of the store there’s a storage area for polystyrene peanuts and bubble wrap, a baler for corrugated cardboard and a container for organic waste that will be composted:  wet, dirty or waxed corrugated; spoiled fruit and vegetables; coffee grounds and filters; food preparation scraps, flowers and plants, and; MORE!  Every day a representative from a local food bank stops by to pick up food whose shelf life has just ended.  Outside there’s a dumpster for garbage, as well as one for bottles and cans.  Across the parking lot at a picnic area, the following is printed on the back of a banner:  “Welcome to your new picnic area from the Green Mission Team” (every Whole Foods Market has a ten-member Green Mission Team that meets on a quarterly basis).

“The green bowl that someone left on this picnic table (ahem!) is a reusable one from our salad bar,” offers Marshall Keener, marketing team leader.  He also mentions that The Green Team bought the picnic tables and waste containers with money earned from the sale of used corrugated.

“And at the checkout, we even give each customer who reuses a bag 10 cents per bag every month of the year except during April when we give 20 cents for each bag,” says Tanya Seeber, associate store team leader and Green Mission Team leader.

Outside the walls, as it were, Whole Foods employees have been involved in such projects as cleaning up a park in Madison and supporting “green” events such as those hosted by the Hudson River Waterkeeper.  Whole Foods, whole picture.

Go Green, Go Army!  Award – U.S. Army Garrison, Picatinny Arsenal
“When we do sell recyclable material, it generates cash…and it’s used to enhance things at the facility here, and locally.  The money doesn’t go back to Washington, D.C.” is a quotation attributed to Nick Stecky, Picatinny Arsenal resource efficiency manager.  This quotation appeared in the August 31, 2006,  Daily Record story headlined “Picatinny workers get around with 4 battery-powered vehicles.”

Matt Manochio, the reporter who wrote the story, refers to the fact that Picatinny recycled 1,500 tons of material during fiscal year 2005, for which it earned about $110,000.

“Yes, the federal government has mandated that we use alternate fuel vehicles,” says Susan Curtis, a contract performance specialist at Picatinny.  Susan goes on to explain that Richard Havlisko, director of public works at Picatinny, saw some Global Electric Motorcars (GEMs) at Disney World, learned that the vehicles don’t use fossil fuels (they’re battery operated and are plugged into electrical outlets when not in use), and recommended purchasing four for use at Picatinny.  The four GEMS that were purchased for $11,000 each are driven by Picatinny employees as they go from one area to another on the 10 square-mile post to inspect buildings or to do turf maintenance.  Money specifically from the sale of scrap metal was used to buy them.

The cars are cute as a bug (Mr. Manochio likened them to “scrunched-up Volkswagen Beetles with flatbeds”), and their being unable to be driven more than 40 miles per hour forces the drivers to “slow down and smell the flowers.”

Susan Curtis attributes the success of Picatinny’s recycling program to the efforts of the late Vicki Berkowitz, who served as recycling coordinator on the post for several years.

In addition to managing an exemplary recycling program, Picatinny has cut energy use and its associated costs by a substantial amount since 1995 as a result of installing a new heating and cooling system that utilizes natural gas rather than oil.

Providing the Foundation for Recycling in New Jersey Award - The Honorable Thomas H. Kean, The Honorable Paul Contillo, and The Honorable Arthur Albohn
My administration had the first mandatory recycling program in the country.  The way we got it going was through publicity, pointing out how important it was.  It helped that it was an era of environmental activism.  People need to understand recycling is mandatory, particularly in a crowded state like New Jersey.

─ Thomas Kean as quoted in “Campus security; recycling redux,” a story involving an exchange of ideas between former Governor Kean and former Governor Brendan T. Byrne, that was published in the April 29, 2007, issue of The Star-Ledger

The year was 1987.  On February 19, the New Jersey Assembly passed the Source Separation and Recycling Act (A-1781), whose sponsor was Assemblyman Arthur Albohn.  On March 5, the New Jersey Senate passed the Source Separation and Recycling Act (S-1478), whose sponsor was Senator Paul Contillo.  On April 20, just two days before Earth Day, Governor Thomas Kean signed the Act into law.

Shortly thereafter, a headline in a brochure for businesses published by the New Jersey Office of Recycling touted the importance of the recently signed law:  “The passage of the 1987 New Jersey Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act established New Jersey as the national leader in recycling incentives.”

Twenty years have passed.  It is now 2007, and recycling is alive and well in the Garden State.  In fact, recycling even helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (a term that wasn’t bandied about in 1987, nor was “climate change,” for that matter).

We owe so much to Messrs. Kean, Contillo and Albohn.  Bravo, bravo, bravo!

Of note…

The fashion show
Once again, Leeza Tea Coco Chanel, MCMUA designer in residence, has created a theme-appropriate “costume” for the mistress of ceremonies to wear:  both the skirt and the gloves feature fabric that is actually sheet music, which was delivered to the Morris County Recycling Consolidation Center in Dover over two years ago to be recycled.  As one can see, some of that sheet music is being reused ─ the recycling will occur later.  The finishing touch to Leeza Tea’s creation is a pair of Christian Louboutin trash mules.  Like all of Mr. Louboutin’s shoes, the trash mules have red soles.

This year’s models range from the bride, the baby, the grammar school, middle school and high school student to the older but wiser (maybe!) set.  In the order of their appearance, they are Michelle Burke; Meg Jones and Tomas Sousa de Azinhaga; Cheryl and Kaylah Birmingham; Marc Fenwrick and Katilyn Smith; Suzanne McCluskey and Frank Soriano; George Clooney, aka Don Orefice, and Glinda Garbahj, and; the Denville Trio ─ Gene Feyl, Joe Lowell and Ellen Sandman.

Joy Organic, a women-owned business located in Whippany, New Jersey, has provided much of the clothing for the 2007 fashion show..  According to its literature, Joy Organic is “committed to Fair Trade and the distribution of environmentally sustainable products such as certified organic cotton and alpaca.”  Please visit their Web site:  www.joyorganic.com.

The mannequin
Miranda McMua, named for the character whom Cynthia Nixon portrayed on an HBO show about life in New York City, as well as for the organization hosting this evening’s dinner, makes another grand statement.

Liz and Robert Sweedy have outfitted Miranda in a stunning getup made from types of scrap metal, some of which the twosome rescued from the curb.  Other metal hails from Weiss-Aug in East Hanover, a provider of precision stamping and insert moldings.  Miranda’s “industrial” look is a reminder that scrap metal deserves to be recycled rather than to be disposed of as garbage.

Robert Sweedy also designed and made Metallica McMua, the mannequin’s pet purebred scrapdoodle, with metal supplied by Frank DiTrolio of Raimo, Inc., in Stanhope, New Jersey.

The table favors and door prizes
Thanks to the following for these donations: 1) A local woodshop whose name shall remain a secret ─ black wooden scoop pyramids that have been jazzed up with recycling symbols; 2) Atlantic Coast Fibers, Inc. – two tickets to the December 2 New Jersey Devils vs. Atlanta hockey game at the new Prudential Center in Newark, with a reserved parking ticket; 3) Marcal Paper Mills, Inc. – two gift boxes, along with store coupons for everyone; 4) Mendham Books – how to cook by Lesley Waters [sic]; 5) Miami Rice Pudding Company, a new store on First Street in Denville – two gift certificates and two tee shirts;  6) Waste Management, Inc. – various tchotchkes, and; 7) Whole Foods Market, Madison – a gift bag.

Others: 1) A limited edition “I’m NOT A Plastic bag” reusable shopping bag designed by Anya Hindmarch of London (these bags were distributed at the Vanity Fair party at the time of the 2007 Academy Awards ceremony); 2) A Mondaine® Homage to Johannes Itten woman’s watch (Johannes Itten, who lived from 1888-1967, was a native of Switzerland who created the 12-hue color circle. The watch case contains recycled post-consumer brass); 3) Matt Freund’s CowPots (available from Gardener’s Supply Co., www.gardeners.com), and; 4) zebra-striped and swan-feathered recycled plastic tote bags (a portion of the proceeds of the sale of these bags by The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company in Montvale benefits the Elizabeth Haub Foundations for Environmental Law and Policy in the USA and Canada).

The musicians
For the 13th consecutive year, Shot of Redemption is providing live music.  To book them for an event, call 845-255-3177. 

The cake
Sixteen large sheet cakes in a row.  Add this year’s cake and that makes 17, the number baked and decorated by MCMUA Chairman Herman (“Hy”) Nadel, aka the Cake Man, for our dinners.  Hy must be a descendant of Marie Antoinette!

The spools
At the 2006 dinner, several guests received bonuses: plastic spools around which copper wire was once wound, courtesy of APW Co. in Rockaway Borough.

The guests agreed to decorate the spools with “found” materials.  The spools would then become part of décor at the celebration of 20 years of mandatory statewide recycling in New Jersey that is occurring this evening.

At a later date, each artist will receive a copy of the book Wake Up and Smell the Planet, the Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day.  By the way, if you don’t already subscribe to the online publication Grist, consider doing so.  It is fabulous!

To all who participated in this labor of love, thank you so much.