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Recycling's a Roller Coaster

The 22nd Annual Morris County Recycling Awards Dinner
Friday, November 6, 2009
Hanover Manor,East Hanover, NJ 07936

Mistress of Ceremonies Penny Jones
Morris County Recycling Education Specialist

Welcome
William Hudzik, Chairman, Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority

Fashion Show and Commentary
Liz Sweedy, Morris County Recycling Specialist

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

And the awards go to…

Brewer’s A Doer! Award – Adam W. Brewer - Seen through the eyes of the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA), Adam is a Cub Scout, for he’s a young adult who is the relatively new Montville recycling coordinator. Thus far, his record is stellar; no doubt he’ll be an Eagle Scout very soon! He is a Certified Recycling Professional (CRP), having completed the New Jersey Recycling Certification Series. He regularly attends the quarterly meetings for Morris County municipal recycling coordinators, where he often asks probing questions. On the occasion when Adam is notified that a hauler has deposited a load of garbage from Montville containing mandated recyclables at the transfer station, he follows up with proper enforcement procedures. He’s diligently working with the schools to ensure that they’re recycling properly. Adam has heightened the visibility of public outdoor events in Montville by borrowing and using ClearStream trash and recycling containers from the MCMUA. He’s very motivated, enthusiastic and has a great sense of humor.


Philanthropy Is a Family Affair Award – Lindsey Bissinger, Scott Bissinger, Josh Bissinger - Morris Township residents Lindsey, Scott and Josh have been involved for some time in reuse and recycling projects that have benefited several health-related causes. In 2000, Josh (who’s currently a junior at Cornell University where he’s created his own major in sustainable development and “green” building), collected gently used sports equipment, art supplies, computers and board games and donated them to Happiness is Camping, a camp in Blairstown for children with cancer. Later, the trio enlisted employees at Morristown Memorial and Overlook hospitals, folks at their schools and members of local organizations to save Snapple bottle caps. After collecting more than 2,000 caps, the trio redeemed them for a Foosball table that now resides at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown. Also since 2002, the Bissingers have collected inkjet and laser printer cartridges from local businesses and schools and then have sent them to Recycle Free. The threesome donated the money from Recycle Free to IFOPA, a nonprofit support organization for families affected by the rare genetic condition Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), which causes muscles and other connective tissue to turn into bone, eventually causing immobility as FOP fuses joints. In 2008, the Bissingers began sending cartridges to the Funding Factory. In total, they’ve collected nearly 8,000 cartridges and in doing so, have kept nearly 10,000 pounds out of the solid waste stream.

Caring About the Community – Nayna Shah - It’s no coincidence that Nayna Shah hails from Morris Plains, “The Community of Caring.” During the 2007-2008 school year when she was a seventh-grader at Borough School, Nayna conducted a research project about compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). After gathering data, Nayna educated the community about the following: the advantages of replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs; the importance of properly cleaning up broken CFLS, for they contain mercury; and, the importance of recycling used CFLS (they’re acceptable from Morris Plains residents at Reimer Recycling Center). As a result of executing this project, Nayna received the Silver Satori from the Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC). Additionally, Nayna has been appointed a member of the Morris Plains Recycling Committee. She has also expressed great interest in the well-being of planet Earth by touring some MCMUA facilities such as the Mount Olive Transfer Station, and Wyndham Worldwide Corporate Headquarters in Parsippany, a “green” building.

It’s “Owed” to the Rockaway River ─ Rockaway River Watershed Cabinet - Something had to be done about the fact that runoff carried silt and other contaminants to the Rockaway River from the Morris County Division of Roads, Bridges and Shade Tree (the Division) operations facility near the river. And so it was. The Rockaway River Watershed Cabinet complemented efforts of the Division by designing and constructing a stormwater treatment wetland Best Management Practices along the river, which has resulted in capturing and treating runoff from the mostly impervious site prior to its being discharged into the river.
Herewith an ode-of-sorts that likens the movement of the water through the wetland to a riveting roller coaster ride:

Imagine riders on a roller coaster as debris and sediment being carried by stormwater runoff (the coaster) that is racing over an impervious surface and into a storm drain’s system of underground pipes (the coaster’s tracks).

The coaster starts its run down the tracks only to slow as it reaches a low point of rider enthusiasm (a scour hole where most debris and sediment is captured). At this point, the coaster starts a climb (represented by the scour hole filling with stormwater) until it reaches the upper limit of the ride and begins its first and fastest drop (stormwater gushing out of the scour hole at a high velocity).

After the first drop, the coaster is directed to a new set of tracks (a vegetated swale) where it is slowed by a check dam and begins again a climb to the second highest point, which causes a feeling of light-headedness among the riders (capturing of debris and sediment by the swale). The coaster reaches the top and begins its second drop (the water level rises in the swale and overflows the dam) taking riders (any remaining sediment) to the next check dam.

This process is repeated until the coaster reaches its end-of-ride point (the terminal dam) where riders exit the ride and the coaster goes back to its starting point for the next group of riders (representing cleaned waters entering the Rockaway River and completing the hydrological water cycle).

The Academy Award for Recycling – Deborah D’Urso - “She’s a wonderful principal,” is how Liz Sweedy, MCMUA recycling specialist, described Deborah D’Urso, who has served as principal of Academy Street School in Dover for the past three years. “The recycling program at the school has been a work in progress, but now it’s the way it should be, and recycling is second nature,” Deborah reflected. “If I see paper in a wastebasket, I bend down, remove it and put it into a recycling bin,” she added. Indeed, when the nearly 500 children in the K-5 school were first being trained to pour any remaining liquid out of their drink containers before disposing of them in the recycling bin or the trash can, the procedure seemed very difficult. However, Mrs. D’Urso said once everyone became accustomed to the new process, things ran very smoothly. She oversees a variety of “green” activities in the school: Reusable blue plastic trays are used for lunch; there are no individual condiment containers in the cafeteria; the school has moved from using banana boxes from a supermarket as recycling containers, to containers designed specifically for holding recyclables; and, every afternoon an announcement is made on the public address system to notify classroom recycling monitors that it’s time to transport recyclable paper from the classrooms to large yellow barrels located in central areas. “This has been so good for the school, and our garbage has been significantly reduced,” said Deborah, who enjoys top billing in the cast of characters at Academy Street School.

Trashless Thursdays Are Tops! Award ─ Torey J. Sabatini School - Last year, Karen Tom and Michelle Flanagan, whose children attend Torey J. Sabatini School (grades K-6) in Madison, launched the “Green” Committee. “We flailed for a while but then really got going with the Trashless Thursdays project,” remarked Karen. First, committee members gave brief educational presentations about reducing, reusing and recycling. Then the committee held a poster contest, after which posters were displayed throughout the school. The Trashless Thursdays project incorporated the following: reusable lunch bags, beverage containers and utensils, and cloth napkins. All of the grades competed against each other to see which one produced the least amount of trash at lunchtime. For three weeks in a row, the fifth graders won the competition. At that point, the “Green” Committee decided to set a school-wide goal of filling only one trash can each Thursday. That goal has been achieved at least once, and trash has been limited to two cans on other Thursdays. Also, a mural with a sliding graph on a trash can adorns one wall in the school, to illustrate the students’ weekly progress. “The kids are really great,” Karen affirmed. “This year we’ll revamp Trashless Thursdays, and work on some related projects.”

Green Apples for These Teachers Award ─ Hanover Township Girl Scout Cadette Troop 1919 - Earlier this year in order to earn their Silver Award, these nine eighth graders completed a “green” service project in which teaching played a key role: Alexa Cozzarelli, Jennifer Sanislo, Elexa Bocchino, Erin Keating, Kim Kleiven, Kelsey Rynearson, Courtney Simon, and Samantha Chimento. The young women sewed 225 reusable green grocery bags to distribute to every fourth grader in Hanover Township. The scouts visited the fourth graders to distribute the bags, along with a nine-point fact sheet on how reusing grocery bags saves money and helps the environment. The scouts also educated the fourth graders about the Hanover Township recycling program. Of note: These gals have been together in scouting since they were in kindergarten, and now all of them are freshmen at Whippany Park High School.

Presentation of the Maraziti, Falcon & Healey Environment Excellence Scholarship to Emily Wills - “Emily Wills is a strong student who is genuinely interested in learning and has a breadth of scientific experiences that demonstrate her passion for caring about the world around her,” wrote Jill Magidson, director of the Science Academy at Morristown High School. Emily has participated in a “Teach at the Beach” program at Sandy Hook, N.J., a job-shadowing experience at Morristown Memorial Hospital, and an on-going Climate Change Research Summit at Rutgers University. This past summer, Emily volunteered at Schiff Nature Preserve. And she recycles at home in “The Community of Caring!” “I really enjoyed working on a taxonomical study at Schiff this past summer,” said Emily, who hopes to major in environmental science in college.

The “Friar Truck” Award ─ Cedar Crest retirement community, Pequannock Township - According to www.geekwise.com, Friar Tuck was “a main member of Robin Hood’s legendary band of outlaws who is often represented as a nature-loving man who couldn’t survive the rigors and rules of life in a monastery.” Similarly, a group of folks at Cedar Crest weren’t pleased with the fact that diesel fuel “ruled” in its shuttle buses. Led by retired chemical engineer Bill Sperry, the “Friar Truck” team purchased and redesigned a processor that converts used cooking oil from five Cedar Crest dining venues into biodiesel fuel for three of the 25 on-campus vehicles. Those team members who worked diligently on the project for six months are Rich Ferguson, project manager; Mike Kostyszyn, senior mechanic; Jules Cirelli, facility manager; and, Cathy Guttman, executive director. “Bill Sperry’s background in chemistry has been invaluable,” said Cathy Guttman, Cedar Crest executive director. “Bill surely taught us patience,” Jules Cirelli opined. Ms. Guttman reported that Erickson Retirement Communities, the parent company, is so pleased with the success of the project that it has been accepted as a prototype. “We saved capital and reduced our carbon footprint,” offered Rich Ferguson. Cedar Crest is also home to a single-stream recycling program for its paper, bottles and cans.

Soaring Higher With Recycling Award – GE-Aviation Systems, LLC - Neil Wendt, environmental health and safety manager at the Hanover Township GE-Aviation, LLC facility, describes his workplace as “an aerospace manufacturer of electro-mechanical actuation devices.” The facility designs, manufactures and supplies electro-mechanical units to commercial aircraft manufacturers and military vendors. Robin Dente, assistant to the Hanover Township business administrator, calls GE Aviation a “trendsetting recycler because of the commitment to keeping its fingers on the pulse of solid waste disposal efforts to reduce the amount of material they send to the landfill and to increase their recycling rate.” In the nomination narrative, Robin cited the “impressive strides in reducing solid waste and increasing recycling between 2007 and 2008”:

  • 52% increase in corrugated cardboard recycling.
  • 133% increase in mixed office paper and newspaper recycling.
  • 82% increase in steel and aluminum scrap metal recycling.
  • An overall increase in recycling from 46% to 63%.
  • An overall reduction in trash from 54% to 37%.

Robin also gives kudos to Walter Harrell, Jr., environmental health and safety coordinator, for providing very thorough annual tonnage reports. “We want to be a good corporate citizen,” said Ira Sherman, site operational leader.

Building for a “Greener” Tomorrow Award – Homeless Solutions, Inc. - The mission of Homeless Solutions, Inc. (HIS), a private, nonprofit organization, is to offer shelter, supportive services, and affordable housing to homeless and low-income people. HIS is one of the first nonprofit developers in New Jersey to embrace “green” building techniques. A recent example is the Abbett Avenue apartment complex in Morristown, which opened in October 2008. Dan McGuire, AICP, director of Headquarters Development Division, reported that HIS “diverted a considerable amount of material from the waste stream” by recycling concrete and masonry from the demolition of structures formerly on the site, by reusing some of the wood, and by recycling other wood and corrugated cardboard.” Pam Palumbo, HIS director of development, listed the significant, environmentally sustainable features at the Abbett Avenue apartments:

  • Energy Star approved the design, with no recommended upgrades to
    improve the score in their rating system.
  • Site selection: within Morristown’s Transit Village radius, walk to bus,
    train and amenities.
  • Building materials: bamboo floors, low-flow toilets, compact fluorescent
    lighting.
  • HVAC and appliances: all Energy Star-approved.
  • Operational impacts: dedicated space for storage of recyclables in
    kitchens, and space allotted in dumpster areas.
  • Healthy building features: low or no-VOC paints, caulks, flooring and
    sealed cabinets.

In addition, several projects are in the pre-development stage, and all of these projects will be “green.”.

Seven “Stars” Who Have Recently Retired From or Moved On From Municipal Recycling

“And the stars are shining bright.” ─ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Indian Serenade

Reflections from the seven:

  • Barbara Bate, Chatham Borough ─ “Attending the quarterly meetings for recycling and Clean Communities coordinators and carrying ideas back to Chatham Borough was important. Touring MCMUA facilities with Liz Sweedy and seeing where our recyclables go, was very educational.”
     
  • Joe Giordano, Morris Township ─ “After the state of New Jersey mandated recycling in 1987, the Morris Township governing body enthusiastically supported the task of developing a comprehensive and efficient method to mobilize and staff a successful program. Through the years, it has become a model program.”
     
  • Penny Newell, Mendham Township ─ “I have a fond memory of the really old days when I spent a day working on the truck with the crew picking up recyclables. This was way back in the beginning when only glass (sorted by color), aluminum cans and newspapers were collected--an easy job! Other times were more trying, especially when we had to pick up “missed” (a.k.a., ‛I didn’t put my recyclables out on time’) collections.”
     
  • Jasmine Lim, first in Parsippany, then in Montville ─ “Back in the 80’s, in designing a sticker to be applied to recycling containers, I came up with the idea of putting the Parsippany tree inside the recycling logo with “Pride in Parsippany” underneath. I found a large recycling symbol, put the Parsippany tree symbol decal in the middle and hand wrote (scribbled) “Pride in Parsippany.” Our printer was an 80-year-old man. He printed 10,000 decals exactly as I had provided.” Fast forward to Montville: “I clearly remember being at a quarterly recycling coordinators meeting when Greg Schneider (Parsippany) walked in late, apologized and then in a booming voice meant to intimidate (only those who didn’t know him), ‛Don’t talk to me! I’ve had a bad day!’ This, at 9:30 a.m.! Now that I’m here in Parsippany interacting with Greg on a regular basis, I understand how he could be completely stressed so early in the morning.”
     
  • Hal Bermingham, Morris Plains ─ “One morning at Reimer Recycling Center after I finished explaining the recycling rules to S.L.A.P. (Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program) workers, the officer in charge asked if someone had told me to explain these rules. My response: ‛This is standard procedure here.’ On a related note, I continue to believe recycling is a duty for all of us, and it’s worth doing well!”
     
  • Joe Lowell, Denville ─ “One of my fondest memories is of the day we made a movie about a family dinner. All of the actors were closely related to Denville. In attendance at this family dinner were grandparents who lived out of state; they were totally unfamiliar with recycling. Their two grandsons who lived in Denville had to continually prevail upon them to stop putting recyclables into the garbage and instead to put them into the recycling bin. The boys conveyed lots of information about the Denville recycling program throughout the dinner. We laughed so much, though, that it took nearly an entire Sunday to make the movie.”
     
  • Gino Recksiek, Jefferson ─ “The best thing was learning about recycling, then teaching members of the public who visited and socialized at Jefferson’s recycling center, which once was ‛an out-of-control dump.’ I also thoroughly enjoyed working with Rocky Metzger [the MCMUA presented the Eye of the Tiger Award to Rocky at the 2004 dinner]. It was so gratifying to watch him carry out his responsibilities: removing recyclables from vehicles, flattening corrugated cardboard cartons, and showing residents how to flatten cartons if they hadn’t already.”
     

Potpourri

The fashion show - As in the past, a band of high fashion models will saunter down the catwalk to show off organic or recycled apparel and accessories, along with some other “treasures.” Joy Organic, a cause-driven, women-owned local business (Hanover Twp.) has supplied the organic apparel. The company manufactures certified organic cotton apparel and bedding in a certified fair trade factory. Just one of the benefits of fair trade cotton is that it is grown without the use of harmful pesticides.

designer in residence, has created a whimsical dress for the mistress of ceremonies, who loves to read the comic strips. Numerous Rose is Rose Once again, Leeza Tea Coco Chanel, MCMUA comic strips with an abundance of blue and lavender, are combined with swaths of ribbon to give the dress beaucoup de pizzazz.

The mannequin - Miranda McMua, named in part for the character whom Cynthia Nixon portrayed on a HBO show about life in New York City, is a “frequent flyer” at awards dinners. Thanks to the efforts of Leeza Tea and in keeping with the dinner theme, Miranda is an image of gossamery pink cotton candy. The ruffles are made from ribbon rescued from Carson & Gebel Ribbon Co. in Rockaway. The use of discarded fiberglass insulation (very itchy, but Miranda’s such a good sport!) reinforces the ethereal appearance of the sugary confection that’s usually available at amusement parks and carnivals.

Special guests

  • The Grand Falloons. Just what is a falloon, anyway? Stay tuned. You’ll love meeting Stephen Ringold, a.k.a. Meatloaf, and Kim Winslow, a.k.a. Professor Winklebottom, two fabulous performers from an ensemble called The Grand Falloons.
  • An eco-friendly “front desk” suit made of Eco Gir™ fabric by Bagir (think plastic water bottles) provided by Wyndham Worldwide Corporate Headquarters in Parsippany.
     

The Roller Coaster - In 2000, the MCMUA presented the Caring for Planet Earth Award to Dennis B. O’Brien School, a K-5 school in the Rockaway Township Public School District. This year a group of six students, under the guidance of JoAnn Basista, gifted and talented teacher, and Daryl Behm, art teacher, have given a gift to the MCMUA: the roller coaster made from “found” materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, paper tubes, polystyrene packing material, and newspapers. In addition, the school has contributed toward the dinner décor by loaning us a large ball made of plastic bags. Hmm….

The table favors - The next time you shop for refrigerated or frozen products, you’ll be going “green” with your “Shop Cool, It’s In the Bag” thermal tote. Enjoy!

The musicians - For the 15th consecutive year, Shot of Redemption is providing live music. To book them for an event, call 845-255-3177.

The cake - Between 1991 and 2008, MCMUA member Herman (“Hy”) Nadel baked and decorated sheet cakes that replicated the dinner invitations. Circumstances beyond his control prevented Hy from providing the cake this year, so a local bakery stepped in to emulate him and the wonderful works of art he produced.

A list of some things and ways to find them

  • Clutch bag made from bubble wrap: www.greenlifesavor.com.
  • Bowl made from candy and gum wrappers: www.lotusjayne.com.
  • Organic cotton apparel and bedding (the baby bedding gets rave reviews): www.joyorganic.com.
  • Backpack and pencil case made from juice pouches: www.terracycle.net.
  • Koko™ insulated lunch bag and metal thermos (no recycled content as far as we can tell, but very fashionable and reusable): www.cosmoda.com.
  • Suncatchers, ornaments and more made from recycled glass: www.auroraglass.org.
  • Wine bottle bags made of jute: www.thegreenaura.com.
  • Bar soap made with beer: www.thebeersoapco.com.
  • Michael Recycle and Michael Recycle Meets Litterbug Doug, two children’s books written by Ellie Bethel and illustrated by Alexandra Colombo: at your local independent bookstores; on the shelves of all municipal public libraries in Morris County, as well as in the children’s section at the Morris County Library; on the shelves of libraries in all Morris County schools (grades K-4).
  • Bottlemania, How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It by Elizabeth Royte: at bookstores and in libraries. Read it, toss all those empty plastic water bottles you have into the recycling bin, refrain from buying bottled water, and go back to imbibing MCMUA water.
  • One Big Necessity, the Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George: at bookstores and in libraries. This is a must-read for all dung beetle aficionados.
  • Wake Up and Smell the Planet, the Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day, edited by Brangien Davis with Katharine Wroth: Yes, at bookstores or the library, also available from www.grist.org. If you’re unfamiliar with the online magazine Grist, “a beacon in the smog,” you must check it out.