Articles

Read our monthly columns from The Westfield Leader, where we explore different topics about local sustainability events and green living advice. 

September 2022

Keeping pace with electric vehicles


46% of New Jersey’s net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions comes from the transportation sector, the state’s largest source of GHG emissions. Electric vehicle (EV) acceptance creates the potential to generate many environmental and economic benefits, including reduced emissions and less air pollution.

This year will mark a milestone for the sale of EVs. According to Car and Driver, EV registrations in the U.S. shot up 60 percent in the first quarter of 2022. Tesla is on pace to sell over one million EVs this year, the first auto manufacturer that will do so. Five years ago, it was a novelty to see a Tesla; now, they’re a regular sight around town, along with many other EV models, including pickup trucks and sports cars..............


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August 2022

The Importance of Clean Storm Drains for our Environment


As we experience more severe storms, keeping our storm drains clear of debris and pollution is more important than ever for both us and our local watershed.

Storm drains provide a useful service by functioning as a drainage system. When it rains, they direct excess water away to help keep our yards, roads, and other areas from flooding. However, natural debris, such as leaves, branches, twigs, grass clippings, sand, sediment, as well as trash and pet waste, can get trapped on top of or enter storm drains.

For much of Westfield, our storm drains empty into the Rahway River Watershed, which encompasses 83 square miles, including parts of three New Jersey counties........


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July 2022

We Can All Reduce Single-Use Plastics        

 

Have you heard of Plastic Free July? Originated by the Plastic Free Foundation, Plastic Free July is “a global movement that empowers millions of people to choose a future with cleaner communities and oceans through refusing single-use plastics.”

The State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection took steps towards single-use plastics reduction in 2020 through the passing of the “Get Past Plastic Law," which enacted a ban on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam food containers, and required single-use plastic straws to be give only upon request from all New Jersey food service businesses. All parts of this law have been in effect since May 4, 2022. 

Plastic Free July is a great opportunity to continue this mission by finding other single-use.......

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June 2022

To Spray or Not to Spray for Mosquitoes?

A More Environmentally-Friendly Approach to Mosquito Control


The buzz, the bite, the itch – it would be so nice to enjoy our yards without the nuisance of mosquitoes!

The U.S. has around 200 mosquito species, and all require water to complete their life cycles. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, where the larvae hatch and feed until they emerge as adults. Only female mosquitoes bite mammals for the necessary nutrients to produce eggs.

Try the following tips to help combat these pesky critters, while limiting harm to other beneficial bugs and wildlife.

Tip, toss, and cover

Mosquitoes must have a water source to lay their eggs: a bird bath, flowerpot saucer or forgotten bucket that fill.......

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May 2022

Rain gardens: The benefits of a multi-functional gardens

 

Did you know rainwater can collect pollutants from surfaces, like your downspouts, driveway, and lawn, and carry them into local streams and rivers?

 A rain garden is a natural solution that helps mitigate pollution and pooling of water by providing specific ecological benefits: 

  • Detention: safely collects and temporarily holds stormwater runoff to delay the peak discharge
  • Filtration: filters and consumes pollutants protecting our groundwater
  • Infiltration: allows rain to seep into the ground rather than flow to the storm drain
  • Habitat: supports the local pollinators and other wildlife

How does it do all that? 

A rain garden is a shallow 6-8” deep basin planted with native plants that are adapted to our locale and specific weather patterns. It captures and detains rainwa....... 

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April 2022

Native Plants: Why (and How) to Use Them

 

By choosing to use native plants in your yard, you will play a critical role in restoring the natural ecology of the area. Native plants provide food and habitat to local insects and birds and help counter the loss of biodiversity occurring at an alarming rate over the past decade. 

What are native plants, and why are they so important?

Native plants have adapted over thousands of years to growing in a particular region and have co-evolved to form specialized relationships with native wildlife. These plants provide food for plant-eating insects, which in turn become food for native predatory insects, birds, and mammals. 

Caterpillars, for example, play a critical role in this system. They are a very nutritious food source -- 95% of birds feed their young with caterpillars due to their high protein and nutrient levels. Caterpillars are host plant specialists....... 

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March 2022

One resident’s trash, another’s treasure - declutter and save at Westfield’s Free Market

 

The Westfield Green Team is organizing its fourth Free Market event on April 30, 2022 from 8am - 2:30pm. The goal of the Free Market event is to keep used but perfectly good items out of landfills and incinerators by promoting reuse. Westfield residents can donate their unwanted, gently-used items or browse donated items to take home for free, even if they didn’t donate. The event is like a giant yard sale, except everything is free. At last year’s event, the Green Team collected approximately four tons of household goods. Anything that is not taken will be collected by GreenDrop, an organization that accepts donations to assist the American Red Cross and other charitable programs, for distribution to deserving families or for recycling.

Why are we so passionate about this event?

The United States dumps hundreds of millions of tons of trash into landfills each year, and the volume of our waste continues to increase. Landfills are reaching maximum capacity, creating.......

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February 2022

Live Greener in 2022 By Recycling At The Conservation Center!

 

Welcome to the newly established Westfield Green Corner, where you'll find information on local sustainability and climate news, green tips and tricks to use in your everyday life, as well as eco-friendly opportunities and events to enjoy in our town. We wanted to start off this column with making sure you were aware of all of the recycling opportunities available at the Conservation Center (1300 Lamberts Mill Road) for Westfield residents beyond what you can recycle curbside every other week.

Recycling can help us all live more sustainably, and we are lucky to live in a town that offers a wide variety of recycling programs. In fact, the Westfield Conservation Center has been named "the best run Conservation Center in the county with the most recycling opportunities (both free and paid) for residents." by JoAnn Gemenden.......

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