Township Of Morris
Environmental Commission
January 2022
Environmental Commission Is Evaluating Energy Aggregation

Energy aggregation became possible with the 1999 deregulation of the New Jersey electric utility industry, which separated electric generation, transmission, and retail distribution into independent businesses.

Energy aggregation allows our Township to pool all resident electric accounts to negotiate with a third-party electricity generator for a more favorable rate than the rates offered by JCP&L.

Residents would get their electricity from another source, but JCP&L would still distribute the electricity to each resident’s house, with no change to the resident’s monthly bill format. JCP&L would still maintain and provide repair to the Township’s local electric grid.

The contract negotiated by the Township could also afford residents an option for a higher content of renewable energy than that supplied by to them by JCP&L, thus reducing the Township’s carbon footprint. The Township may enter into the energy aggregation contract on a stand-alone basis or join with other municipalities for greater scale and bargaining leverage.

There would be no additional cost to participate in the Township’s energy aggregation program, and residents could opt-out from participation at any time.

The Environmental Commission recommended that the Township Committee pursue an energy aggregation program for its residents and provided a presentation to the governing body at its November 2020 meeting.
Legislature Approves "Jersey Native Plants" Program
In the opening days of 2022, Governor Murphy signed legislation launching the Jersey Native Plants Program to promote the sale of native vegetation at local garden centers.

S83 requires the Department of Agriculture to:
  • Encourage and promote the sale of New Jersey native plants at retail garden centers and nurseries;
  • Increase consumer awareness of the important role of native plants in the ecosystem;
  • Provide for the dissemination of information about the variety and availability of New Jersey native plants; and,
  • Create a labeling program to identify native plants as “Jersey natives” similar to the Jersey Fresh and Jersey Grown programs.

Native plants are critical for wildlife, especially insect pollinators. Garden centers and nurseries select plants based on their ornamental value, without regard for the environment. These non-native species escape our yards and invade our woodlands and open spaces. Restoring the balance of nature will take decades. Passage of this law is an important first step.

Selecting locally appropriate native plants for your garden can be a challenge. These resources can help:
New EPA Report Reveals Climate and Environmental Impacts of U.S Food Waste
The EPA just released an important new report, From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste (Part 1), which helps us better understand the impacts of our everyday actions.

Significant resources go into growing, processing, packaging, storing, and distributing food. The report finds that the annual resources attributed to U.S. food loss and waste are equivalent to:
  • An area of agricultural land the size of California and New York combined;
  • The amount of energy and water to supply more than 50 million American homes;
  • Enough fertilizer to grow all the plant-based foods produced each year in the United States for domestic consumption;
  • Greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual CO2 emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants.

The most important action we can take to reduce the environmental impacts of uneaten food is to prevent that food from becoming waste in the first place. Please take a look at the tips for reducing food waste we offered in the November newsletter. Lastly, we always advocate for composting unavoidable food waste. Learn more on our composting resources page.
Meet Us at Grow It Green's Winter Farmers' Market
The Environmental Commission has a booth on alternate weeks at the Grow It Green's Winter Farmers' Market. Meet members of the commission, learn what we are doing, and let us know which environmental issues concern you most.

The market is open on Sundays, from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM, at the Convent Train Station, Convent Rd., Morris Township. It runs until March 27, 2022. Learn more.
Two Tips for Using Less Disposable Plastic
Old habits can be hard to change, but sometimes the payoff is worth the effort.

Let's consider individual plastic containers for food and beverage. A recent study of worldwide litter-type inventories across seven major aquatic environments found that plastic bottles and food containers make up more than 21% of ocean litter.

We can all do our part to reduce plastic pollution, and sacrificing a tiny bit of convenience is a small price to pay. Here are two ways we can reduce our use disposable plastics:
Tip # 1
Reusable water bottles are a great substitute for disposable bottles. Here in Morris Township, we have access to clean tap water, but you can also purchase a 2.5-gallon container of spring water. That's the equivalent of 48 individual 8-ounce bottles. Whether straight from the tap, or a larger container of spring water, it's easy to refill the same bottles everyday.
Tip #2
Individual containers of yogurt with foil lids were developed for snacking on the go, yet many of us eat them at home. Consider purchasing a large 32-ounce container of yogurt instead. Simply portion an individual serving into a bowl, and stir in your favorite flavor using fruit preserves, honey, etc. One large container can replace six individual 5.3-ounce cups.
Photo of the Month: A Late Bloomer
(Photo: Charlie Schachter, Associate Member)
Solidago speciosa (Showy goldenrod) blooming in Morris Township on November 17, 2021.

You can purchase this spectacular wildflower -- and many other New Jersey native perennials -- from the Great Swamp Watershed Association's Spring Plant Sale, which takes place April 1-22, 2022. GSWA is hosting a series of webinars leading up to the sale.

The Township of Morris Environmental Commission is a participating partner in this annual sale. Please look for more information in next month's newsletter.
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