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Welcome to Clean Water on the Move, your monthly update from Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund in New Jersey! Take a look at what our amazing staff has been up to and what is coming in the month ahead. Thanks for your ongoing support for our work towards a healthy environment for all.

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Empowering Environmental Justice Advocates: Join Us for the Next DEP Seminar! 

We are excited to let you know about the upcoming installment of "Navigating the DEP: A Series of Environmental Seminars for Overburdened Communities." Designed with Environmental Justice advocates from across New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has partnered with the Environmental Justice Advisory Council's Environmental Education Committee to equip participants with essential knowledge and tools to address environmental challenges effectively. 

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 20th, as we gather from 10 AM to 2:30 PM, either in person at Mastery High School of Camden 800 Erie St, Camden, NJ 08102 or virtually via Zoom.

Register for the free seminar here! 

Whether you're navigating complex regulatory frameworks, permit processes, funding opportunities or seeking avenues for community empowerment, this event promises to be a valuable resource for advocates passionate about environmental justice. 

Image of Clean Water Action staff at a lobby day in trenton, NJ


Taking Action in Trenton 

March has been a very busy month in the New Jersey Legislature. Thanks to the amazing work of Clean Water Action Staff, EmpowerNJ members and volunteers, the Clean Energy Standard (S237/A1480) was released from NJ Senate Environment Committee containing bill language developed by our Environmental Justice allies. Two other major bills voted out of this Committee the same day include the Green Amendment (SCR43/ACR119) and electricity grid modernization (S258).   

Elsewhere, overwhelming public outcry resulted in the anti-OPRA bill (A4045/S2930) being pulled at the last minute from a hearing in Assembly Appropriations Committee, marking a temporary win for good government and ensuring further usage of the key Open Records Act. 

While the fight in the legislature for good and against bad bills is everlasting, these wins serve as reminders as to why this crucial legislative work in Trenton must continue. You can count on us to be one of the keenest environmental watchdogs at the State House. 

Image of Clean Water Action staff and Red Bank council passing a Skip the Stuff ordinance in Red Bank, NJ

Skip the Stuff Red Bank

On March 14th, Red Bank Borough Council voted unanimously to Skip the Stuff! Ordinance 2024-08 will have restaurants only providing cutlery and condiments upon request. By doing this, Red Bank will save restaurants money, prevent clutter for customers and reduce toxic waste in the environment! 

It is estimated that 40 billion individual single-use plastic utensils are discarded every day in the United States. Too often people get handfuls of ‘stuff’ with their takeout orders that is simply tossed in the garbage or shoved in a junk drawer only to eventually be tossed away unused.  

The World Economic Forum estimated that in 2019 the production and incineration of plastic was equivalent to 189 coal-fired power plants and that number will more than triple over the next 30 years unless we do something to change our ways. 

Additionally, plastic utensils and the plastic packaging used for condiments are either too small or the wrong type of material to be recycled. Like plastics bags, these small items can clog sewer systems and jam up equipment. Do not be fooled by “biodegradable” and “compostable” labels as too often it is just a sales gimmick created by plastic manufacturers. These higher priced items may still be full of microplastics. 

Red Bank is a Plastics Prevention leader by passing Skip the Stuff. There are dozens of other towns in the process of passing a similar ordinance. Garwood did the same on March 21st. Every time a town passes an ordinance it helps send a message to Trenton and moves us closer to passing a state law. Skip the Stuff, which is part of Clean Water Action & Clean Water Fund's ReThink Disposable program, saves communities and businesses money and protects our health from toxic pollution in the air, land and sea. For more information about the campaign and how to help your town Skip the Stuff, visit our website or contact Marta Young.