NJ Clean Communities Program - 2019

Introduction and Index

New Jersey Clean Communities is a statewide litter-abatement program created by the passage of the Clean Communities Act.   The program is managed by the (New Jersey) Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Treasury, and Clean Communities Council.  It’s supported by local governments, businesses, community organizations, schools and individuals who work together to keep New Jersey clean.

The Clean Communities Act, passed first in 1986 and later in 2002, establishes a funding mechanism for the program by placing a user-fee on manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors who may produce litter-generating products.  The user-fee, collected by the Department of Treasury and disbursed by the Department of Environment Protection, generates approximately $20 million each year. 

  • $375,000 is disbursed to a nonprofit (currently the Clean Communities Council) for the implementation of statewide education related to litter-abatement.
  • Of the balance, 80 percent goes to 559 municipalities, 10 percent goes to 21 counties, and 10 percent goes to the Division of Parks and Forestry located in the Department of Environmental Protection.

New Jersey Clean Communities at the local level involves a three-fold attack on litter:  cleanup, enforcement and education.

Tackling the Litter Problem 

What is litter?  Litter is solid waste that’s out of place.  It’s the kind of trash found on highways, lakefronts, parks and school grounds. Litter takes many forms:  paper, plastics, metal cans, cigarette butts, glass, food packaging, tires and graffiti. 

Where does it come from? There are seven sources of litter:  pedestrians, motorists, overflowing household garbage, construction sites and uncovered trucks.  Litter is often blown by the wind until it is trapped somewhere, as along a fence. 

Why do people litter? People tend to litter when they think someone else will clean up, when an area is already littered, and when they do not feel a sense of ownership or community pride.

Why is litter a problem? Even small amounts of litter are unsightly, unhealthy and dangerous.  Litter causes blighted landscapes resulting in an increase in taxes and a decrease in tourism and industry; loss of civic pride and morale; and a negative public image.  Litter can also cause disease in people and animals, fires, and accidents, especially on roadways. 

How are we solving the problem? The majority of the Clean Communities Program Fund is allocated to local governments, so it is incumbent upon those agencies to carry out effective litter abatement programs.  Those programs should include the volunteer cleanup of public lands, enforcement of anti-litter laws, and education of children and adults.

Municipalities and counties accepting grant funds should -

  • Designate a Clean Communities coordinator
  • Organize volunteer cleanups of public properties
  • Adopt and enforce anti-littering ordinances
  • Develop a public information and education program
  • Recycle recyclable litter

Municipalities and counties accepting grant funds may-

  • Purchase equipment to be used for picking up litter and debris
  • Purchase litter receptacles and recycling bins
  • Purchase anti-litter signs
  • Purchase labels for storm drains
  • Purchase supplies to remove graffiti
  • Encourage businesses, community organizations and residents to “adopt” public property and keep it clean
  • Organize and publicize cleanup days
  • Sponsor contests in the schools
  • Host awards programs
  • Send press releases or purchase ads in newspapers
  • Participate in workshops, conferences and awards programs offered by the Clean Communities Council

Municipalities and counties accepting grant funds are required by the 2002 Clean Communities Act to submit statistical reports each year to the Clean Communities Council.  The reports may be completed online at www.njclean.org.  Statistical reports are due no later than June 30, with a one-month grace period.  The deadline for the expenditures of funds established by the Department of Environmental Protection is June 30 of the next calendar year. As per State requirements, records regarding Clean Communities grant expenditures should be kept for six years after the expiration of the grant.

Remember to involve businesses, community organizations, schools and residents in programs and projects developed to reduce litter.  Litter is everyone’s responsibility.  It’s a matter of community pride!

Index to this CD

This informational disk is provided free, courtesy of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council.  You are encouraged to copy, borrow, and customize any and all documents on this CD for your Clean Communities Programs.  Your feedback, comments and suggestions are always appreciated and valued.  Please email your information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This CD contains documents and graphics. Some of these documents contain links to other sites which can only be accessed with a connection to the internet.

The index and links to files below are provided in Microsoft Word format.  In some cases, files are only available in Adobe Acrobat (pdf).  You will need the most current, updated version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download, to view the PDF documents on this CD.

Disclaimer: The links and documents found on this CD are provided to help you find tools and information you may need to Make Clean Communities Work for You. These links do not represent an endorsement of the products or any commercial enterprise.

State Guidelines for Spending your Clean Communities Grant

Clean Communities Statute

Clean Communities Council and Activities  trustees 

County Coordinators List 

Clean Communities Coordinator Job Description   Coordinator Certification & Recertification Rules  new!

Annual Report Guidelines

Clean Communities Best Practices CD Index

NEW!  COVID-19 Resources


  1. Overview
  2. Cleanup Resources



  1. Minigrants
  1. Adopt a...
  1. One-day Cleanup Events (mandated for municipalities)
  1. Alternate Labor
  1. Urban Cleanup Teams       
  1. Paid -cleanups  
  1. Schools Slam Dunk the Junk Grant (Morris)          
  2. Graffiti Removal
  3. Involve your businesses and nonprofit organizations
  1.  Cleaning up Marine Debris with Dive Teams



  1. Overview
  2. Assembly Program List    A note to presenters  updated!
  3. Book Suggestions
  4. Trash Talk - Glossary of Common Solid Waste Words    
  5. Curriculum and Activity Guides  
  6. Tips for a Great Presentation &  presentation tips (Bill Kerwood)
  7. Creative ways to change behavior
  8. “One person’s trash is another’s teaching tool” article
  9. Stop Light Litter Education Posters (New Brunswick)
  10. Clean Communities Handbook – (Publisher file) (Fairlawn)


  1. Bingo Cards  Words  
  2. Jeopardy Game
  3. Clean Communities Activity Book updated!
  4. Instructions for Building your own Storm Drain Model (NJDEP)  pre-purchased Environmental Models
  5. Litter Pledge Websites
  6. Green Ball
  7. Prize Wheel sample questions 1  sample questions 2 (Publisher file)   
  8. Button Maker
  9. Display Boards
  10. Creative Clothing (Morris County & Old Bridge)
  11. Coloring Book (Toms River) cover book (pdf)   
  12. Robots and Mascots
  13. “How long does it take to decompose?” game  
  14. Suggested Environmental Projects for Schools AmeriCorps Programs 


  1. Clean Communities Presentation (Morris)
  2. Sam the Tuna Educational Presentation (Ocean)
  3. The Earth Science Circus Television Pilot – Grand Falloons
  4. Adopt-A-Road DVD (Salem)
  5. Adopt-A-Highway Video ( NJDOT)
  6. Clean Bin Project Movie new!
  7. Plastic Paradise – The Movie about Plastics in our Oceans
  8. Battle of the Bag - CBC Documentary


  1. Poster Contests (Alloway)  (Newark)  (Morris County) 
  2. Essay & Drawing Contests (Middlesex County)
  3. Litter Slogan Contest (Old Bridge)
  4. Superhero Poster and Smart Art (Bridgewater)
  5. Bag Decorating (Brick)


  1. Enforcement Overview
  2. Litter Survey Results (2019) new!
  3. Litter Related Articles
  1. State Statute   
  2. Model Ordinance   Bergen County Ordinance   Fair Lawn Municipal Ordinance
  3. Litter Marshals (Fair Lawn) Brochure   Welcome Letter   Warning Letter   Reporting Pad
  4. Illegal Dumping Flyer (word) ( Publisher file) (Morris) Investigating Illegal Dumping (Publisher file) (Morris)  
  5. NJDEP - Stop Dumping NJ
  6. Cameras to combat illegal dumping - FLASHCAM Morris County’s Program 
  7. Ban ordinances in New Jersey Plastic Bags     Balloons     Smoking  new!


  1. Keep it Covered Program (Salem) 
  2. Celebrity Reader
  3. Trash Hunt (Cumberland)
  4. Fishing Line Receptacles (State of NJ/BoatUS)
  5. Green Events
  6. Carry In, Carry Out Program (Sandy Hook)


  1. Cigarette Butt Campaign


  1. Marine Debris


  1. Mosquito Control Bergen Bites Back 
  2. Green tip of the week (Sayreville)
  3. Plastic
  4. Plogging new!

associated Programs

  1. Watershed Program 
  2. Stormwater Management 



  1. Operation Clean Sweep for the Plastics Industry  
  2. Don’t Mess with Texas    
  3. Cooperative Purchasing 



Have Money to Spend? Ways to Spend your Clean Communities Money 

What Clean Communities Funding Should Not Buy  

ANSI Vest Recommendations

Hot Picks   

DOT Litter Complaint Form 

Guidelines for Filing your Statistical Reports 



  1. File 1 Graphics (Clip Art)  Old Clip Art    
  2. Clean Communities Logo jpeg  eps(vector)  jpeg with no writing   
  3. Clean Builders Logo eps(vector)   jpeg 
  4. Adopt a Beach Logo jpeg
  5. Adopt a Highway Logo jpeg
  6. Timetable for decomposition of litter jpeg 
  7. Litter Decomposition Graphic jpeg (courtesy of Union County’s Kelly Coyle) 
  8. 2012 Beach Litter Graphic (Clean Ocean Action)
  9. 10 Things You Can Do for Trash Free Seas (Ocean Conservancy)
  10. Top 10 Items Found During Cleanups (Burlington)
  11. NJDEP infographics – including one on litter NJDEP waterways infographic pdf  jpg   updated!