2019 was the Year of Sustainable Neighborhoods! 

The Year of Sustainable Neighborhoods was an effort to connect residents to community initiatives that foster sustainability at the neighborhood scale. Projects for the Year of Sustainable Neighborhoods included:

  • A partnership with the Jersey City Public Schools on a Sustainability STEAM Challenge that asks all public school students grades K-12 to identify ways to make their community more sustainable through science and art,
  • A themed art show at City Hall in May in collaboration with the Office of Cultural Affairs,
  • Educational presentations on the upcoming bag ban and reusable bag give-away events, and
  • Community meetings to gain feedback from residents about sustainability needs and goals in their neighborhoods.

What is Sustainability? According to the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The Jersey City Office of Sustainability focuses mostly on environmental sustainability, but sustainability relates to the economy and social issues as well.

What Does It Mean To Have a Sustainable Neighborhood or Community? According to the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a “sustainable community manages its human, natural, and financial capital to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available for future generations.” Sustainable Community are those that take “a long-term perspective – focusing on anticipating and adapting to change in both the present and future.”

Sustainable STEAM Challenge

The featured initiative of the Year of Sustainable Neighborhoods was a collaboration between the Jersey City Public Schools Curriculum and Instruction Department and the Jersey City Office of Sustainability on a Sustainable STEAM Challenge with Problem-based learning (PBL) that used Science and Visual Arts to address environmental challenges. This citywide initiative was offered to all students Grades K-12.

Student teams in Grades 3-12 were challenged to identify and present solutions to sustainability-related issues they identified in their own neighborhoods. Students pitched their solutions to a panel of city officials and local stakeholders at City Hall on May 3rd, 2019 for an opportunity to be awarded funding to implement their projects.

K-2 classrooms also participated in the challenge by learning about the issues related to single-use plastic bags and designing reusable bags or artwork for reusable bags. More information on the Sustainable STEAM Challenge can be found at https://sustainablestemjc.org

“Sustainable Neighborhoods” Art Show

A group exhibition that explored what makes our neighborhoods sustainable, in partnership with the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs.

If sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, then what does sustainability look like at the local neighborhood level?

Is it a community where the consumption of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases are minimized? Does it mean maintaining clean, accessible parks and tree-filled public spaces? Being protected from flooding? Reducing waste?

How about safe and reliable public transportation options? Or does it mean having small businesses nearby that you can walk to and knowing your neighbors? 2019 is Jersey City’s Year of Sustainable Neighborhoods and we want to see what that means to local artists.

This exhibition was on view: May 1 – 31, 2019

Make Your Neighborhood More Sustainable!

Reduce Waste and Litter

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Remember that the biggest impact you can have on reducing waste and litter is reducing the waste that you produce. That means avoiding single use items and excess packaging, and finding new uses for old things, like reusing jars to store food or donating clothes you don’t need anymore. Find out more about how to reduce waste here.
  • Recycle the things you can’t put to a new use – Every municipality handles recycling differently. Are you recycling right in Jersey City?
  • Compost – When you throw away food waste, it decomposes in a landfill and releases methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas. If you have a yard you can set up a composting bin to turn your food waste into valuable compost. Sign up here for our first-ever backyard composting pilot program. If you don’t have a yard you can still compost your food waste by dropping it off at one of three locations throughout the City. For more general information on composting check out our composting page.
  • BYO Bag – Jersey City’s new ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect June 28, 2019. Plastic bags are difficult to recycle and end up in our waterways, landfills, and neighborhoods. Remember to bring your own reusable bags to the store whenever you shop. Find out more about the ban here.


Manage Stormwater and Flooding

  • Adopt a Catch Basin – You can adopt a catch basin on your street to prevent stormwater pollution and mitigate flooding. Sign up here.
  • Get involved in JC’s flooding and sewage planning – The Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) aims to reduce the impacts of CSO’s on water quality and human health. Attend the public meetings to voice your community’s concerns and goals. Find meeting dates and more information about the LTCP on the MUA website.
  • Plant a tree – The “Adopt A Tree” Application for Spring 2020 will be open soon. Applications are considered on a first come, first serve basis.


Eat Fresh & Local Food

  • Join a Community Garden – Exercise your green thumb and find a garden near you.
  • Shop at a local farmers market – Learn more about Jersey City’s farmers markets here.