Taking Out The Trash


By: Kyle Booth

Each American on average produces 4.38 pounds of trash each day. The City of New Brunswick has 55,831 residents. That means that New Brunswick produces almost a quarter of a million pounds of trash each day. A key issue with waste production is litter.

To solve the litter issue in the city, New Brunswick has launched the Litter Reduction Initiative. A major component in this initiative is the Clean City Block Captain Program.

“The program is designed to educate people on the importance of keeping our community clean,” said Donna Caputo, clean communities and recycling coordinator for the City of New Brunswick.

Any New Brunswick resident can register to be a block captain. New captains receive educational material on how to reduce and deal with waste, gloves, and bags. The captains are in charge of keeping their streets clean. They are encouraged to conduct mini-cleanups at their convenience, talk with their neighbors and hopefully get them involved. Once a captain fills their bags they call The City Public Works Department and schedule a pickup.

“The Program is a great way to get litter off the street and to raise awareness,” said Caputo. She said the program is designed to change the behavior and culture of New Brunswick one block at a time.

Caputo went on to tell of all the problems that litter can cause. “It is an aesthetic as well as environmental issue. The majority of litter will wind up in the Raritan River. A cleaner city is a safer city and a better place to live.”

The program has been around for five years now. In 2010, Caputo met with concerned residents and helped think of the Clean City Block Captain idea as a way to help motivate citizens to keep the city clean.

New Brunswick accepts new Clean City Block Captains each year. Last year there were about 25 captains. Their goal would be to get a captain on every single block.  The program meets two times a year.

Residents interested in becoming Clean City block captains can attend the next meeting on March 23 at 7p.m. in the New Brunswick Library. For more information call the clean communities office at 732-745-5245.