Roxbury Recycling Coordinator Wins Award

Credit: Courtesy of NJSUSTAINABILITY by Jaffe Communications Inc.

 By Steve Sears

Township of Roxbury Recycling Coordinator and Clean Communities Coordinator, Kellie Ann Keyes, was recently awarded the New Jersey Clean Communities Municipal Coordinator Award at the inaugural Sustainability in Motion Conference at Caesar’s Atlantic City.

Keyes, a lifelong resident of Roxbury who has served in her roles for seven years, was notified of her accomplishment by JoAnn Gemenden, New Jersey Clean Communities Executive Director. 

Keyes received her award in March. “I’ve been in Roxbury since I was four or five years old,” Keyes says. “I went through the school system here and my kids did, too, so I want to do what is best for the town because I am homegrown. That plays a lot into it.”

Keyes is excited about the award, but most of all enjoys the work she does. She adds, “The Clean Communities aspect is definitely a lot more fun, and definitely where you can see your progress and see what is done in order to stay compliant with the program.”

Keyes and Roxbury have at least two scheduled cleanups a year in the township. “The cleanups are really a challenge,” she says. “They are usually in the fall and in the spring, and people are busy, but I have been able to have a very flexible program. Even though we have two specific dates for a cleanup, if people cannot make it on Saturday, but ask if they can do it on a Wednesday, I tell them, ‘Absolutely.’ That has really helped to improve the numbers.”

The township’s latest cleanup, held on April 21, removed a ton of litter from the community. For Keyes, litter is a frustrating issue. Along Roxbury’s busy roadways and neighborhoods, some garbage comes courtesy of animal activity, but most of it is from people. Keyes says, “Just being careless, throwing things in their garbage cans and not making sure it is secure, people driving around throwing garbage out their windows, so there’s a combination.” Keyes has seen a decrease in plastic bags debris, but fast-food bags, liquor bottles, vehicle tires, and sometimes construction debris are found along roadways and in other areas. “Some of the messaging lately is that we need to take care of our town. I understand a lot of people are coming through our town that might not live here, but the ownership has to be on everyone.”

Roxbury also employs the “Adopt a Spot” program, where businesses or organizations select a spot in the township and ensure there is no litter or debris throughout the year at that location.

When you speak with Keyes, you can tell in her voice she is passionionate about her community, and she swants Roxbury and beyond to remain beautiful. “It has been built up in the past couple of years,” Keyes says, “but we still have a lot of open space, a lot of beautiful properties. I think everyone just needs to be as committed and passionate as I am, and it does not take or need a lot of time.”

 

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