By Bethany Zorn
Kellie Ann Keyes, certified Municipal Recycling and Clean Communities coordinator for Roxbury Township, was awarded the 2018 Environmental Excellence Award by Morris County and dubbed the “Roxstar Recycler.”
The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA) honored Keyes among a select group of the county’s most influential recyclers.
“I was surprised and excited to receive this award because all of the hard-work is being noticed,” said Keyes. “This is just the start and we still have a lot more work left to do.”
Keyes, who began directing Roxbury’s recycling program roughly 18 months ago, works to educate and redirect the community on proper recycling practices. Her work extends to members of the community, schools, multi-family complexes and businesses.
“When it comes to rejuvenating the program, it’s all about communication, re-education, follow up, and refocus,” said Keyes. “We are just trying to educate everyone and direct them to do the right thing.”
The inspiration to rejuvenate Roxbury’s municipal recycling program came to Keyes when she first learned how easy it is to take the proper steps to recycle. She explained that opening up a conversation is the first step, followed by directing people where they need to get the job done.
“As a parent in the school I wanted to kind of rejuvenate the program,” said Keyes. “I told myself that I need to figure out why we’re not opening up a conversation and then come up with a program that’s going to work.”
Liz Sweedy, District Recycling coordinator for the MCMUA, recognized Keyes’s efforts stating, “Kellie Ann sets the bar high and works diligently to achieve her goals.”
“Kellie’s enthusiastic approach to rejuvenating the municipal recycling program has kept her busy as a bee,” said Sweedy. “Kellie Ann has worked hard to improve the residential recycling program and she’s met with the property managers and tenants from multifamily complexes to promote proper recycling practices. Kellie Ann has been diligently working with the Roxbury School District and has participated in waste audits, waste assessments and educational meetings with administrators.”
One of Keyes’s most notable projects is her incentive to collect hardcover textbooks from the community schools, which are typically not acceptable in traditional recycling programs, and have them separated from landfill.
After seeing a presentation on hardcover books, Keyes realized that there is a market for textbooks in the world of recycling. She provides a common area to drop off the books at each of the Roxbury schools and arranges for pickup. Keyes’s program helps redistribute the hardcover textbooks to other students throughout the U.S. for reuse.
Keyes plans to continue educating the community on recycling protocols and inspire more community involvement.
“We’re always welcoming phone calls to our office and looking for people to help us out with littering throughout the community,” said Keyes.
Keyes will be hosting a volunteer cleanup event this fall where members of the community can come out and help clean up litter around the town.
For information on Roxbury’s recycling program and how to get involved, visit