Establishment of the Environmental Commission

There is hereby established an Environmental Commission for the protection, development and use of natural resources, with the exception of those duties relating to water resources, which are presently under the jurisdiction of the Board of Health.  The Commission shall be know as the Environmental Commission of the Township of Sparta.  (1978 Code § 2-22.1)

Duties of the Environmental Commission


  • The duties of the Environmental Commission are to conduct research into the use and possible use of the open land areas of the Township.
  • To study and make recommendations concerning open space preservation, water resources management, air pollution control, solid waste management, noise control, soil and landscape protection, environmental appearance, marine resources and protection of flora fauna.
  •  Coordinate the activities of unofficial bodies organized for similar purposes.
  • To advertise, prepare, print and distribute books, maps, charts, plans and pamphlets, which in its judgment it deems necessary for its purpose, within the limits of funds appropriated to the Commission.
  • To keep an index of all open areas, publicly and privately owned, including open marsh lands, and to obtain information on the proper use of such area.
  • To recommend to the Planning Board plans and programs for development and use of such areas for inclusion in master plan of the Township.
  • To serve as a liaison between local conservation needs and regional State and Federal agencies ministering to those needs as authorized by the Township Council.
  •  To do such other acts and things as are reasonably related to and designed to carry out the purpose and objectives of the Commission. 

            (1978 Code § 2-22.5)

The Commission meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.  The public is welcome to attend.

2018 Environmental Commission Members
Ted Gall, Member
Laura Newgard, Member
Joseph Walsh, Member
Joshua Hertzberg, Council Liaison
Janice Stevens, Secretary
Neil Sauerwein, Alternate - 2 Year
Jason Brown, Alternate - 2 Year


Contact Information: or call
(973) 726-3614 and leave a message with the Secretary

Informational Websites:

USEPA's guidance on the proper disposal of prescription drugs -






The Technical Support Center of the NJ State Dept. of Environmental Protection:  For Freshwater Wetland or Highlands questions call (609) 777-0454; for Waterfront Development, C.A.F.R.A., Stream Encroachment or Flood Hazard Area permitting questions call (609) 984-0162.








Bats in Buildings


New Jersey is home to 9 bat species.  Most live in trees or under loose bark, but some will also roost in warm attics and other man-made structures.  Bats can’t claw or chew holes into your home and they don’t build nests, just hang by their feet.  They leave the roost each night at dusk (like clockwork) and return by dawn to rest and digest. 
Most colonies are made up of mother bats and their young, called “pups.”  Bats give birth to just 1 or 2 pups per year, in late May or June.  The pups nurse for about a month until they can fly and feed on their own.  Bats live up to 20-30 years
Bats are important animals and are protected by law in New Jersey.  If you are planning to evict bats from a building, follow state guidelines so that no bats are harmed or trapped inside.  Physically removing the bats is not legal and is not effective. 
                                The “safe dates” for bat eviction are April 1-30 and August 1-October 15
All of New Jersey’s bats eat insectslots of insects!  Your neighborhood bats do everybody a service by controlling beetles, months and mosquitoes, free and organically.  To keep the bats around (just not indoors), hang a bat house on the sunny side of your building or on a pole before evicting the bats.  The Conserve Wildlife Foundation is offering FREE bat houses to give these bats a place to go… other than your neighbor’s attic!
Bats are shy, valuable, and fascinating animals.  Visit
or call 908-782-4616 ext. 104 for New Jersey exclusion guidelines, qualified pest control companies, bat house information and more. 


B.Y.O.B. - Bring Your Own Bag


Reusable Bags are the latest "Green" trend.  Did you know:


Plastic bags kill thousands of birds, whales, seals and turtles every year, and takes hundreds of years to break down in landfills. 

The US uses 100 billion plastic bags annually.

Plastic bags are among the 12 most commonn items found in coastal cleanups. 

Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds of plastic bags over its lifetime. 


For those interested in joining the crusade against plastic, there are small and simple steps that can be taken every day.  The best place to start is by properly disposing of household plastics, separating them and putting them in the correct recycling receptacles.  Reusing plastic bags is also an option.  Another option would be reusable bags, which are the "must have" item of the moment.  Many stores are trying to get a head start on weaning their customers off of disposable bags. 


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has started a program enforcing and creating recycling laws county-by-county to encourage citizens do their part.  The program targets both citizens and businesses, as industries and large companies have a big impact on recycling.


Don't Toss That Bulb!

Switching to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs is a very bright idea.  They use about one fourth the energy and produce 90% less heat compared with traditional incandescent bulbs.  The advantages of using CFLs far outweigh the hazard from the small amount of mercury they contain.  The largest source of America's airborne mercury comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal for electricity production.  According to the National Association of Counties a power plant emits about 4 times the amount of mercury into the atmosphere to produce the electricity to run a regular incandescent light bulb campared with a CFL for the same lenght of time.  

Changing the five most frequently used light bulbs or fixtures in the house to Energy Star CFLs can save the average household about $60.00 a year in electricity costs and New Jersey would prevent more than 3.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of the bulbs - the equivalent of removing nearly 600,000 cars from our roadways.   

Since they last up to 10 times longer than old-fashioned light bulbs, the CFLs you have purchased over the last few years probably have not burned out yet.  But what do you do with them when they do reach the end of their lives? 

Because CFLs contain a small amount of mercury they should be disposed of properly.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends thaking advantage of available local recycling options, but currently, most New Jersey communities don't yet have collection sites for CFLs.

EPA is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options.  For example, IKEA stores in New Jersey accept used CFLs in addition to batteries and other toxic household items.  An each NJ county also has a household hazardous waste recycling cacility that accepts used CFLs.  The bulbs should be placed in a clear plastic bag and disposed of just like batteries, paint or motor oil at a household hazardous waste collection site.  To find out about collection dates, locations and other information please refer to the recycling information provided below. 

If it isn't possible to recycle your used CFLs, you can dispose of them along with your regular trash after sealing each bulb in two plastic bags.  Don't dispose of CFLs in an incinerator. 

For accidentally broken CFLs, EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines.  


  • Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.  


  • Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and seal hem in a plastic bag. 


  • Use disposable rubber gloves, not bare hands to wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or   disposable wet wipes and place them in a second plastic bag along with the first bag containing the bulb fragments and any other cleanup materials.


  • Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.


  • Put the bag in an outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal. 


  • Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.

If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet,

1.  First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaners, following the steps above.  Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder. 

2.  If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag or vacuum debris in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal. 

For more information about disposing of CFLs, go to

Guidelines for Proper Disposal of Household Medication

Over the counter and prescription medications should not be disposed down the drain because wastewater treatment facilities are not designated to remove pharmaceutical compounds and they may end up in your local waterways, and may eventually be found in drinking water.  Properly disposing of unwanted and expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in the trash promotes a healthy aquatic environment and prevents accidental poisoning and intentional abuse. 

4 Steps for Proper Disposal


  1. Keep medicine in original container.  Mark out personal information on prescription bottles.

  2. Mix liquid medicine with undesireable substance like coffe grinds, cat litter, or dirt.

  3. Place bottles in an opaque container like a yogurt container, and secure lid; or wrap in a dark colored plastic bag. 

  4. Hid the container in the trash.  DO NOT recycle.

Improper disposal in your trash allows others to divert the substance and consume medication that was not prescribed to them. 

For more information contact: 
DEP Solid & Hazardous Waste Program (609) 633-1418

For proper disposal of household sharps visit:
or call (609) 984-6620


Please do your part in helping the environment.


The Sparta Township Environmental Commission encourages everyone to recycle.

The following items are picked up curbside:

Aluminum and tin cans, glass (clear, amber & green), all plastic containers with codes between 1 PET and 7 OTHER (milk, soda, detergent, bleach, yogurt cups, baby wipe containers).  These items can all be co-mingled together in one reusable container.  Recyclable fiber materials include:  corrugated cardboard & brown paper bags (bundled), newsprint, magazine, telephone books, junk mail chip boards (food cereal, tissue, shoe boxes and other gray and white paper board containers), office paper and shredded paper.  The items can also be co-mingled in one reusable container. 
NON-RECYCLABLE ITEMS are drinking glasses, plastic bags, plastic toys, oil & paint cans, aerosol cans, coat hangers, ceramics, window glass and wax coated material (jice boxes and main carton).

The following items can be recycled Monday - Saturday 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority, 34 Rt 94S, Lafayette, NJ (973-579-6998)
Newsprint, corrugated cardboard and pressboard, chipboard, magazines, junk mail, mixed office paper and shredded paper, steel and bimetal food and beverage cans, aluminum beverage cans, glass bottles and jars; clear, green and amber, #1 PET plastic containers; clear and green soda bottles, #2 PET plastic containers; milk, juice, water, detergent bottles, aluminum bakery plates and foil, old clothing, used motor oil, waste anti-freeze and household batteries. 


Monthly Shredding Service
3rd Friday of every month 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., $6.00 per 40 lbs box - no limit.