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By Alex Hanson, Valley News Staff Writer

For the most part, people bringing their trash to the transfer station, even in a small town such as Unity, take little notice of the people who work there, said Vanessa Keith, who has worked at the town’s Mica Mine Road facility since 1997 and now manages it.

Dropping off trash and recycling, yard waste and appliances tends to be a job done quickly, on the way to some other more enjoyable activity.

“I guess I feel like we’re sort of invisible,” said Keith, who since 2014 also has worked at the transfer station in Lempster, N.H.

Now, however, transfer station employees are considered essential workers, and their role is receiving new attention.

Transfer stations have had to manage the potential hazards of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

With the public in need of guidance,...Read more


Keene, NH –Eighth graders from Keene Middle School learned the basics of composting through virtual classroom workshops on April 29 & 30. About 30 students from two KMS STEM Focused Study Group classes participated in Back To The Earth workshops conducted by Education Manager Heather Herring of Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA). NRRA’s School Recycling Club (The Club) provides recycling education and outreach to K-12 schools.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has confined students to learning from home, The Club had to get creative and set up a way to engage students virtually, using Google Meet™. The students first viewed the Back To The Earth webinar on the website and then composed questions about the composting presentation. The questions were submitted to Ms. Herring in advance and then discussed with the students the following day. Students were able to ask “live” questions using the Google Chat™ function.

One...Read more


Last Friday, I received a troubling email from my colleague. She had been contacted by the manager of a New Hampshire transfer station. You know, what some people still refer to as the town dump. The transfer station manager had resigned his position because the town directed him to open his recycling building back up to residents despite the manager’s objections.

The facility has a drive-thru with close quarters, making it difficult to enforce social distancing. On the other hand, the town offices remain closed to ensure adequate social distancing.

The transfer station staff are all over the age of 70. The manager quit out of frustration for the inequity of what the town was asking of the transfer station staff.

We all know by now that transfer station staff provide essential services, during a pandemic or not. But did you know that in New Hampshire, solid...Read more


In the fall of 2019, the New Hampshire HB 617 Recycling & Solid Waste Study Committee held fourteen hearings to study how the State can assist municipalities during these challenging recycling markets. NRRA’s Executive Director, Reagan Bissonnette, actively participated in these hearings and testified multiple times, along with some NRRA members. The committee’s final report was issued on November 1, 2019.

In the 2020 legislative cycle, numerous bills have been proposed in New Hampshire that are relevant to NRRA’s NH members with respect to solid waste and resource recovery. Most resulted from the HB 617 Recycling & Solid Waste Study Committee’s report. NRRA has provided a brief summary of these bills below. Please see the full text of each bill (provided as a hyperlink) for complete details. If you are interested in an update on these bills after the date this document was last updated, the NH Department of...Read more


From December 2014 to January 2019, Rollinsford NH (Population 2,527) embraced single stream recycling i.e. putting all recyclables, including aluminum cans, cardboard, glass jars and bottles, paper, plastics and steel cans, into one container and shipping them to market where they were separated back into their individual components for marketing.

As recycling markets continued to deteriorate and the cost per ton of single stream material exceeded the cost to throw it away, Rollinsford made the difficult decision to return to a source separated program. Rollinsford purchased a refurbished baler and, in July 2018, residents were called upon to once again begin separating their fibers and containers to create materials that the Town could market and achieve revenue for.

NRRA has been privileged to work with Rollinsford throughout this transition from single stream recycling to shipping full tractor trailer loads of cardboard and mixed paper and truck loads of...Read more