More Financial Support for Recycling in NH is Coming
A large part of the Northeast Resource Recovery Association's mission and work is focused on technical assistance - helping municipalities coordinate and run successful recycling programs that handle a variety of recyclables, including hazardous waste such as electronics. The rural nature of northern New Hampshire, however, has posed unique challenges to towns in Coos County that are limited by a lack of recycling facilities. With increased costs of fuel, hauling loads several hours to southern New Hampshire is often not feasible.
A newly approved Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, however, could help the county tackle this lack of access. With an unprecedented $375 million in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop three new waste prevention, reuse, and recycling programs, new and improved recycling programs and facilities could be coming to the North Country sooner rather than later.
Reagan Bissonnette, Executive Director of NRRA and Brian Patnoe, NRRA Board Member and Lancaster Transfer Station Manager, recently had the opportunity to speak with Amanda Gokee of the New Hampshire Bulletin about the newly approved grant program:
Brian Patnoe, who runs the transfer station in Lancaster, is tired of seeing materials that could be reused or recycled end up in a landfill because the North Country lacks a recycling facility to process them.
“In Coos County, we really don’t have a lot of infrastructure for recycling,” said Patnoe. “One of the biggest things I see going into the landfill is construction and demolition debris. All of the facilities to recycle it are in the southern part of the state.”
And driving to the southern part of the state is too far, too costly, and generates too much greenhouse gas emissions to be worth it, Patnoe said. Education is another problem: People don’t know how to reuse or recycle these materials.
A new $375 million federal grant program is intended to help the state purchase recycling infrastructure and fund outreach and educational programs to improve recycling and reduce waste.
“Considering how much attention is being paid to solid waste and recycling issues in New Hampshire these days, this funding comes at a really great time for New Hampshire,” said Reagan Bissonnette, executive director of Northeast Resource Recovery Association, a nonprofit that helps municipalities recycle.
Bissonnette is working with Patnoe on another grant that would create a pilot program to keep construction and demolition debris out of landfills by promoting recycling and reuse.
Both Patnoe and Bissonnette said other municipalities would also benefit from federal funding to address municipal and state needs that contribute to these materials ending up in landfills.
The EPA expects grant applications to open in the fall. Unlike many federal grants, these don’t require municipalities to come up with matching funds of their own. This could make it easier for towns to access the funding, which will be available for four years. During the first year, 40 percent of funding is set aside for disadvantaged communities.
Thank you to The New Hampshire Bulletin for sharing accurate, current information about recycling opportunities in New Hampshire!