NH Solid Waste Working Group Update

March 28, 2022

The NH Solid Waste Working Group, which is responsible for assisting the NH Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) with solid waste planning and policy initiatives, held another meeting on March 25.  Reagan Bissonnette, NRRA Executive Director, presented about how NRRA assists NH communities with recycling and Steve Poggi, Waste Management Area Director of Disposal Operations, presented about NH communities manage their trash.  Then the group formed three subcommittees to assist NHDES with updating NH's Solid Waste Plan. 

As part of her presentation, Reagan explained how NRRA membership includes 85% of all towns and cities in NH.  NRRA is one of only a handful of nonprofits in the country that operates a recyclables marketing cooperative, and Reagan shared how NRRA helps connect municipalities to vendors that process recyclables and turn them into new products and packaging. In particular, transportation costs and logistics are a meaningful consideration for communities to manage their solid waste budgets. Following her presentation, Reagan encouraged all Solid Waste Working Group members and members of the public to attend NRRA's upcoming Recycling Conference & Expo. The Conference focuses on municipal recycling and waste reduction in New England and will be held in person on May 16 and 17 in Manchester, NH.  Early bird registration ends April 15. 

Steve Poggi shared information about solid waste capacity in the region, how rail is increasingly being used to transport waste outside of New England by states like Massachusetts, and how communities contract with private companies like Waste Management for their solid waste disposal.  

Following the presentations, the group discussed how the NH Solid Waste Plan, which was last updated in 2003, is due for an update by NHDES by October 1, 2022.  The plan must include goals, strategies, opportunities, and actions to reduce solid waste generation through source reduction, to increase diversion, and achieve the state‚Äôs solid waste disposal goal.  The plan must also include goals, strategies, and actions necessary to maintain and ensure adequate disposal capacity for management of waste generated in New Hampshire. The following three Working Group subcommittees were formed with the goal to assist NHDES with topics to be covered by the Solid Waste Plan:  

  1. Waste Reduction & Management of "Difficult" Wastes - This subcommittee will explore opportunities to advance source reduction, i.e., 'waste avoidance,' and will also investigate alternative outlets for difficult-to-manage wastes (wastes that currently have limited outlets besides disposal, like contaminated soils, bulky wastes, certain components of C&D, wastewater treatment sludge, etc.). 

  2. Recycling & Composting - This subcommittee will focus on opportunities to support the more traditional forms of diversion: recycling and composting. What does NH need to advance in these areas? What are the gaps?  Reagan Bissonnette, NRRA's representative on the Working Group, volunteered to serve on this subcommittee.  NRRA members Brian Patnoe, NRRA board member with the Town of Lancaster, NH and Adam Clark with the City of Concord, NH , will also serve on this subcommittee.  

  3. Alternative Waste Management Technologies - This subcommittee will explore opportunities to advance alternate technologies and methods for diversion, waste conversion, waste-to-energy, etc. This could include things like anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, gasification, etc.

These subcommittees are scheduled to meet from 9 to 10:30 AM on future Working Group meeting dates, followed by full Working Group meetings from 10:30 AM to noon.  The subcommittees and Working Group are next scheduled to  meet on Friday, April 22.  

NRRA members are encouraged to contact Reagan directly at rbissonnette@nrrarecycles.org or (603) 736-4401 x116 with input regarding the Working Group and Recycling & Composting subcommittee work.  In addition, the Solid Waste Working Group can be contacted by emailing swwg@maillist2.nh.gov.