Press Release: NRRA Ties Up One USDA Grant and Begins Another!

November 14, 2022

EPSOM, NH: The Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA), the largest and oldest cooperative-model recycling nonprofit in the United States, enables communities to manage their own recycling programs, in part, through its recycling education and technical assistance work.

This fall, NRRA successfully wrapped up its Recycling with Results projects and immediately began the new Recycling Tools of the Trade project, both which were made possible by a grant from the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture.

The Recycling with Results project included the popular four-month-long digital Recycle Right Campaign that reached over 74,000 residents with helpful and accessible recycling education designed to be easily shared. The 70-plus posts and videos in the NRRA campaign show that it is now easier than ever for communities big and small to share the tips, tricks, and education needed to recycle more, recycle better, and Recycle Right. Said one NRRA Member Town Director of Public Works:

“Fantastic job with this - so appreciative of all the time and effort you put into this campaign! I will continue to use these posts throughout the year on our Department of Public Works social media.”

The Recycling with Results project also launched Solid Waste Advisory Teams (SWAT) - teams of experienced solid waste operator mentors and NRRA staff that provided hands-on technical assistance and solid waste facility evaluations for five qualified New Hampshire communities. The SWAT program also assisted in the development of full cost accounting models for solid waste facility operations in two of the five qualified communities. (Full cost accounting is a systematic approach for identifying and reporting the actual costs of solid waste management and is helpful for budgeting and informing changes that are necessary to improve program operations.) Said one town leader:

“Our group thought the diversity of transfer station staff, administrators, and NRRA representatives provided a rich, informative experience. The balance of different recycling programs used in different towns also gave us new and different perspectives! The final report was invaluable and will help us as we move forward.”

In August 2022, NRRA was awarded a new grant by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service to launch a Recycling Tools of the Trade project. This project is aimed at helping to address the unique challenges small, rural communities in New Hampshire face when it comes to solid waste management. With support from this USDA grant, NRRA will be able to develop several new resources for our smallest communities, including:

  1. Waste Reduction Toolkits that will enable communities to reduce their solid waste stream through environmentally sound practices by providing solid waste facility operators with actionable and engaging tools to implement solid waste reduction programs and techniques. 
  2. Recycling 101 education that will help target communities educate their solid waste facility operators, local decision-makers, and residents about how recycling works to increase confidence in recycling and reduce the solid waste stream. This education will include customizable recycling pamphlets, "what happens to my recycling" short videos, and an updated and accessible Recycling 101 presentation.
  3. Recycling Partnership program, the development of which will help target communities partner with nearby communities to consolidate recyclable materials, in order to receive more favorable market pricing and service from recycling companies.

NRRA will provide these services to rural communities in NH with the lowest incomes. With the USDA grant support, NRRA can offer these valuable technical assistance and educational services for free. This benefits the NH communities who can least afford them in already difficult economic times, when target communities receive limited state support and face budget challenges. 

Further, our past Recycling with Results USDA grant project highlighted the fact that not everything in our increasingly-technological world is digital. This reality is especially apparent in rural New Hampshire, where access to the internet is oftentimes a luxury rather than the standard. For example, the documented lack of broadband access to many northern NH towns meant there was no way for the Recycling with Results grant-project to reach some of its intended audience, a key reason why our newest Recycling Tools of the Trade grant-project is so important. 

This lack of infrastructure makes it more difficult for already underserved communities to access recycling and solid waste management education for residents and speaks to the need of organizations such as NRRA that are able to provide technical assistance in-person, over the phone, and through print materials in order to bridge this gap. 


*Qualified Towns have been identified as the following NRRA Member Towns with less than 5,500 residents and a Median Household Income (MHI) less than the New Hampshire Statewide Nonmetro MHI: Acworth, Alexandria, Allenstown, Alstead, Ashland, Barnstead, Bartlett, Bennington, Bethlehem, Bristol, Campton, Carroll, Charlestown, Clarksville, Colebrook, Columbia, Dalton, Danbury, Dummer, Easton, Effingham, Ellsworth, Enfield, Errol, Farmington, Freedom, Gorham, Goshen, Grafton, Greenville, Groton, Hancock, Hillsborough, Hinsdale, Jaffrey, Jefferson, Lancaster, Landaff, Lincoln, Lisbon, Littleton, Lyman, Marlow, Meredith, Middleton, Milan, Monroe, Newbury, New London, Newport, Northfield, Northumberland, Ossipee, Pembroke, Pittsburg, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Rollinsford, Rumney, Sandwich, Stark, Stewartstown, Stratford, Sunapee, Swanzey, Tamworth, Temple, Thornton, Tilton, Troy, Tuftonboro, Wakefield, Walpole, Warner, Warren, Washington, Wentworth, Whitefield, Wilton, Winchester, Wolfeboro.   

** This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service. Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc., is an equal opportunity provider and employer.