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Recycling and Solid Waste Resources for New Hampshire Residents

New Hampshire recycling rates improving

Despite significant statewide budget cuts in 2012, many New Hampshire towns are reporting higher recycling rates, according to the Eagle-Tribune. The statewide recycling rate is 35%, which is on par with the national average.

Local towns and municipalities have turned to single-stream recycling, and increased availability of recycling services, to help boost rates. Pelham, for example, is reporting a 43% recycling rate (2013), which is already higher than the state goal of 40%.

Cost savings:

Residents can help save the state quite a bit of money by recycling. It costs $56 more per ton to landfill waste compared to recycling it. That’s money that would ultimately go back into your pocket.

Jobs, jobs, jobs…

Sure, recycling helps cleanup the environment and make the community a more sustainable place to live, but what you may not realize is that it helps create new jobs.

The EPA points out that 10,000 lbs. of waste sent to landfills creates just 1 job while the same amount of waste sent to recycling facilities creates 10 recycling-related jobs or 75 material reuse jobs.

Put simply, recycling leads to…

  • More jobs, more money flowing through the economy
  • Fewer landfills, illegal dumping sites, and less virgin materials harvested for manufacturing

How to handle household hazardous wastes (HHW)

Certain wastes should not be mixed in with the general waste stream; these are referred to as household hazardous wastes (HHW). It includes things like paint, antifreeze, motor oil, batteries, thermostats and fluorescent bulbs.

New Hampshire encourages backyard composting

Yard waste makes up about 35% to 40% of total waste generated in New Hampshire. It is illegal to dispose of yard waste in landfills.

You can either send this material to a permitted composting facility, or better yet, setup your own backyard composting operation to create your own organic fertilizer.

RESOURCE: NDHES rules and guide to composting in New Hampshire

Composting is beneficial to the environment and actually saves you money in two ways:

  • It’s 100% organic (and free!) fertilizer for your garden, flower beds, indoor plantings, or to add to your top soil. No more buying plant fertilizers at the store.
  • Composting can reduce the amount of waste you generate, which may allow you to downsize your waste container needs and save a few bucks on your waste hauling bill.

It’s easy to compost at home, and no, it doesn’t smell like rotting garbage if you do it right. It’s a matter of mixing “brown” materials like twigs, dead leaves and clean paper with “green” materials like coffee grounds/filters, fruit/veggie scraps, nut shells and egg shells (no whole eggs).

Mix in a higher ratio of brown materials to avoid a stinky batch of compost. Mix weekly and keep moist with water. That’s all it takes to start reaping the benefits of compost.

Learn more about composting here and here.

Other useful resources:

  1. New Hampshire Solid Waste Statutes
  2. New Hampshire Solid Waste Fact Sheets
  3. Permits
  4. New Hampshire The Beautiful (NHtB)