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Public comment period is open for proposed changes to state composting rules

A photo of a person dumping compost into a green pot held in a sink.
Britta Greene
/
NHPR

Members of the public can now comment on proposed revisions to the state’s composting rules.

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The new rules would facilitate the start of small-scale composting projects, and streamline the permitting process for composting meat and dairy. Food scraps account for up to a quarter of waste in landfills nationwide, according to the EPA.

“There’s a lot of pent-up interest in diverting food waste,” Michael Nork, who supervises material management at the Department of Environmental Services said.

Current rules require a separate permit process to compost meat and dairy from vegetative material, which some say has been too limiting, according to Nork.

For the revisions, Nork says the goal is to “clarify and simplify requirements for composting facilities,” l Nork

The new rules would allow facilities to use the same permit process for vegetables, meat and dairy.

Composting isone of the state’s preferred strategies for managing waste; landfilling is the least preferred.

“Hopefully if we can develop more infrastructure and make it more appealing for companies or entities to start composting operations, that 'll open up more avenues for diverting food waste so that it's not going to landfills,” he said.

Two other changes include establishing siting requirements specific for composting facilities, which currently have to meet the same criteria for landfill siting, and eliminating the compost classification system.

Under that change, any finished compost product would just have to meet minimum quality and maturity requirements

DES will host a public hearing on December 13, and written comments will be accepted through December 20.

Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at dallee@nhpr.org.
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