Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Make a gift today and you could win a trip to Portugal!

N.H. regulators taking public comments on new solid waste plan through August

Paige Sutherland

New Hampshire’s plan for dealing with trash was last updated almost two decades ago, in 2003.

But a new draft from the state’s Department of Environmental Services is now available for the public to comment on, ahead of an October deadline for regulators to submit their plan.

The draft lays out the goals and actions that New Hampshire should undertake to reach a goal, established by state law, to reduce solid waste by 45% by 2050. The eight goals outlined in the plan include reducing the quantity and toxicity of solid waste, maximizing diversion, ensuring enough waste capacity for in-state generated trash, developing local markets for waste diversion, like recycling, encouraging infrastructure and practices that support state and federal climate change initiatives and finding sustainable funding sources to support initiatives.

 New Hampshire's waste management hierarchy focuses on diverting waste from landfills first.
Department of Environmental Services
New Hampshire's waste management hierarchy focuses on diverting waste from landfills first.

The plan focuses on five different strategies to achieve those goals, from legislation and regulatory updates to public outreach and incentive programs.

Those efforts could include considering legislation that would address the use of chemicals like PFAS in carpeting, clothing and food packaging, which then end up in landfills or exploring incentives for municipalities that find ways to divert specific waste from landfills, such as recycling polypropylene or film plastics.

Unlike previous plans, the focus on addressing climate change and environmental justice is new. “This will help ensure that New Hampshire’s waste management system mitigates and adapts to worsening climate change, while also addressing environmental justice issues.”

That work could include translating outreach materials into additional languages and promoting equitable access to reuse and recycling opportunities.

Gov. Chris Sununu signed a law earlier this year that prohibits state officials from issuing permits for new landfills and landfill expansion until the state’s solid waste plan is updated.

Public comment closes on August 26th at 4 p.m. A copy of the draft plan can be found here.

Mara Hoplamazian reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR.
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

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.