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The Big Question: How do you deal with your trash?

A window for plastic recycling at the Hooksett transfer station
Mara Hoplamazian
A window for plastic recycling at the Hooksett transfer station

Communities across New Hampshire have many different ways of disposing of trash, from curbside pickup to trips to the transfer station. We all have to take out the garbage somehow.

So, for this month's Big Question we asked you: How do you deal with your trash?

Here's what some of you said.

Allison, Canaan: I have to take my trash to our local transfer station. I try to go every week or two, but this is my least favorite chore. I have no garage or shed, so I keep the garbage in my basement. And every time I go to the dump, I have to drag it up the hill at the end of the house, which slopes backward and away from the house, sideways. So I have a wrestling match with my garbage bin every week. I think my neighbors must learn some new words every time they hear me fighting with this.

Yvette, Bradford: I deal with my trash by taking it to the transfer station. I try to restrict my trash by reduce, reuse and recycle. Sometimes it's hard for people to keep up with what the rules are, and I really appreciate our local transfer station staff in that they help us run by the rules so that we don't get into trouble.

Mike, Brookline: I'm the Public Works Director for the town of Brookline and also in charge of our transfer station and our cemeteries. So, we are a relatively small town made up of about 5,500 people, and we do not offer roadside pickup at all in-house. So, we do have a facility here that residents who would like to use it, they come here. So it's a pretty bustling place. And I happen to be working in the facility right now. And a common [thing we see] is the contamination found in recycling streams that come from people either being careless in what they recycle or what's called “wishcycling,” which is where people will feel badly throwing something in the trash. So instead they throw it in the recycling stream in hopes it will be recycled. Unfortunately, this action and thought process does far more harm than good, and most of these facilities, when they are contaminated enough, just throw the entire load in the trash.

Susan, Stoddard: I'm guessing most of us in Stoddard bring our trash and recyclables to the transfer station ourselves. I have tried to find out what exactly can be recycled, but no one seems to have an answer or a printout. Otherwise, if we think something can be used by someone else, we donate to thrift stores, be it clothes, furniture, books, lamps and so forth. We take them to whoever we find out can use them. We give away things that are still useful.

Parker, Manchester: I am one of two volunteers [at my condominium] who, every week, manages the trash bins, which are put out for curbside pickup. Many people here apparently don't really understand that it's just household recycling items like cans, bottles and plastic containers. We find all kinds of things in those recycling bins. One of the most egregious things that was found: Somebody put an entire toilet inside the recycling bin. What the thought was that whoever did that is beyond me.

Thank you to everyone who answered this month's Big Question.

Next month's question is: What's on your fall bucket list? Find out how to answer here.

Music: Rue Severine by Blue Dot Sessions.

Julia Furukawa is the host of All Things Considered at NHPR. She joined the NHPR team in 2021 as a fellow producing ATC after working as a reporter and editor for The Paris News in Texas and a freelancer for KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.
Michelle Liu is the All Things Considered producer at NHPR. She joined the station in 2022 after graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism.

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