Blog : Thirty-fourth Annual NRRA Conference: Working Together to Keep New Hampshire Clean

By John | Jun 17, 2015 | in

By John Brescia

MANCHESTER - New Hampshire residents are proud of the place they come from and the natural beauty it holds, but steps must constantly be taken to preserve that reputation. Thankfully, organizations throughout New Hampshire are working to make sure the Granite State remains a clean, scenic place for both residents and visitors.

On Monday, June 8, environmental groups from around New Hampshire and New England held the thirty-fourth Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) Conference in Manchester to share information, honor members, and advance environmental causes. The NRRA is an organization active throughout New England dedicated to providing information and assistance in waste reduction and recycling. It also serves to bring together other organizations and responsible businesses who can work together to achieve each other's green goals.

At the conference, held at the Radisson Hotel, the NRRA and other participating businesses and organizations provided guests with information about their activities throughout the region and upcoming events. Representatives from each group set up displays in the exhibit hall to distribute materials and discuss environmental initiatives they either currently have in place or plan to start in the future.

Chaz Miller, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Waste and Recycling Organization was the keynote speaker at the conference and gave an enlightening presentation entitled "Real Challenges-Real Solutions." Miller’s speech described the current challenges within waste management and practical solutions that can be implemented to correct them.

The afternoon began with the NRRA awards ceremony where several individuals were honored for their achievements in recycling. Such accolades included the Business of the Year award to Interstate Refrigerant of Foxboro, Mass. and the Rookie Recycling Manager of the Year award to Brian Battnam. The Volunteer of the Year award was given to Steve Whitman, while Paul Colburn received the New Hampshire the Beautiful Environmental Stewardship award. But the greatest honor was reserved for Steve Bennet, manager of the transfer station in Loudon, N.H. Bennet was given the Sammy Izzo Award, which honors the NRRA's recycler of the year.

Among the organizations at the conference was the nonprofit New Hampshire the Beautiful (NHtB), which works collaboratively with the NRRA. "Years ago, NHtB realized the poor conditions of New Hampshire transfer stations and resolved to improve both them and town recycling efforts," said John Dumais, a member of NHtB's board of directors. This has become one of the main programs administered by NHtB, in which they travel to municipalities throughout New Hampshire and subsidize the costs for recycling equipment and directional signs to improve the transfer stations.

Representatives from area transfer stations attending the ceremony shared their appreciation for the grants supported by NHtB for signs and equipment.

Many New Hampshire residents may remember seeing large blue trash bags around the state, which are distributed from NHtB to communities and organizations to help in cleanups along roadways, waterways, and beaches. NHtB's trademark “Blue Bags,” are given away for free and 100,000 were distributed in 2014 to aid in cleanup efforts, according to Dumais.

One of the many beneficial programs to which NHtB offers is its collaboration with the NRRA. Together, these two non-profits operate the ambassador program, where members go to schools to educate children about the importance and methods of recycling. NHtB promotes recycling education in all schools by financially supporting coordinated school-wide programs, signs, collection bins, group discussions, and recycling trash demonstrations. "By touching the minds of thousands of students with this vital information, NHtB is able to influence an entire generation to take a responsible, environmental approach to life," said Ray Dube, another NHtB board member and Sustainability Manager for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CCNNE).

Both NHtB and CCNNE are active members of the Green Alliance, a union of over 90 green businesses across New Hampshire, southern Maine, and northern Massachusetts. The Green Alliance aims to promote and implement environmentally friendly business practices with all of its members and to help consumers make sustainable choices.

New Hampshire the Beautiful has expanded their recycling efforts by focusing on students. CCNNE, along with several other businesses, has been a part of New Hampshire the Beautiful from the beginning. The NRRA and the additional organizations and businesses at the conference differ greatly in their work and reach throughout New England, but agree on their efforts to advance environmental initiatives in the region. The conference served as a positive example of an environmental responsibility that is growing both in New Hampshire and New England.

For more information about New Hampshire the Beautiful, visit www.nhthebeautiful.org.

To learn more about CCNNE, visit www.ccnne.com.

To learn more about the Green Alliance, visit www.greenalliance.biz.