Blog : 2015 Recycler of the Year Loudon Veteran Goes Above and Beyond for Recycling Success

By John | Jul 6, 2015 | in

By John Brescia

MANCHESTER- Every year, the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) presents one recipient the Recycler of the Year award, in honor of Sami Izzo, a late member who was both known and loved by the organization for her contributions to recycling and waste management. The NRRA is an organization working throughout New England to provide information and assistance in waste reduction and recycling. It also serves to bring organizations and responsible businesses together to achieve each other's green goals.

According to the NRRA, “this award is given to an individual who best combines the qualities of commitment, leadership, and enthusiasm in developing and sustaining an environmentally and financially sound solid waste management program.” On Monday, June 8th, Steve Bennett, manager of the Loudon, N.H transfer station, was honored with the award at the NRRA’s 34th Annual Northeast Recycling Conference and Expo at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

“I am totally surprised. I did not expect it at all,” said Bennett. He has been with the Loudon transfer station for twelve years. Having retired from his previous occupation at the age of 50, Bennett was seeking temporary employment when he saw a job posting for the transfer station, and decided to give it a shot. “I was intrigued by the challenge,” Bennett recalls. After beginning his new job over a decade ago, he realized that there was a lot more to the NRRA than he thought. “The NRRA is the place to go if you have no market, no place to sell or ship recyclables.”
Bennett has certainly enjoyed his work, being described as a dedicated and energetic manager who has always been open to new ideas. When presenting the award, NRRA Executive Director Michael Durfor described Bennett as an “above-and-beyond type of operator.” Bennett realizes how difficult moving recyclables can be for someone who is relatively new to the practice.

Bennett purchases recycling equipment for the transfer station through the NRRA and believes that the organization is a useful outlet for towns looking to get the most money for their materials. The NRRA works with New Hampshire the Beautiful (NHtB), an organization focused on improving recycling efforts, beautifying the state, and educating the public. Together, the two groups mentor municipalities to collect more recyclable items and issue grants and subsidies to aid towns in improving their recycling efforts.

Bennett has worked with the NRRA and NHtB to improve signs at the Loudon transfer station and help residents better understand where they should dispose of recyclable materials. This program administers permanent signs to transfer stations across New Hampshire, and around 90% of towns in the state have received signs thanks to the collaboration of the two organizations. Municipalities can also apply for subsidies through NHtB to purchase new curbside recycling bins for homeowners, which the town and organization share the cost of purchasing.

The NRRA and NHtB have expanded their reach into New Hampshire schools to better educate students on proper recycling tactics. The goal is to show students how recycling and composting greatly reduces trash and provide them with bins, signs, and all the necessary materials to get the program running. By working with municipalities and schools, both groups hope to tackle recycling issues across the board and increase awareness of what they do and how recycling efforts can be improved.

“It’s good to have a group like the NRRA,” Bennett said. He is grateful that the NRRA and NHtB are entities which not only help municipalities broker materials for recyclables, but also aim to improve communities in general.

New Hampshire the Beautiful is a partner 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 its members and help consumers make sustainable choices.

To learn more about New Hampshire the Beautiful, visit http://www.nhthebeautiful.org/.

For more information on the Northeast Resource Recovery Association, visit http://www.nrra.net/.

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