Blog : Making a Beautiful Difference in New Hampshire

By Katelyn | Aug 18, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

Founded in 1983, New Hampshire the Beautiful is a private, non-profit charitable trust that has left a vital imprint on every town and city in the state.

NHtB has made a mark by developing comprehensive programs that address litter issues, recycling challenges, environmental awareness and education. To be more precise, the colorful recycling bins and roadside blue liter bags seen everywhere in the state have direct roots to NHtB. The educational efforts that have engaged school children and the help to cities and towns to streamline and maximize their recycling capabilities are also due to the efforts of NHtB.

And, while New Hampshire The Beautiful may not be well known to the public at large, municipalities and large parts of business, nonprofit and educational communities in the state are very familiar with and often times reliant upon the organization’s good work. Since its founding, NhtB has given out more than $2 million in grants, explains John Dumais, NHtB chair and President of the New Hampshire Grocer’s Association.

The grants have helped established recycling programs, signage, and recycling program technical assistance. Cities and towns can also apply for funding to assist with the purchase of recycling equipment. This includes monies to purchase curbside collection bins, balers, crushers, roll-off containers and other equipment that will help a community achieve higher diversion rates.

“I think it’s doing exactly what we want it to do,” Dumais says. “What has been surprising is how we’ve kept growing and finding new, innovative ways to encourage recycling and control litter.”

NHtB was created more than three decades ago in response to a potential container tax proposal in the New Hampshire legislature. Three organizations – New Hampshire Soft Drink Association, Beverage Distributors of New Hampshire Association, and the New Hampshire Grocers Association – came together and offered a voluntary alternative to achieve litter reduction with potentially better results. More than 30 years later, the organization has transformed how communities create, manage and enhance their recycling programs and keep their roads free of litter.

“There continues to be so many success stories,” Dumais adds. “What stands out to me the most is how these communities with limited resources leverage our grants with so many innovative programs. The unique ways they upgrade and expand their programs have made it more convenient for people to come and to recycle more. We are almost certain this has had a markedly positive effect on increased tourism in the state.”

A sampling of 2014 figures from New Hampshire the Beautiful shows how recycling and anti-litter programs have touched every part of the state:

● Donated 99,000 blue bags for litter pick up to municipal and state Departments of Transportation to assist in keeping state roads and community areas litter-free.

● Awarded a total of $41,169 in recycling grants to 23 NH municipalities to help increase the efficiency of their recycling programs

● Provided over $25,000 in funding to the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) School Recycling CLUB to provide recycling education to our future generations of recyclers.

● Subsidized the cost of 1,216 recycling bins and 35 ClearStream recycling containers for schools and communities throughout the state.

● Granted $14,131 worth of recycling signs to New Hampshire transfer stations and schools.

● Maintained three RecycleMobiles used by communities throughout the year for various public events.

Ray Dube, the sustainability manager for Coca Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, had been involved with New Hampshire the Beautiful for a few years before joining as a board director in 2013. He said even a small matter such as proper signage – the organization has donated almost $50,000 in sign grants for scores of communities from 2012 to 2014 – becomes a big deal and has a huge impact.

“We all saw the cardboard, hand-painted signs but those have been replaced and people appreciate all the nice signs,” Dube said. “If you make it easier for them and clear up the confusion of what goes where, people will recycle more.”

Dube says the success of NHtB can be told in a simple statistic. “98 percent of the population has access to recycling,” he said. And once a community or school recycles, it can translate into a modest financial benefit. Those benefits can be traced back to assisting both locals and visitors to the state.

“Over the years, New Hampshire the Beautiful has helped a lot of towns get off the ground to get that first batch of materials they could sell and get income for. We are continually there to support and help fund their programs,” he explained.

The Northeast Resource Recovery Association has run programs and offered administrative help to NHtB since 2006. Michael Durfor, executive director of NRRA, said NHtB “has gotten the most bang for the buck” to make New Hampshire a more beautiful place to live and work. This innovative efficiency has helped make New Hampshire a national leader in recycling.

“New Hampshire probably has the strongest recycling program in the country due to NHtB,” Durfor said. “They should be commended for having the longevity, sustainability and staying true to a phenomenal vision.”

And NHtB doesn’t just talk the talk; recently they were green certified with the Green Alliance a NH-based organization representing more than 100 regional green businesses and nearly 4,000 consumer members. “We are furthering sustainability in the state on the ground every day,” adds NHtB’s Dumais. “We are proud to be able to wear that badge and be a truly transparent organization and ultimately we hope that our efforts inspire all NH residents and visitors to do the right thing and reduce, reuse and recycle.”

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