Several decades ago, a team of grocers and beverage companies banded together to expand recycling efforts across New Hampshire. Since then, they have poured millions of dollars into helping towns and cities clean up litter and expand their ability to recycle, and have made landmark achievements in making New Hampshire more beautiful by the day.
For small towns, the biggest hindrance to a successful recycling program is the lack of startup money. NHtB has dedicated themselves to organizing efforts to pay for the startup costs to cover plastic bins, cardboard balers, glass crushers, storage containers, and just about anything else a town might need to start their recycling program. The organization will also design, build and install signs at transfer stations to help residents sort their recycling.
Ray Dube of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England has been a board member for several years, at the forefront of progressive recycling initatives. He remembers the humble beginnings of recycling: "You didn’t have recycling markets back then. Tin cans and metal have been recycled for a long time, but paper and cardboard recycling was almost nonexistent," he said. "Today, things are different; we have towns collecting not just plastic and cardboard, but batteries and clothing too."
In addition, NHtB's ever popular "Blue Bag" program provides plastic bags to towns and nonprofit groups to organize town and highway litter cleanup efforts.
NHtB has recently begun a collaboration with the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA), an organization that provides networking and educational opportunities about recycling and sustainability, to further their outreach. According to Dube, education is one of the most important aspects of New Hampshire the Beautiful.
"We're fortunate to live in a state where almost every town has some sort of recycling program," he said. "We still spend a lot of money on bins and the like, but education is where we’re trying to put our money towards, because that’s how you’re going to get people to recycle more."
Board member John Dumais has been involved with the organization nearly since its inception. For him, the satisfaction of knowing he made a difference and the gratitude of the towns he helped have kept him motivated for decades.
“When we go out to visit the towns we're helping, they are so enthusiastic about the work we’ve done, and the fact that every town is different, it's a great feeling," he said.
New Hampshire the Beautiful is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) Charitable Trust supported by members of the NH Soft Drink Association, the Beverage Distributors of New Hampshire Association and the New Hampshire Grocers Association.