For Immediate Release
Date: April 21, 2022


Michael Nork
(603) 271-2906

NHDES Updates Regulations for Composting Facilities in NH

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) recently adopted revised rules for facilities that manage and compost food waste. The new rules went into effect March 23, 2022, and are intended to clarify and simplify requirements for operating a composting facility in New Hampshire. Composting is an important strategy for reducing the amount of food waste disposed via landfills and incinerators. NHDES estimates that Granite Staters disposed of approximately 165,0001 tons of food waste in 2020. The new rules should make it easier for entities to develop additional composting infrastructure in New Hampshire, thereby facilitating more food waste diversion statewide.  

The new rules make it possible for permit-by-notification composting facilities to compost all food scraps, including meat and dairy. Previously, composting of meat and dairy required a standard permit, which involves a more complicated permitting process compared to a permit-by-notification. By allowing meat and dairy composting under a permit-by-notification, the new rules simplify the permitting process, which should encourage entities seeking to start composting facilities in New Hampshire.

The new rules also add two key permit exemptions: one for small-scale food waste drop-off sites and another for community composting facilities. The food waste drop-off exemption allows collection and storage of up to one cubic yard of food waste (equivalent to roughly 40 5-gallon buckets), enabling food co-ops or other community centers to function as collection points without the need for a solid waste facility permit. This exemption could also enable start-up food scrap haulers to develop a distributed network of collection points in rural areas. In addition, the community composting permit-exemption enables a composting facility to process up to 5 cubic yards of food waste per month without needing a solid waste facility permit, allowing community composting operations at a localized scale, such as within a neighborhood or at a community garden. This exemption ensures that small-scale composting has a place in the Granite State, which may be important in rural areas.

The text of the newly-adopted rules can be accessed on NHDES’ website. These rules were the subject of a public hearing and public comment process that took place in December 2021. A summary of comments received and NHDES’ responses are available on the Office of Legislative Services’ Administrative Rules website (starting on page 5 of the linked document).

For more information, please contact Michael Nork, NHDES Solid Waste Management Bureau at or (603) 271-2906.


1This figure is based on US EPA’s national estimate that food waste comprises approximately 24% of municipal solid waste (MSW) sent to landfills. In 2020, New Hampshire residents, businesses, and institutions disposed of about 688,000 tons of MSW.