Here in Nelson there was a dump, within memory of some people still here, on the east side of the Harrisville Road just before the town line. We hope that some readers of this article will share their recollections. We can assume that it was, like most dumps of that era, an earth-repository for just about anything. When that shut down there was a gradual transition to Keene (or getting one’s trash collected), though people were so in the habit of going towards Harrisville that many opted for many years to use the Harrisville dump.
Recycling is now a major part of trash processing. There are different systems in different towns, and recently we’ve seen some bad press about recycling just ending up in landfills or incinerators. The situation is complex and occasionally confusing.
To be sure, many sources and solutions to the problem are national or even global: our grocery bags contain much more packaging material than they did in the “old days,” and disposables make up a larger share of stuff that we either need or want. Shopping habits have changed significantly in the last couple of years, and supply chain issues continue to influence our options. What’s a Nelson person to do?
One thing is to realize that just as our trash generation and trash disposal systems have changed over the years, they continue to evolve. Things will continue to change, and we can be a part of that. Perhaps the most important thing is simply to think about what we do in very local terms. What is the impact of our lifestyles on our own little town, and might there be opportunities for new habits, and new technologies, that can enhance the quality and make us less reliant on the quantity of things that pass through our households?
If we look to the resourcefulness of Nelson’s Agricultural Commission and our enterprising young farmers, we get an idea of how hard work and creativity can move us in the right direction. This article doesn’t attempt to present solutions, but hopes to generate discussion and initiatives for the future. Might we discover some answers in our own back yard?