New Hampshire

Help NH Win Explicit Authority to Regulate Single-Use Items!

Active | January 02 2019

Plastic Pollution

The New Hampshire Chapter is working with our Northeast Regional Manager and environmental advocates across the state to support the passage of this bill that would clarify the State's solid waste regulations to explicitly authorize NH towns and cities to regulate single-use plastics and other items.

HB559 and HB102 were taken off the table over the summer of 2019, and workshopped in a subcommittee of the House Municipal and Government Affairs Committee. Our Northeast Regional Manager attended most of the workshops and provided expert testimony.

The subcommittee moved HB559 forward as a renewed attempt at a statewide bag ban (see this campaign for more info)! 

HB102 advanced favorably out of committee without a new public hearing as substantive changes were not made. The bill advanced is limited in scope from all single-use plastic and instead relegates granting authority to municipalities to regulate single-use paper and plastic bags. HB102 then came to the House floor for a vote on January 9, 2020, and passed! Now it will head to the Senate for a public hearing. Stay tuned for ways to engage! 

You can also email to engage and be added to a listserv of New Hampshire residents working to reduce plastic pollution. 


As initially written, HB 559 AN ACT enabling municipalities to ban single-use sources of plastic pollution sought to clarify the State's solid waste regulations, RSA 149-M, so that local ordinances could advance to address single-use sources of plastic pollution and other items.

The Municipal and County Government Committee voted to retain the bill in March 2019. When the bills to institute a statewide plastic bag ban (HB560) and a straws on demand bill (HB558) failed to pass the Senate, however, the Committee pulled HB559 and a similar bill, HB102, off the table and combined them into a new version of HB559.

A new combo version of HB559 mimics the intents of HB102 in exempting the regulation of single-use items, including expanded polystyrene foam, plastic straws, and checkout bags, from home rule under RSA 31:39, I(m)-(p). The anticipated movement on the renewed combo was set in motion by the scheduling of a work session on August 20, 2019. 

This bill is important in the fight against plastic pollution in New Hampshire, as the state does not have home rule, which means that municipalities do not have the authority to pass regulations without explicit authority provided by the State. 

Efforts to pass single-use bag ordinances in Portsmouth have failed to date, in large part because the city argued that the State's solid waste regulations were not explicit enough to guarantee authority to regulate single-use plastic bags while the State argued it would not pass enabling legislation as it would be duplicative, stating that the authority was already inherent in the solid waste regulations. This cycle has perpetuated...until now! In 2019, there were two multiple bills concurrently before the General Court, along with 2 statewide single-use plastic mitigation bills (straws on request and bag ban), making 2019 the year for pushing the recycled envelope forward to curb this needless pollution! 


SPONSORS: Rep. Spang; Rep. Gilman; Rep. Luneau; Sen. Fuller Clark

The public hearing for this bill was held on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 10:30AM. We had a great showing of support, followed by all the false factual statements one can imagine presented by lobbyists for the plastics industry.

Committee: Municipal and County Government

Executive Session was held on 03/13/2019 10:00 am LOB 301

The Committee that heard public testimony deliberated the bill and decided to retain it for now rather than recommending this bill for or against passage to the full House.

During initial proceedings, we urged residents and business owners to submit thoughts on this bill writing by emailing the Committee:

FMI email

Plastic Pollution

Rise Above Plastics is designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

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