Jaffrey kicks off Earth Week with no-waste potluck and environmental speakers

Carl and Marge Shepardson of Marlborough came prepared to the Jaffrey Earth Day kickoff no-waste potluck by bringing their own plates, decorated years ago by their children.

Carl and Marge Shepardson of Marlborough came prepared to the Jaffrey Earth Day kickoff no-waste potluck by bringing their own plates, decorated years ago by their children. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

Local band Kota plays during the dinner.

Local band Kota plays during the dinner. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Potluck attendees select dishes.

Potluck attendees select dishes. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Melanie Levesque, a candidate for New Hampshire Executive Council, selects a salad for her plate.

Melanie Levesque, a candidate for New Hampshire Executive Council, selects a salad for her plate. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Karl Pruter of Rindge fixes himself a plate.

Karl Pruter of Rindge fixes himself a plate. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Bob Meissner speaks  about ways to move New Hampshire forward with green initiatives.

Bob Meissner speaks about ways to move New Hampshire forward with green initiatives. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

Former state Rep. Marge Shepardson speaks about the need to reduce waste at the production point.

Former state Rep. Marge Shepardson speaks about the need to reduce waste at the production point. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

State Rep. Lucius Parshall, who respresents Cheshire District 8, speaks about green bills in the House.

State Rep. Lucius Parshall, who respresents Cheshire District 8, speaks about green bills in the House. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-18-2024 7:32 AM

Modified: 04-19-2024 3:00 PM


There were no paper plates or plastic utensils to be seen during the Jaffrey Climate Initiative and Jaffrey Conservation Commission Earth Day kickoff potluck on Tuesday, where participants were asked to bring their own plates and utensils for a “no-waste” meal.

Accompanied by live music, residents got to share a meal, provided potluck-style in the United Church of Jaffrey’s Parish Hall, and afterwards, any leftover food waste was scraped from plates into composting buckets to be turned into mulch.

As guests partook of the potluck fare, speakers, including New Hampshire state Rep. Lucius Parshall, Marlborough Energy Committee Chair and former state Rep. Marge Shepardson and Dublin UCC Energy Advocate Bob Meissner spoke about upcoming climate initiatives in the Legislature, and ways citizens can support green practices.

Meissner said one way that citizens can help conserve energy is by looking to their own homes. One issue he discussed is the state’s Energy Conservation Code, which is created by the International Code Council and updated every three years. New Hampshire is currently operating under standards set in 2018 – two cycles removed from the recently updated 2024 code, which is the most recent.

Meissner said that updating the code even to the last iteration, adopted in 2021, would result in reduced energy costs for consumers – about 7.44% annually for southern New Hampshire’s climate, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Meissner also encouraged residents to take advantage of programs available through Eversource to do a surface-level energy audit of their homes, and take steps like replacing lights with LEDs. Those interested can pursue a higher level home audit that can identify areas of the home where heat may be leaking, and other larger issues.

The state should also continue to push to resolve the roadblocks that stand between homeowners who use solar panels and Community Power programs, Meissner said. Community Power programs are a model where large groups can collectively negotiate a power deal, and Jaffrey implemented such a program this year.

Shepardson spoke about the potential benefits of the state adopting an Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR bill, such as one previously proposed by Parshall.

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“EPR is a mandatory type of product stewardship that requires at a minimum, that the producers’ responsibility for their product extends to post-consumer management of that product,” Shepardson said. “The producer should have to have some responsibility for what happens to that bottle, collecting it back and trying to make the bottle itself of more-sustainable materials.”

Shepardson said plastic recycling in the country isn’t robust enough to leave the matter to the consumers – as it only averages about 9%. She said providing fees for the amount of plastic used in packaging of everyday items, or a percentage requirement on the amount of packaging that must be recyclable or renewable, would reduce the amount of solid waste entering landfills.

“So, let’s find a better way,” Shepardson said.

Parshall, who previously introduced an EPR bill, also sponsored a similar bill in the 2024 session of the House. The bill, HB1630, would have placed incentives on reducing toxins and waste by producers, but was determined to be inexpedient to legislate by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Other bills sponsored by Parshall this year include HB1504, which would establish a paint-recycling program mandating that any producer of architectural paint sold in New Hampshire set up a program for the collection and recycling of the paint. The bill has passed in the House, and is currently in committee within the Senate.

Parshall said he has also sponsored other green initiative bills this session, including a smart-meter bill and plastic bag ban.

Jaffrey’s town-wide roadside clean up will take place from April 19 through April 30.

On Saturday, April 20, from 10:30 a.m. until noon, people can celebrate Earth Day at the Jaffrey Woman’s Club Cutler Memorial Building at 33 Main St. The event will feature activities, resource tables and a photo booth. Attendees can create an ocean in a bottle and learn about ocean ecology or assemble a mason jar terrarium, or take home coloring and crossword puzzles. The event is free and open to the public.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.