Source to Sea Cleanup challenges Dunkin', Cumberland Farms

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GREENFIELD, Mass. — The Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) is hosting its 23rd annual Source to Sea Cleanup on Sept. 27 and 28. This year, CRC is asking cleanup participants and all who enjoy our rivers to join them in demanding an end to trashed rivers.

CRC is challenging two companies via social media — Dunkin' and Cumberland Farms — whose trash is regularly found during the Source to Sea Cleanup.

"After cleaning up tons of trash year after year for 22 years it's clear that repeated cleaning is not the solution to our trash problem," said CRC Executive Director Andrew Fisk in a press release. "We need to redesign our economy so there isn't waste in the first place. It's time businesses step up to voluntarily do the right thing by offering more sustainable, reusable, recyclable, and compostable options."

CRC encourages all individuals to always properly dispose of and recycle your waste rather than contributing to litter in our rivers. Still, businesses and corporations play a big role in deciding what products end up in consumers' hands and eventually make their way into the waste-stream. CRC argues it's time that corporations take responsibility for their role in trashing our rivers.

"We invite everyone to join us in telling them we expect better," said Stacey Lennard, CRC Cleanup coordinator. CRC points out that given how much Dunkin' and Cumberland Farms trash is found during the Source to Sea Cleanup, these companies have a unique opportunity to make a huge difference for our rivers by using more environmentally-friendly options.

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Consumers have been trained by businesses to rely on unnecessary disposable and single-use plastics. Meanwhile, businesses and manufacturers are profiting by making these products out of cheap, petroleum-based plastic that is harmful and doesn't easily break down. Producers and manufacturers then pass the responsibility and disposal costs for the products they make to the consumers, which lead to litter and polluted rivers.

According to CRC, the best way businesses and corporations can cut down on their products becoming litter in our rivers is to offer more reusable options, like coffee mugs and drink cups. Dunkin' already offers a robust line of reusable mug options, but don't promote or incentivize them, whereas Cumberland Farms offer few reusable options. Additionally, bio-plastics are emerging as a promising alternative to plastic made from fossil fuels. There are plenty of eco-friendly cups and dishware items on the market that businesses should be using. These new plastics are compostable, break down in the marine environment as food, are made from waste, and are made with less energy and environmental impact than traditional petroleum plastics.

"We all have a responsibility to solve this problem," said Fisk. "We are responsible as consumers to make good choices in how we purchase and dispose of products. Manufacturers, businesses, and government are also responsible and it's time they do their part. By working together, we can make a real difference for our rivers. These ideas are going to take time, decades even. And we'll keep at it as long as it takes. But our rivers need change now."

Over the past 22 years, Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers have removed more than 1,100 tons of trash from our rivers. The Source to Sea Cleanup is a two-day river cleanup coordinated by CRC in all four states of the 410-mile Connecticut River basin (N.H., Vt., Mass., Conn.). Each fall, thousands of volunteers remove about 50 tons of trash along rivers, streams, parks, boat launches, trails and more. For more information or to register for the event, visit ctriver.org/cleanup.

Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. CRC collaborates with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities. They bring people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your rivers. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to make a contribution to help protect your rivers, visit ctriver.org.


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