Sustainable Suffield Town Wide Clean-Up Day

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On a sunny Saturday morning, families, friends and local organizations came together to support a wonderful cause. Roughly 100 residents came out to clean up our town. Individuals and groups picked up supplies at Town Hall and were directed to one of the clean-up routes in town. Volunteers were given safety vests and gloves, which were sponsored by USA Hauling. The vests will be saved for future clean-up days. Crews then dispersed to their designated spots. You may have seen some volunteers hard at work at one of the nine different routes across town.

Photo by Anna-Kristin Daub-Murphy
Cub Scout pack with the Bridge St. clean-up crew searching for nips.

I was volunteering with my kids Cub Scout pack. Scouts from Troops 66, 260, 262 and Pack 266 came out to help in the cleanup efforts. The Scouts won “organization with the most volunteers.” We were assigned Ebbs Corner and the Lake Congamond area. We convened in the parking lot at Ebbs Corner and split up into smaller groups to cover more territory. One group came back with over 1100 nips they collected from just two streets. Another group found various car parts, including a tire, axle, muffler and more. My group found mostly trash and cigarettes. So. Many. Cigarettes. In total the scout contingent found 1,905 nips.

The VFW group found over 300 nips on their route, which covered a 4.3 mile stretch from Spaulding to the high school. Another group found 280 nips on a portion of Bridge Street. The number of nips found around town is astonishing. Just three groups found over 2500 nips.

Beginning October 2, 2021, a five-cent surcharge was added to the sale of every nip in Connecticut. Twice a year, in April and October, liquor sellers must report these sales to the Department of Revenue and remit the money to the municipality the store is located in. From October 2, 2021, to September 30, 2023 Suffield received $28,892.19 in revenue from this surcharge. The majority of Sustainable Suffield’s activities have been funded with money from this surcharge, including three clean-up days, a food scrap recycling program, and kicking off food scrap recycling at Spaulding (which has now been absorbed into the school’s budget). While the sale of nips helps fund most of the activities of Sustainable Suffield, the lack of awareness or concern for our environment when discarding them in the street or woods is distressing.

All told, the day was a tremendous success. Over 700 pounds of trash were collected across the nine clean-up routes. Along with nips, cigarettes and car parts, some other unusual items found were computer chips and keys (with and without their locks). Sustainable Suffield sponsored a lunch for volunteers, with raffle prizes supplied by generous donors. We’d like to thank Abiding Acres Farm, Cupola Hollow, Hilltop Farmstore & Creamery, The Plant Lounge, Julie the Garden Fairy, Commonwealth Sustainability and the Second Chance Shop (donated by Tony and Ellen Peterson) for their support and generosity. We look forward to seeing everyone at our next clean-up day (and remember to throw away your nips!!).

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