It all began 13 years ago. Keurig Green Mountain’s (Keurig’s) support of National River Cleanup® started in 2004 with a single cleanup event in Vermont, and, since then, has grown to a multi-month program of cleanup events taking place in Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Vermont, and Massachusetts. This year in Vermont, more than 155 employees volunteered their time over the course of the week, covering 18 miles of the river and collecting a whopping 9,730lbs. of trash. Over the years, hundreds of our Vermont employees have collectively spent thousands of hours cleaning up the Winooski River, which adds up to quite a bit of trash!
Despite foul weather warnings this summer, the majority of volunteer shifts ended up having the perfect weather to go down the river on a canoe. Volunteers were eager for the “tire challenge”, an informal competition between canoes to see who could collect the most tires from the bottom of the river. Fortunately, the competition wasn’t that strong this year as there was significantly fewer tires in the river this year as in previous years. In total, Keurig’s Vermont volunteers collected only 154 tires this year v. last year’s 345
In addition to the tire competition, volunteers also worked together to find the most unique trash items along the river. The top finalists included a vintage wagon wheel, an old water canister, and a very wet teddy bear. Though items like the wagon wheel and water canister weren’t easy to remove, teams worked together to uncover the items from the mud and load them onto their boats for removal. In the end, everyone collected their fair share of interesting trash and left with some great stories and shared experiences with their co-workers.
Volunteering opportunities are a great way to connect with your team and meet new people within the company. Whether volunteers came down as individuals or as part of a team, everyone shared the fun going down the river. By the end of the shift, everyone had made a new friend, learned something new, and did their part to make the Winooski River just a little bit cleaner! Until next year…
Author: Sarah Shutt, a Northeastern student majoring in Human Services on a six month Sustainability Co-Op with Keurig.