Carrie Mayo organizes two annual beach cleanups at Long Sands Beach in York and also leads impromptu street cleanups in the neighborhoods along the beach. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Marketing consultant Carrie Mayo has always considered herself an environmentally conscious person, but she took action on those convictions when she decided to work with like-minded companies focused on sustainability and social responsibility. And she also became more active in her community, leading efforts to clean up waste, fight climate change and make life in her hometown of York more sustainable.

In September 2019, she organized a cleanup of Long Sands Beach in York, an event that drew 500 people and has led to more beach cleanups at Long Sands and in New Hampshire, where her business, Mayo Designs, is located.

“We really wanted to have fun with it, and we wanted to focus our attention on changing individuals’ behavior, but in a fun way,” she said. “People tend to want to get involved, they just don’t know how.”

So what have they found at Long Sands? Some pandemic-related trash, such as disposable masks and takeout containers, along with beverage containers, empty bags of chips, all kinds of plastics, cigarette butts, and dog poop bags tied off and left on the beach.

“Surprisingly,” Mayo said, “there’s a lot of debris from the fishing industry.”

They’ve also found lawn chair cushions, grill covers and other detritus blown off decks and patios during big storms.

Mayo, 43, is also active in York Ready for 100, a community effort to combat climate change and transform York into a clean energy community. (The town has pledged to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050.) She helped launch a committee called York EcoHomes that sends York residents monthly suggestions for cutting back on energy use at home.

One of the first actions involved asking residents to swap their old lightbulbs, at no cost, for longer-lasting, energy efficient LED bulbs at two local businesses that partnered in the project. Another new program allows residents to save 10-15 percent on their electric bills when they join a solar farm, even if they don’t have solar panels on their property.

Volunteers form the words “No Planet B” after a cleanup of Long Sands Beach in York. Photo courtesy of Carrie Mayo

Mayo said about 10 percent of the 403 EcoHomes members have signed up for the solar program since it launched in January. (Mayo puts her money where her mouth is. She is building an off-grid home on Scituate Pond, about a half mile into the woods.)

Mayo also chairs a York Ready for 100 committee focused on reducing waste and diverting it from the landfill. Initially, the committee plans to focus on community composting as well as reducing and eliminating single-use plastics. The town of York is offering residents free composting at its transfer station, and residents will get lessons in backyard composting – again, in partnership with a local business.

Phil Coupe, co-founder of ReVision Energy, nominated Mayo for a Source award, he said, because she is “doing everything she can in her private and professional lives to create the better, more sustainable future we know is possible for ourselves and generations to come.”

“Margaret Mead famously said ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,’ ” Coupe said. “The most accurate description of Carrie Mayo that I can provide in a few words is that she is the living, breathing example of Mead’s words.”


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