This Fashion Company Removes Trash From Oceans With Every Sale

United By Blue is focused on reducing ocean trash and plastic pollution. The company has pledged to remove one pound of trash from the oceans and waterways for every product they sell.


May 25 2019, Updated 4:34 p.m. ET

Fast fashion has become infamous for its harmful effects on the environment and is considered one of the most polluting industries in the world. Unfortunately, much of that pollution ends up in waterways in the form of waste and dyes. To combat this issue, United By Blue has set out to make a difference through their products and community efforts. 

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Since its inception in 2010, the outdoor brand has focused on conservation work. Specifically, the company makes tackling water pollution a top priority. 

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By focusing on ocean trash and plastic pollution, the team hopes to make a difference with some of the most urgent environmental issues. In fact, United By Blue has pledged to remove one pound of trash from the oceans and waterways for every product they sell. 

So how do they plan to follow through on their promise? The company shifted away from writing checks to help the environment and instead decided to put their energy into first-hand conservation work. 

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Today, United by Blue organizes and hosts cleanups across the United States. The company recruits not only volunteers to clean up, but also their own employees. To make a real impact, the company sets aside time, money, and resources to make these cleanups successful. During theses events, the teams comb through creeks, rivers, beaches, and streams for discarded plastic bottles, styrofoam, tires, and old appliances.

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So far the company has successfully organized 207 cleanups. During the events, they’ve picked up 1,051,079 pounds of trash across the country. While they’ve worked in only 27 states, the company continues to add more states to its roster.

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United By Blue has also linked up with other like-minded organizations to continue making a difference. Last year the company partnered with Lonely Whale, an incubator for ideas that encourages market and policy changes for the oceans. Lonely Whale is also focused on ending single-use plastic straws which wreak havoc on the oceans. 

Through this collaboration, United By Blue made a whale print on their bandanas along with an exclusive soy wax candle line. More recently, they’ve partnered up again to release another collection of graphic goods. Using water-saving organic cotton, United By Blue created Lonely Whale inspired beach gear including a baseball cap, canvas bag, and T-shirt.

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To keep in line with their mission, United By Blue opts for textiles that are better for the soil, air, and oceans. For example, the company uses recycled polyester from plastic bottles since it keeps the bottles out of the water and requires less energy to make. For biodegradable options, United By Blue prefers wool as a natural, renewable resource. 

As an alternative to Black Friday, the company hosts an annual nationwide cleanup the day after Thanksgiving and created a DIY cleanup database to help anyone people join the cause no matter where they are. To participate, just find a public space to pick up trash on November 23rd.

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