How one company removed 1,000,000 pounds of trash from our waters

river clean up photo
© United By Blue

United By Blue is not messing around.

We write a lot about interesting startups here at TreeHugger, and not all of them make it to fruition. That's why—after writing about the very awesome #2MinuteBeachClean—I was delighted to get an email from United By Blue, the green-minded apparel company, which Jaymi lauded for removing 82,527 pounds of trash from rivers, streams and beaches back in 2011.

As Warren had noted even earlier, the concept is pretty simple. For every item sold, United By Blue will remove one pound of trash from the environment. What's important to note here is that we are not talking about simply donating to ocean clean up charities. Instead, the company sees clean up as an integral part of their own operations—dedicating staff time, budget and resources to organizing clean ups themselves, and bringing a community of volunteers along for the ride.

It's a pretty neat model. And now, with a full e-commerce store selling everything from bison wool beanies to pants and t-shirts and luggage, as well as three brick-and-mortar retail locations, United By Blue has just announced that they have collected over 1,000,000 pounds of trash since their inception. That number was reached by hosting 207 separate clean up events across 27 states, and I have word from their team that there are much, much bigger plans brewing for the year ahead.

I can't say more at this stage, except watch this space. Given the massive uptick in interest in ocean plastics recently, United By Blue may be a business model whose time has finally come.

So glad to see they made it to maturity.

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