Want to take a road trip to clean up our waterways?

United By Blue beach clean up photo
© United By Blue

United By Blue has hosted clean ups in 27 states. Now they want to hit the remaining 23. They need your help.

You don't always smell fresh after a road trip. So it's fair to say that a 2 month long road trip — focused specifically on picking trash out of streams, rivers, lakes and oceans— might present, shall we say, a hygienic challenge. But it also sounds like a whole lot of fun. As I mentioned before, outdoor clothing retailer United By Blue [UBB] has already removed over 1,000,000 lbs of trash from US waterways, and they are aiming to add 500,000 lbs to that number in the coming year alone.

One of the main ways they are going to do that is with an epic road trip, hitting up the 23 states that they've yet to host a clean up in—working with local conservation charities and outdoor retail outlets to mobilize an army of volunteers and engage folks in taking care of the health of our waterways.

And you could join the crew. Specifically, UBB are looking for two energetic, idealistic and organized people to join their clean up road crew for the summer. (Applications due by April 19th.)

Now, whether it's my original post about UBB, or a 20,000 strong clean up in Bali, write ups about litter picking inevitably attract criticism about end-of-pipe solutions, and addressing the symptoms not the causes. But I'm not so sure that's fair. Alongside their clean up efforts, UBB are extremely diligent about both plastic-free packaging and using responsible, often recycled, fibers.

Yes, a summer clean up road trip isn't going to rid us of the plastic scourge. But it is an effective and fun way for people to engage directly with the impact of our plastic habits, and I'm increasingly seeing clean up efforts (like the excellent #2MinuteBeachClean) also standing on the forefront of advocacy and protest too.

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