News / Economy

Clothing Company Ties Sales to Ocean Cleanup

Volunteers join United by Blue employees at one of the clothing company's many trash cleanups. (M. Petrillo/VOA)
Volunteers join United by Blue employees at one of the clothing company's many trash cleanups. (M. Petrillo/VOA)
Matthew Petrillo
For every piece of clothing it sells, the Philadelphia company, United by Blue, pledges to remove a pound of trash from oceans, rivers and creeks.

Volunteers and company employees keep that promise by descending upon temporary garbage dumps that contain just about everything you’d find in a typical landfill. But instead of the trash being properly disposed of, it had been a part of the six billion kilos of waste that pollute the ocean each year.

“The potential for that getting into the food chain and that polluting fish and ultimately us for eating fish is a big issue,” says Brian Linton, who has always been passionate about the ocean.

When he founded United By Blue in 2010, he decided his clothing company would make clean water its focus. For every item sold, he has pledged to remove a pound of trash - half a kilo - from rivers, oceans and other waterways.
Clothing Company Ties Sales to Ocean Cleanupi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Matthew Petrillo
May 29, 2012 4:55 PM
For every piece of clothing it sells, the Philadelphia company, United by Blue, has pledged to remove a pound of trash from oceans, rivers and creeks. VOA's Matthew Petrillo reports.

“Doing something that matters is going to make our business successful and the environmental initiatives that we have successful,” he says.

United By Blue makes a statement about both fashion and the environment. Linton believes the world is connected by the oceans and his company lives up to its name by holding one or two cleanups every week each summer, using employees and recruiting volunteers.
 
“I think these cleanups can make a big change, and if you have enough of them, then it can make a big difference to people,” says Ally Canestri, a cleanup volunteer.

That’s true for Nick Tannahill, who’s on his second cleanup with his college fraternity and they plan to keep coming back.

“With any cleanup, really, it’s just hanging out with my brothers," Tannahill says. "Because we’re not at school, we don’t have to worry about work, we’re just doing something that we know is right, helping the community.”
This United by Blue t-shirt, as seen on the company's website, sells for $34. (Courtesy United by Blue)This United by Blue t-shirt, as seen on the company's website, sells for $34. (Courtesy United by Blue)
x
This United by Blue t-shirt, as seen on the company's website, sells for $34. (Courtesy United by Blue)
This United by Blue t-shirt, as seen on the company's website, sells for $34. (Courtesy United by Blue)

The 60 cleanups United By Blue held last summer removed more than 36,000 kilos of trash.

“It’s really important for us to clean the waterways, the riverbanks and the shores that are close to where we live because it’s that last chance we have to grab that trash before it makes its way up to the ocean,” says employee Alli Blum, who believes protecting the ocean is a community responsibility.

United By Blue spends between $2,000 and $5,000 on each clean-up, which includes salaries for employees, food and beverage for all the helpers and disposal costs for the trash they collect.

Jaine Lucas, who heads the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University, says the cleanups add value to United By Blue clothing.

“A lot of people will do that type of thing simply as a marketing ploy," she says. "And where Brian has been very successful is that his passion for oceans and water conservation has been sincere and very authentic to him.”

And to Linton, that means being more than another company that sells T-shirts.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8012
JPY
USD
117.52
GBP
USD
0.6346
CAD
USD
1.1249
INR
USD
61.875

Rates may not be current.