If you love the ocean, you know how valuable clean water is to our planet. United By Blue is your kin. They pledge to remove a pound of trash from the earth’s oceans and waterways for through company-organized cleanups. We knew we had to collaborate with them in our “Do Good” box. We can see that they truly stand for doing good, taking action, knowledge, and community empowerment. Craftly featured their socks, products intentionally created with sustainable materials, in the “Do Good” box. At the end of this interview, see what you can do to help!
Can you tell us your story of how United By Blue came to be?
We started United By Blue in 2010 out of a desire to preserve the place where we play. Instead of writing checks or accepting donations, we wanted to make a real, tangible impact on our oceans — and there are few things more tangible than hauling tires out of riverbeds or picking up plastic bottles along the shoreline.
So we pledged to remove a pound of trash from the earth’s oceans and waterways for every product we sell through company organized cleanups. We hosted our first cleanup the same week we sold our first T-shirt.
What is your mission?
For every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from our world’s oceans and waterways.
So far we’ve hosted 177 cleanups in 26 states and removed 995,291 pounds of trash. 🙌
What inspires you to give back and why?
We can’t afford to not to give back. Environmental and social issues are highly visible to all of us now, we can’t pretend they don’t exist. Many of us have grown up in an age where this information is readily available and daily served to us in various forms.
What’s the most exciting experience you’ve had since your business started?
I distinctly remember being amazed at the amount of trash we found at our first cleanup. I didn’t know what to expect as it wasn’t just the first UBB cleanup, but the first cleanup I ever attended in Philadelphia.
Not only did we find large items like tires, but we also found a lot of consumer trash like chip wrappers and plastic bottles.
That first cleanup made me realize that urban waterways are in dire need of our help, and therefore we focus a lot of our efforts on cleaning up rivers near urban areas — getting the trash before it gets to the ocean.
Tell us about both the Red Rock Bartrams Sock + Humboldt Bartrams Sock we featured in our April box!
The socks are made of recycled cotton – actual leftover yarn from other sock manufacturing processes – so they’re sustainable. They’re perfect for the office or a light hike.
Can you give us an example of what NOT to do when running a business?
When we first set out to create United By Blue, we didn’t have a good balance between the business and the environmental work. We were often focused too much on accomplishing our environmental goals that the business suffered (which in turn could not support the environmental goals).
It took a year or two to strike the balance and achieve true sustainability.
True sustainability to us not just about using responsible materials and organizing and hosting beach and waterway cleanups, it’s also about creating a business with sound economics that can sustainably grow well into the future, allowing us to accomplish more good along the way.
What do you think the world needs the most right now?
More focus on environmental issues and the implications they have on all of us. But it’s not that simple – the world’s population needs a paradigm shift that goes from living in the moment to more thought and care for the future.
Anything else you’d like to share with our community?
Come join us for a cleanup! Click here to see where we’re headed next.