United By Blue looks like any other outdoor brand selling a range of clothing and backpacks geared towards intrepid travellers, city commuters and people who love the great outdoors. But there’s a difference in this brand.
While “giving back” and making use of sustainable materials is now thankfully becoming a norm rather than the exception to the rule with some businesses, especially outdoor-wear brands, United By Blue stands out in the way it “gives back”. The business is more “hands on” in its approach – for every product sold, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways.
United By Blue say: “Our pledge to remove one pound of trash means rallying our team and like-minded volunteers to pick up plastic bottles, tires, appliances, and even abandoned trucks, from rivers, streams, creeks, and beaches.
“We started this company by getting our hands dirty — we hosted our first cleanup the same week we sold our first T-shirt. We wanted to do our part to clean the waterways ourselves.
“We created this company because we wanted to make a bigger, more measurable impact on our oceans and encourage people to do the same. So we stopped simply writing checks and started organizing and hosting these cleanups.”
To date, United By Blue has hosted 197 cleanups and removed 1,025,802 pounds of trash across 27 states since it launched in 2010.
They also take care in making sure that their goods are made from sustainable materials like polyester, organic cotton and bison fibre.
Brian Linton, founder of United By Blue, says: “Sustainability is all about responsibility. It is our responsibility to be sustainable – it’s no longer a choice or can simply be done to feel good. It’s also important to recognize that true sustainability is recognizing that it is not a status quo.
“What is sustainable today is not necessarily what we will define as sustainable tomorrow. In fact, my hope is that all the so-called sustainable business practices that we are being praised for this year will be deemed down-right backwards in ten years. We can always do better, we can alway find more sustainable ways. It’s the responsible thing to do.”
Today, the Philadelphia-born business has two retail stores in its home state and has now ventured into New York and Pennsylvania.
United By Blue’s sustainable and durable collection – which includes a line of sustainable basics including tees, plaid shirts and recycled-polyester ponchos for women, a menswear line that includes board shorts, tees and twill pants, as well as outdoor gear including backpacks – is also available online.
All parts of United By Blue’s business operates sustainably. The brand says: “From our construction materials to everyday energy and waste practices to the coffee we serve, everything at our retail locations is done to create as small of an ecological footprint as possible.”
United By Blue encourage people to get involved in their ocean and waterways clean ups held across the US. For more information, visit United By Blue’s website for an event near you.
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, music and arts. Rosalind also works as a counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com