Alumni work together to save nation’s waterways through business and volunteerism.
In May 2010, Brian Linton founded United By Blue, a sustainable apparel company based in Philadelphia. Linton turned his passion for the environment–specifically oceans and waterways– into a business that would be involved in environmental efforts with a more hands-on approach.
Linton said that while companies making financial donations to non-profits is a good thing to do, it’s not always the most effective way for businesses to utilize their money.
“There’s a potential for a much [more] powerful impact by creating systems and infrastructure within the company to accomplish a very concrete and tangible good,” he said.
Linton is referring to the company’s efforts to clean oceans and waterways. According to the company’s website, UBB will remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through cleanup efforts for every product sold.
Temple alumnus and UBB director of cleanups Mike Cangi, said the most fulfilling part of his job is seeing how the company’s mission works and impacts people.
“At a normal apparel company it really ends at when the consumer buys the product off the shelf. At UBB that’s just where it’s starting, because at that point, that product purchased is helping to remove a pound of trash,” Cangi said. “If that person had no idea what UBB was or they just liked the company and liked our T-shirts for what they were they can go on to learn more about what UBB is, what the problems are with ocean pollution and then even come full circle where they actually come out to a cleanup and volunteer with us.”
On Aug. 30, UBB hosted its 15th cleanup at the Schuylkill River at Bartram’s Garden located just outside Center City. Volunteers came ready and willing to collect as much trash as possible within two hours. As a result, 128 pounds were removed. Forty-three cleanups have been hosted by UBB nationwide.
“We know that we’re not going to remove all the trash from the ocean, but what we do know is that we can make an impact,” Linton said.
Their goal is to remove 100,000 pounds of trash by the end of 2011, and one million by 2012. To date, UBB has removed 28,137 pounds of trash.
“When we start looking at those numbers and we start looking at the fact that as the business grows so does the environmental good,” Linton said. “They’re inseparable so they go hand-in-hand.”
There are numerous ways to become involved. You can purchase 100 percent organic T-shirts on UBB’s website, as well as look for upcoming cleanup events and additional information. They will be hosting their last cleanup of the summer season Sept. 27 at Bartram’s Garden from 5-7 p.m. UBB also has a Facebook page where the latest updates, photos and videos are available.
Kierra Bussey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.