Buy a shirt, pull a pound of trash out of the ocean

    When Brian Linton founded United by Blue in 2010, he didn’t just want to make shirts, bags and accessories inspired by harbor towns. He wanted to help those coastal environments too. 

    So he made a pledge: For every item the company sells, they’ll remove a pound of trash from oceans and waterways.

    Since the beginning, the Jersey Shore has been a prime location for the company’s clean up events.

    “It makes sense since most of us grew up going to the Jersey Shore, not to mention it’s so close to our headquarters,” says Leslie Weinberg, a United by Blue Clean Up Associate. 

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    Most of their clean ups are partnerships between United by Blue, volunteers, and stores that sell United by Blue products. The events have become mini-parties, says Weinberg.

    “Our cleanups are a lot of fun. We provide supplies, breakfast, treats, and we always end our cleanups with a competition,” she said. At the end of the day, the company asks volunteers to guess how much trash the team collected. Also, as the trash is sorted, organizers set aside odd items and let volunteers vote on the strangest thing picked up that day.

    “We always think we find something weird, and then the next cleanup, we find something even weirder.” 

    Some past winners of that prize include a 1998 Brooklyn College Diploma, a milk jug bitten by a shark, a voodoo doll, Monopoly Money and a car bumper. Most of the trash, though, is stuff that’s easy to keep out of the ocean: plastic bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, plastic utensils. “It’s definitely eye opening for our volunteers,” said Weinberg.

    If you want to volunteer, Weinberg says they prefer that you RSVP through their website so they know how many supplies to bring. If you’re coming with a large group, email them at However, she stresses that showing up the day of is more than fine. They prefer that volunteers wear long pants and close toed shoes, but at beach events, they’re okay with shorts and flip flops. 

    Want join in? Here’s where and how you can be part of their Jersey Shore volunteer teams this summer:

    June 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Corson’s Inlet in Ocean City (59th Street and Central Ave), in partnership with 7th Street Surf Shop.

    July 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 96th Street in Stone Harbor, in partnership with Global Pursuits. 

    July 26 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the end of 5th Street Beach in Surf City, in partnership with Farias’ Surf & Sport

    For a complete schedule of events, and to RSVP, click here. 

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