No matter whether you’re shopping for grooming accessories, a new jacket, coffee beans or camping supplies, United By Blue can help you shop responsibly. Founded in 2010, the online marketplace works to remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways per each product sold. The company also has brick and mortar stores; its first location opened in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia in 2013. What makes United By Blue unique in the world of business is that the company is the one making an impact – not necessarily its money. Instead of accepting donations or writing checks like many for-profit businesses, United By Blue fulfills its pledge to improve the environment through company-organized, hands-on cleanups.
Go green by going blue
As an apparel and accessories brand, the company puts environmental conservation first. United By Blue has a simple mission: help heal oceans. The company believes that everyone has a stake in the future of the environment, especially businesses with the power to make a difference. The company’s main philosophy is “every living creature is united by the blue of our world’s oceans and waterways,” which inspired the creation of the hashtag, #BlueMovement.
What is the #BlueMovement?
By using social media to promote an active, outdoor lifestyle and raise awareness about ocean cleanup, United by Blue’s #BlueMovement makes reducing a consumer’s carbon footprint easier. The company explains how the #BlueMovement works; a consumer buys a United By Blue product, the company teams up to find a cleanup location, cleanup crews work together to remove a pound of trash from waterways and people promote sustainability awareness.
Artists, explorers, trailblazers and people who want to protect the environment use the #BlueMovement while they’re hiking a mountain, enjoying a boat ride or volunteering – anything that involves being a steward toward the Earth.
Find a cleanup
People who want to put in extra time to help the environment can work directly with United By Blue and other partner organizations to volunteer with a cleanup. Check out the company’s website to find upcoming cleanup events and sign up for a cleanup event near you.
Since United By Blue is designated as a B Corp, the products it sells also try to be as Earth friendly and sustainable as possible. The company uses organic cotton in all its clothing, which means that no chemical fertilizers or pesticides used to grow cotton are polluting water systems. For clothing made with mixed fabric, such as polyester, the company uses recycled plastic bottles to create the material. The company also uses Tencel, a botanic fiber extracted from raw wood pulp. It’s also important to note that all products are made in the United States of America, keeping business local and greener.
Buy responsible goods
The company sells several different products, but one of its more recent lines is the Bison Collection. This collection of products includes jackets, socks and a patch that shows support for the outdoors and the use of byproducts. For example, the Bison Snap Jacket is insulated with B100 FILL, or bison fiber and regenerated polyester. The fiber is a byproduct of the meat industry and the polyester is created from recycled bottles, recycled polyester and manufacturing waste that would have been discarded. This particular jacket does come with a price of $248, but is comfortable in temperatures between 32 to 70 degrees. Also, similar to all United By Blue products, the purchase of this jacket helps remove a pound of waterway trash.
Besides home goods and clothing items, the company also sells apothecary goods. United By Blue sells sunscreen, lip balm and sea salt spray. Its Elemental Herbs All Good Sunscreen, for example, costs $16 and is vegan, gluten free, hypo-allergenic, biodegradable, GMO free and paraben free. Its ingredients include organic oils and natural zinc that give it an SPF of 33.
United By Blue also acts as a coffee shop at its Philadelphia location, so it’s only natural for them to sell an Aeropress Coffee Maker too. The coffee maker yields one to four cups of coffee and takes less than a minute to press. The materials are made from fully-recycled plastic and do not contain BPA or phthalates. It’s $34 and includes a plunger, seal, chamber, filter cap, filters, filter holder, scoop, stirrer and funnel.
Check out its locations
With a foundation in sustainability, United By Blue extends its eco-friendly efforts to its physical store locations. Construction, waste practices and the coffee served at United By Blue locations have a small-as-possible ecological footprint, keeping up to B Corp standards.
You can shop online or at store locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The company's Pennsylvania stores include its flagship store (Old City, Philadelphia) and Walnut Street location (University City, Philadelphia) that act as coffeehouses, as well as its State & Union location in historic Kennett Square (the company’s first and only store-in-store concept). The New Jersey location sits right off the Atlantic Coast and acts as the company’s Summer Outpost, situated right on the Asbury Park boardwalk. The final – and most recent – location is in the New York City neighborhood of NoLita (North of Little Italy) off Elizabeth Street.
Be sure to explore the United by Blue website for events and classes held at its stores. Activities such as the Beer and Coffee Brewing Workshop, Kombucha 101 Workshop and an Aqua Vida SUP Yoga + Cleanup Series happen all summer long.