Photo: United By Blue

Turn Black Friday Blue

Join United By Blue and Public Lands in a Nationwide Clean-Up Effort This Holiday Season

To combat the consumerism that often accompanies the holiday season, United By Blue and Public Lands are partnering to encourage outdoor adventurers and advocates to make a simple choice: community cleanup over online or in-person shopping.

On what’s traditionally known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that often leaves shoppers frazzled and wallets dented, the two companies will kick off a “Blue Friday” campaign as an alternative that’s healthy—for both you and your favorite outdoor places to play. Here’s how it’ll work.

Once you register to participate in your own neighborhood, park, or waterway cleanup ahead of time on United By Blue’s website, you can either pick up a free DIY cleanup kit at a Public Lands store in Pittsburgh or Columbus or order it online at publiclands.com and the United By Blue site. This kit includes reusable gloves, a reusable garbage bag, and a United By Blue bandana.

On Blue Friday, Nov. 26, and for two weeks through Dec. 10, grab family, friends, your dog, or just yourself, and head out to pick up trash in your area. You’ll be rewarded with feel-good vibes, fresh air and exercise, plus a cleaner natural space, you’ll also be entered to win prizes from United by Blue.

If a safe, socially distant outdoor event sounds appealing, two in-person events will also give those in the Columbus and Pittsburgh areas opportunities to do good in company. On Friday, Dec. 4, join Public Lands and United by Blue staff, local nonprofit organizations and other volunteers at local parks near Public Lands stores in the two cities for fun and festive trash pick-up events. Live music, gear giveaways, and friendly competition—the two events will compete to see which collects more trash—will help get you into the holiday spirit.

The Columbus event will benefit the nonprofit FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed), which strives to keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh event benefits Friends of the Riverfront, a nonprofit dedicated to building safe, clean, and accessible riverfront trails as part of Pennsylvania’s Three Rivers Heritage Trail System.  

Photo: United By Blue

At the end of the two-week campaign, the collective impact will be announced, totaling the amounts of trash picked up through both the DIY Cleanups across the country and the in-person events. That sum will be announced at then end of December by Public Lands as well as added to United By Blue’s annual pick-up tally. (Currently, the company removes a pound of trash from waterways each year for every single item sold throughout the previous year).

“This is our fifth annual Blue Friday campaign,” says United By Blue Sustainability Manager Maria McDonald. “It’s our effort to shift from consumption to participation in a form of activism.”

This is the first year United By Blue has partnered with another organization (Public Lands) and extended Blue Friday into a two-week event.

“I love the surprise element of two for-profit businesses coming together for something that has nothing to do with sales or products,” adds McDonald. “We’ve united our common goals in protecting waterways and public lands. The core piece of this is coming together for an environmental and community cause.”

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.