REI Coop Journal
Good Gear: Buy a Flannel, Help Save the Ocean
December 6, 2019
On a muddy shore, five volunteers dig for tires. A dozen comb the beach for old water bottles and railroad ties. Several cut tree branches entangling vehicle carcasses. A person operating a skid-steer loads a barge with torched pieces of a boat’s steam tank, while another hauls decrepit trash from an amusement park that burned down in 1927.
For decades, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection struggled with the cost and scope of cleaning up Burlington Island, a 300-acre slice of land in the Delaware River, south of Bristol. The island had become an Army Corps dump site and by 2012, the chemical pollution was so bad that the Burlington, New Jersey, mayor banned all recreational use. Enter an unlikely hero: outdoor apparel brand United By Blue.