100,000 lbs of litter removed from waterways—here’s how it happened

Litter
No trash talk here. We’re excited to talk about Osprey Initiative’s clean-up efforts. Photo via Osprey Initiative

An Alabama-based environmental contractor out of Mobile called the Osprey Initiative is cleaning up waterways throughout the country with their innovative litter collecting devices. Their efforts have led to an outstanding 100,000 pounds of litter being removed from our waterways so far. Here’s how they made it happen.

What is the Osprey Initiative?

Litter
The team of Osprey after a successful cleanup. Photo via Osprey Initiative

Osprey Initiative is a unique environmental contracting company that brainstorms solutions to specific environmental problems on a case-by-case need for their clients and communities.

Founder Don Bates originally created Osprey Initiative as a direct response to the collosal amount of trash he saw piling up in Alabama’s waterways. During a volunteer clean up in 2017, Don and his team pulled over 200 bags of trash out of a small, one-mile stretch creek within a Mobile canal. This got him thinking about how much more trash there had to be in that canal and in every other waterway in America.

With the billions of pounds of litter finding its way into our oceans and waterways each year, Don knew our current clean-up solutions weren’t enough to reverse or even dramatically slow the storm of pollution raining down.

Osprey Initiative was thus born to fill this gap. They invented litter collection devices that intercept floating debris from stormwater runoffs.

While machines help current clean-up, teams install, maintain and collect data from the devices. Data is then given to their partners who can take action to help stop the waste at its source.

How do they do it?

Litter Clean-Up Device
The Litter Gitter in action. Photo via Osprey Initiative

The team at Osprey Initiative developed the Litter Gitter as the main solution to the problem. It was the first of their now three litter collecting devices, including the Litter Boom and Litter Interceptor.

The Litter Gitter is a low cost, low maintenance trash collecting device that can be easily installed and moved to intercept litter at the source. There are currently 42 Litter Gitter sites across nine states, including Alabama.

The success of the Osprey Initiative in reaching their 100,000 lbs milestone is partially due to these trash collecting devices, but has a lot to do with their amazing crew. Their Give Five program demonstrates this team effort, as they commit to matching five percent of their gross revenue to cleanups and community projects, through volunteer time and talents.

If you want to support Osprey Initiative’s efforts, check out their product line for fun items to purchase like sustainable bags and recycled glass jewelry. Five percent of all revenues help fund future litter cleanup efforts.

If you know of others making an impact, let us know by tagging us @thebamabuzz!

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Miranda Shaffer
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