By Sabrina Artusa
Phil and Patrick O’Brien, owners of the Port Jefferson Station-based clothing brand Anchor East Apparel, hosted their second beach cleanup at West Meadow Beach on July 18.
The brothers grew up on the water and are heavily involved in the boating community. As a result, they decided to actualize their appreciation for Long Island and the water through their brand.
When they developed the line during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, they knew they wanted to use their brand to promote beach cleanups. Only a couple months after launching their business, they successfully held their second beach cleanup on Sunday.
Phil O’Brien said the idea struck them after his daughter cut her foot on a piece of glass on the beach. They realized that in order to ensure the safety of civilians, the beaches need to be cleaner. Although the beaches might look acceptable, the sand is actually covered in “little things” like discarded ketchup packets and broken beer bottles. “You’d be amazed at how much you find,” he said.
After only four hours, they accumulated a sizable pile of garbage, but not all of it was destined for the trash. The brothers dispatch recyclable material to be remade into bracelets, which they sell for $2 each. They donate 100% of the money made from bracelet sales to the Ocean Conservancy.
The O’Briens hope to make the cleanups a regular event, their goal being to hold three every summer. Ultimately, the brothers “plan to keep growing” and host beach cleanups all over Long Island, starting at the East End and making their way west.
Phil O’Brien said he hopes these cleanups will encourage people to more closely observe how they are impacting the beaches.
“We shouldn’t have to have companies promote this,” he said. “People need to be more aware.”
The O’Briens have yet to establish a date for the next cleanup, but are likely going to have another one toward the end of the summer season.