For every person residing in the United States, there are around 152 pieces of litter along the country's waterways and roadways, the Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Liter Study found. Even though littering has been declining in the past years, it's still a big problem – 50 billion pieces of litter are lying around, and 88% is smaller than four inches.

Chris Cavallini
Chris Cavallini Chris Cavallini

The study also showed that most Americans — 90% of them — see littering as a problem in their community. On their part, communities have several tactics they can use to deal with it. These include stopping the use of many littered items, like plastic bags or foam products, promoting recycling, securing trash and recycle bins, and ensuring timely trash collection.

However, picking up what you see is the easiest way to combat litter. For Chris Cavallini and his team at Nutrition Solutions, this type of community involvement has become a commonplace and beloved activity.

"Every week on a Friday, we deploy a couple of teams in the local neighborhoods here in Tampa, Florida, and have them clean up trash," he says. "We set it up as a competition, too."

Nutrition Solutions is one of the leading companies in the meal preparation field. It's known for using high-quality ingredients such as organic eggs and produce, grass-fed and antibiotic and hormone-free protein sources. The company is a major proponent of clean eating, so it doesn't surprise that cleaner communities would be a part of its business culture and agenda.

"It's just a small way that we can contribute, give back, and serve," says Chris Cavallini. "Our mission is to help people, and we try to do that in various ways."

Incorporating community involvement so strongly into the business culture can profoundly affect the parties involved – the communities, the business, and its employees. For the communities, the most obvious benefit is not having to deal with as much litter in their neighborhoods. That might not be the most important benefit, though.

"People in the community take note when you go among them and do things like pick up trash," says Chris Cavallini. "They see it and become more mindful and aware of doing the same thing. So doing this kind of work is very contagious — in a good way — and we want to spread the message and get people more involved."

This activity also helps the business because it strengthens workplace teams. It's an upgraded version of team-building exercises, where people come together to do some work that matters to the community where they do it.

Bound by the common cause, the teams can become more cohesive. But, of course, it helps that Chris Cavallini and the team ensured these activities were also fun, adding a note of competitiveness.

"Whoever brings back the most trash and filled bags has bragging rights. Or the losing team gets to do burpees," says Chris Cavallini. "But then, if burpees are involved, what happens is that everyone does the workout together, no matter who wins."

For the people working at Nutrition Solutions, this type of community work feels good. It's also part of a more extensive employee program at Nutrition Solutions. People who work at the company get paid to work out together and perform community work together. They also enjoy practices such as ice baths and gratitude observances.

Behind this unorthodox approach to creating team cohesion and building a company culture is CEO Chris Cavallini's tireless struggle to rid people of their limiting beliefs. A firm believer in the eternal nature of human potential, he devised the whole gamut to help his employees realize that they can achieve more than they believe they can.

"There are areas of their lives where they're probably not living up to their full potential, even though they might think they are," says Chris Cavallini. "But through that more empowering mindset, they're able to go forward as a different person every time we do that evolution with somebody, and they successfully make it through."

Nutrition Solutions also engages in other forms of philanthropy, mainly through meal donations. It's all part of Chris Cavallini's vision that giving back must be integrated into all aspects of life – including business.

He believes it helped him when he needed guidance, and now it seems an excellent way to provide that same guidance to those who need it. It can even instill a sense of higher purpose. "We want to make the world a better place," says Chris Cavallini. "We do it one meal at a time in some cases. In this case, it's one piece of litter at a time."