From The Good Life To A Green Life

In the heart of downtown Tampa when most people are at work, people are scouring the banks of the Hillsborough River for garbage.

"This has kind of just washed up in the last, probably, week," Jeff Albanese told CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella.

Bagging it all is a full-time job, and strange as it may seem, that's just what Albanese, his brother Vince, and his cousin Mark Maksimowicz have turned it into - trading in corporate careers for garbage collecting.

"We were at a restaurant one night just sitting trying to have a meal and there's trash floating down the river," Maksimowicz said. "I'm not talking a cup or a plastic bag, just rolls and rolls of trash coming in with the tide. We said that's it, no more."

So Mark and Jeff said goodbye to the corporate world - Mark to a $90,000 salary.

They pooled their savings, bought a boat, and launched the Green Armada, a non-profit group funded by corporate sponsors, trolling the rivers and bayous in Tampa and St. Petersburg for trash.

They see themselves as the mavericks of the green movement. They don't lobby, they don't demonstrate, they don't ask for government help.


Couric & Co. Blog: The Green Armada Sets Sail
"We're green, but we're OK with getting muddy," Vince said. "We're not scientists. We're really just citizens out there doing one simple thing: We pick up trash, and we're making a difference that way."

That renegade spirit won over the mayor of St. Petersberg, Fla., who not only waived city dumping fees, he's actively fundraising for them.

"With the business plan they're trying to create I can see how it could expand and expand and expand and provide a great service, not just for St. Pete, but to all of Florida and anybody who's got a waterfront," said Mayor Rick Baker.

In the nine months since they started, the Green Armada has bagged 40 tons of trash - by hand.

"This we would collect in a week," Mark said, pointing to a massive pile of garbage.

And they've managed to convince more than 200 volunteers like Tricia Toules to get their hands dirty too.

"The places we've worked we've seen the life come back," Toules said. "the birds are coming back; the fish are coming back."

This is success the Green Armada would like to spread to every coastal city in America.