Our Founder and Owner, De’Airius “De” Salibi built RIGO Litter Control on one mission: kick litter to the curb and help revitalize Chicago and its waterways.
It all started with a single Styrofoam cup.
July 4, 2018: De and a group of friends are at Montrose Beach enjoying the holiday and taking advantage of the warm weather. It is a perfect day and all is well except for one thing — the mass of litter. De finds himself picking up after complete strangers — some of which felt so inclined to abandon their trash just steps from the proper receptacles. Although there is a multitude of litter on the beach, there is one piece that catches his eye the most, a lone Styrofoam cup floating seamlessly in the shimmering water. He quietly observes as individuals pay absolutely no mind to the piece of litter that is rapidly getting further and further from its starting point. Once he can’t take anymore, he sprints through the water until reaching the rogue piece of trash. Upon arrival, he sees that something had been sketched around the top half of the cup — RIGO (hence our name). It became evident that someone had allowed their once claimed cup to simply fly away without a clear trace or care. It was at this moment that he realized how immune people have become to the epidemic that is at hand, better known as littering. Since that day, De has vowed to help restore Chicago and its waterways for the sake of its inhabitants and the great number of animals and ecosystems that are directly affected.
De’Airius was born in Waterloo, IA on August 10, 1995 and raised predominantly in Iowa City, IA. He first became intrigued with the world and its many components through the teachings of his grandfathers, who are outdoorsmen and gardening enthusiasts, and via his favorite TV channels — Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. In his teen years, he attended Iowa City High School where he gained varsity letters in three sports and was awarded the prestigious honor of Valedictorian. He also took part in many other extracurricular activities, which included volunteering, fishing, and property preservation. Following his completion of high school, De turned down a partial Division 1 – AA football scholarship to attend Iowa State University (ISU) on a combination of full-tuition and other merit based scholarships. During his time at ISU, he acquired a mass of honors and awards for his leadership and active participation in student, professional, and communal organizations. Some of his most notable achievements include the Iowa African American Hall of Fame Leadership Award, the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Growing Leader Award, and being deemed “the face of food science at Iowa State.” He went on to graduate Cum Laude with a degree in food science. After completion of his academia, he achieved his goal of becoming a food product developer, but quickly realized that there was much more that he could offer to the world. This realization drove him to gain volunteer experiences surrounding food insecurity and to the creation/launching of RIGO Litter Control.
With that, De’Airius urges you to attempt to discover your own passion, take action, and be the positive change that this world so desperately needs. We also hope De’s story helps to motivate you to take charge and kick litter to the curb!