4ocean, founded in 2017 by surfers Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper in Boca Raton, Florida by surfers and environmentalists Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper, is on a mission to halt the plastic crisis by recovering trash, advocating for sustainable innovation and motivating people around the world to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics.
To do this, they sell bracelets and other wares that fund their cleanup operations worldwide. It’s a win-win situation for all involved; in 2017, they removed more than 1 million pounds of ocean plastic waste through sales.
Plastic pollution in our oceans is a global crisis, wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems and human health. To address this urgent problem, the Pew Charitable Trusts and London-based sustainability consultancy SYSTEMIQ released an urgent report warning that without action, marine waste could triple by 2040.
Most plastic waste that ends up in the ocean comes from land. It can be carried away by extreme weather events, strong winds or rivers carrying litter into the sea. Common sources include plastic bottles, cups and utensils that people discard after using them.
Another major contributor is ghost gear – abandoned fishing nets and longlines that float in the ocean when ships lose their cargo. Over time, these pieces of plastic float and eventually wash ashore.
In countries like Indonesia, where villages rely on fishing for their livelihoods, the presence of floating debris can pose a significant threat to these communities. Village fishermen are often forced to use their boats to push through mounds of plastic debris, making it difficult for them to catch fish.
4Ocean has launched a program that uses recycled plastics to create products with an environmental purpose. Through collaboration with local artisans, they have created bracelets, bags and apparel made from these recycled plastics.
These products are sold with the promise that each purchase will reduce one pound of trash from oceans, rivers and coastlines. Since 2017, 4Ocean has collected 7.7 million pounds of debris – on track to remove one million pounds per month by 2022.
4Ocean not only sells bracelets, but they’re also helping companies and organizations join the clean ocean movement, reduce their plastic pollution, operate more sustainably and meet key UN Sustainable Development Goals. They are currently developing B2B offerings for groups, businesses and governments who wish to support 4Ocean’s global cleanup operations, reduce plastic pollution and make a positive impact on the environment.
How 4Ocean is Turning Plastic Waste into Sustainable Products
4Ocean is taking action to transform plastic waste into sustainable products by educating people on how to reduce their single-use plastic usage. This is the first step towards addressing the ocean plastic crisis.
Cooper and Schulze were motivated to start 4Ocean after visiting Bali in 2017. During this journey, they witnessed the devastating effects of ocean pollution on its beaches; they noticed a lot of trash not being recycled or disposed of properly and decided that something needed to be done about it.
They created a business model to enable this goal: the One Pound Promise. Under this plan, for every item sold, the company pledges to remove at least one pound of trash from the ocean.
4Ocean has crews located at their Boca Raton headquarters; Indonesia and Haiti that work seven days a week to clean the ocean and coastlines. These men use nets from boats to sift through the water and pull in trash.
After sorting the trash into distinct plastic types, it can be recycled or converted back into pellets for reuse elsewhere.
Once the trash has been separated, it needs to be transported to different recyclers that can handle this volume. After sorting is complete, these materials can be utilized in creating products such as bags and clothing – among others.
They sell bracelets made of recycled RPET (water bottle-type) plastic and beads made of recycled glass bottles. These bracelets are popular, especially among men.
By purchasing these bracelets, people can support their mission and spread the message that small changes in daily life can reduce plastic usage. Furthermore, it helps raise awareness about ocean plastic pollution and its detrimental effects on our environment.
In addition to bracelets, 4Ocean offers reusable water bottles made from recycled plastic as well as hats and t-shirts made with similar materials. All these items can be found at their online store and retail for $20 each.
The Positive Impact
Due to the ocean’s growing trash problem, many startup companies are investing in recycling technologies. These processes take waste from the ocean, sort it, clean it, and convert it into small plastic pellets that can be molded into new products.
One such startup is 4Ocean, founded by Florida surfers Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper after they noticed an abundance of plastic in the water while surfing in Bali. As they saw an opportunity to create a business that would help remove this waste from our oceans, they established 4Ocean with one mission in mind: helping remove plastic pollution from around the world’s shorelines.
Their closed-loop manufacturing process utilizes recycled ocean plastic and other materials collected during cleanups to craft bracelets, jewelry, and more. This helps them reduce their dependence on fossil fuels while remaining environmentally responsible in their operations.
Another positive aspect of 4Ocean’s company is their support of the local community. They employ people living along coastal areas whose livelihoods depend on the health of the ocean. These jobs reduce economic impacts caused by plastic pollution, encourage environmental stewardship at a local level, and offer new chances for growth, equality, education, and prosperity to these communities.
4Ocean has joined forces with GreenCircle Certified, an ocean conservation group, to guarantee that all recycled materials used in their products are traceable throughout their supply chain. Doing this helps create a more sustainable environment for future generations by sourcing materials from verified and transparent sources.
They’ve made it possible for customers to send back their used products for a full refund, allowing them to be reused in the future. Hopefully they will expand this option soon as part of their sustainability initiatives.
In the summer of 2017, surfers Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper founded 4Ocean, a sustainable business that raises funds for ocean cleanups. To do this, they sell bracelets made with recycled plastic pulled from the sea.
The company was formed after meeting local fishermen on a surf trip to Bali, Indonesia who informed them about the massive amounts of trash washing up on their shores. Inspired by this encounter, they devised an idea for bracelets that would raise funds to support their work.
These bracelets are made from post-consumer recycled material and hand assembled in Bali before being shipped to the United States where they will be sold both retail stores and online. A portion of each sale goes towards supporting the company’s global cleanup operations.
Since their launch, the organization has managed to remove more than 7 million pounds of marine waste. They manage one of the world’s largest ongoing ocean cleanups with hundreds of professional full-time captains and crew who clean the seas daily.
Their cleanups are meticulously documented, providing full transparency and traceability for every pound of trash recovered. This data is uploaded into their proprietary tracking system and audited quarterly by the Better Business Bureau.
4Ocean donates part of their profits to fund charity partners such as Coral Restoration Foundation and Project Aware, who work towards protecting marine life. With this funding they are able to expand their global cleanup operations with equipment, boats and crews so they can recover more of the trash that floats in the sea.
It has been proven to be successful and is now being adopted by numerous other companies. The global clean ocean movement is on the rise, driven by people from all walks of life around the globe.
Therefore, it’s essential to recognize that we all must contribute in combatting this problem. Making small changes that will have an effect on our environment doesn’t need to take a lot of effort – just some common sense!
It’s clear that 4Ocean is making a positive impact on the environment through their innovative approach to reducing plastic waste in our oceans. By transforming ocean trash into sustainable products and supporting local communities, they’re not only cleaning up our oceans but also creating a more sustainable future for all of us. Their mission to halt the plastic crisis is not just about cleaning up the mess that we’ve made, but also about educating people on how to reduce their single-use plastic usage to prevent further damage to our planet.
It’s important for all of us to recognize the severity of plastic pollution in our oceans and take action to reduce our plastic consumption. By supporting companies like 4Ocean, we can make a positive impact on the environment and ensure that future generations can enjoy our oceans and marine life. Together, we can all join the effort to clean our oceans and make a difference in the fight against plastic pollution.
Find out more on the 4Ocean website.