September 28, 2022

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4ocean Hits 10 Million Pound Milestone, Readies Launch Of 100{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} Ocean Plastic Products

The folks at 4ocean have hit the mark, raking in 10 million pounds of ocean trash with a campaign funded by selling bracelets. Now the Florida-based “public benefit corporation” is rolling out items made from 100{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} ocean plastic.

4ocean has been selling $20 bracelets since 2017, pledging to remove a pound of trash for each bracelet sold. They use proceeds from the sales to employ cleanup crews in Florida, Guatemala, Haiti and Indonesia, documenting each day’s collection and posting it on a TrashTracker.

“This is primarily captains and crews cleaning oceans and cleaning coastlines,” says 4ocean CEO Alex Schulze, who co-founded the corporation with fellow surfer Andrew Cooper.

Hitting the 10-million mark doesn’t mean 4ocean has sold that many bracelets. They’re actually removing at least one pound per bracelet because cleanup teams and equipment have become more efficient over the years.

“Our pounds pulled are far ahead of our products sold,” Schulze says. “… We do not tell our teams to slow down if we haven’t sold that many products.”

The bracelets sold by 4ocean have been made from post-consumer recycled materials, but only about 5{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} ocean plastic.

In a couple of months, however, 4ocean plans to start selling phone cases, sunglasses, jewelry and other items made from 100{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} ocean plastic with the same one-pound guarantee. It’s the result of a lot of research and development to overcome contamination and other issues, Schulze says.

“It’s our goal with these plastics to turn them into conversation starters,” he says.

They also can turn into conservation starters if someone ends up buying an item after seeing his friend with one. “We are not a nonprofit,” Schulze explains. “We are a private company. Our business model is to remove plastic from the ocean. We are a lifestyle brand.”

Unfortunately, it’s not hard to find ocean trash, Schulze says. 4ocean targets high-impact areas with a lack of waste management infrastructure, large populations and high elevations. In these spots, rains push plastic like water bottles from streets and alleys down to the water.

What does 4ocean do with the trash it recovers?

Debris that’s collected by cleanup crews around the world is sorted by type and color before being baled for storage. “We try and do everything we can before resorting to landfilling waste,” the CEO says, adding that only about 5{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} of the trash being currently recovered is going into landfills.

Materials that can be recycled go to a local recycling center.

Some of these recyclable materials will be “upcycled” to create the 100{a38ddb2ded6b05e28c8ae73a8db0e271c21f7193684bd9e4e28acae292f81d99} 4ocean plastic products that will go on sale this fall.