This is the story of how plastic, local fishermen, a bracelet and two surfers have created a recipe to clean up the massive plastic debris in oceans and along coastlines around the world.
Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper took a surfing trip to Bali that would change their lives and the future of the planet. The post-college trip opened their eyes to the growing problem of ocean plastic. While attempting to enjoy the beach and waves, Alex and Andrew found themselves literally wading through plastic. A local lifeguard told them that the plastic washes ashore each and every day.
The lightbulb went off when the duo saw some local fisherman dragging their boats through mounds of plastic as they headed out to work. With capable boat captains and deckhands already heading into the water each day, Alex and Andrew decided to find a way to give them a new job to do. So, they began paying the crews to retrieve plastic instead of fish. As before, the boats went out each morning, but when they returned, the nets had hauled in a different load— plastic.
As the movement continued to grow, more locals joined the crews and 4Ocean was officially born. This business plan is not only effective in cleaning up the beaches and ocean, but is also providing sustainable jobs for the local community. What began as a focus on Bali has now evolved with the company’s direct involvement in cleaning up the coastlines of 27 countries so far.
With boats and payroll expenses growing around the globe, the founders needed a way to fund the business and they found it in the creation of the 4Ocean bracelet, made from recycled waste materials pulled directly from the ocean. The bracelets are hand assembled on the island of Bali, providing additional work in the community. Recycled plastic is sourced to make the beads on each bracelet. The attached charm is made from recycled stainless steel. They are unisex, adjustable and 100 percent waterproof to appeal to just about anyone. The cord is made from recycled water bottles and although the blue cord is the original, they feature a different color monthly— each representing an endangered sea animal. For example, June is the leatherback sea turtle. Each featured bracelet provides information that aims to raise awareness about these threatened animals and the harm from ocean pollution.
Bracelets are priced at $20 and are packaged in eco-friendly materials. The purchase of each bracelet funds the removal of one pound of plastic from the ocean.
“Buy a bracelet, pull a pound.”
Images via 4Ocean