4ocean Plastic Cleanup Initiative
Meet the ocean’s newest superstars: recently, they’ve made the news, boasting about their unprecedented, newly christened, state-of-the-art Ocean Plastic Recovery Vessel.
Advertising campaigns featuring eco-friendly bracelets for worthy causes have gone viral, appearing relentlessly in social media feeds worldwide. Bracelet-driven eco-campaigns scale quickly and manage to achieve extraordinary notoriety outside of conventional environmental groups and activist circles. 4ocean LLC is not just another player in the field, they were the fledgling ocean activism company, and they are taking the world by storm.
It is no surprise to ocean-minded folks that these big salty water bodies are vital for purposes beyond just recreation. Global prosperity and food production are dependent on healthy oceans. Billions of people worldwide rely on healthy oceans to provide reliable employment food security. Healthy oceans trap excess carbon and are vital to mitigating global climate change.
Do you appreciate inhaling fresh air? Well, guess what, some of the smallest ocean inhabitants provide most of the world’s oxygen.
We intuitively know that we vote with our dollars, and each dollar we spend has an impact on the world. A 2015 Nielsen report in consumer spending showed the sustainability of a brand is a significant force driving the spending habits for more than 66% of global consumers.
It has become clear that a majority of consumers from all backgrounds and representing all income brackets are willing to pay a premium for sustainable brands. Determined to put an end to the international crisis of plastic pollution, 4ocean LLC is fast becoming the world’s largest and most successful ocean cleanup company. The 4ocean business model is brilliantly simple. Buy an eco-friendly beach bracelet, reusable water bottle, or ocean cleanup kit from their online store, and your hard-earned dollars directly fund the 4ocean cleanup operation that has already removed more than 2.2 million pounds of trash from the ocean. The entire 4ocean operation, including boats, cleanup crews, warehouse operations, and paychecks for more than 150 employees, is funded solely by product sales from the 4ocean online store. By supporting 4ocean, your dollar really does make a difference.
Your purchase from the 4ocean store directly supports the 4ocean “One Pound Pledge” promise:
“Our One Pound Pledge to our customers is that 4ocean will remove one pound of trash for one bracelet purchased from the ocean and coastlines within 12 months from the time of purchase. Some of the trash that we have removed as part of the 4ocean one pound pledge may have been removed from the ocean or a coastline, which is defined as Ocean-bound trash. 4ocean defines the term “Trash” as any man-made material that does not belong in the ocean or is damaging to the environment.”
Human activities have put our environment, and especially our oceans, at serious risk. Inappropriate coastal development, destructive fishing practices, and the introduction of harmful pollutants are examples of activities that continue to taint our oceans, leaving billions of ocean-dependent people worldwide vulnerable and insecure.
From the poles to the equator, every ocean habitat and shoreline biome has been contaminated by ocean trash. Ocean pollution research papers report around 70% of ocean trash is made up of plastic. Billions of tons of plastic are already in the ocean, and nearly eight million tons are introduced each year.
Plastic, from the Greek plastikos, meaning “capable of being shaped or molded,” was designed to be an enduring product that would persist for decades. The longevity of plastic and the failure of plastic to biodegrade was intentional, and allowed for long-term, repeated use of plastic products. At the time of its mainstream introduction, the availability of plastic was considered ingenious and novel, and the world’s love affair with plastic began.
We have radically altered the way we use plastic since mass production began in the early 1900s. These days, most plastic products are designed to be used only once. Items like disposable water bottles, plastic bags, straws, and food packaging are called “single-use plastics.” Millions of tons of these single-use plastics end up in the ocean every year as a result of both irresponsible individual behavior and poor waste management practices.
Plastic was designed not to biodegrade, and it instead breaks down into tiny pieces called “microplastics.” There are 13 times more microplastic fragments in our oceans than stars in the mighty Milky Way Galaxy. An estimated 5.25 trillion microplastic fragments are present in our oceans worldwide.
Microplastics get gobbled up by myriad ocean critters, who either mistake them for food or ingest them accidentally. The plastic bioaccumulates up the food chain, eventually ending up in our very own diet. Evidence of pollution can be not just in the ocean, but on our dinner plates as well.
Microplastics maintain the chemical properties as their larger counterparts, and with each bite, we are exposing ourselves to harmful toxins with uncertain consequences. Microplastics are not the only plastic-related threat facing our precious marine life. All types of plastic pollution have deadly impacts.
Each year, countless marine animals perish as a direct result of ingesting plastic or becoming tangled in marine debris. You have likely seen the heartbreaking videos of sea turtles with plastic straws stuck up their nose, whales tangled in derelict fishing gear, seals with six-pack rings around their neck, and deceased seabirds with stomachs full of plastic trash. While the situation is desperate, we can act. By supporting 4ocean, we are enabling the fight against plastic pollution and affecting positive global change.
From their global headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, the for-profit LLC 4ocean has bravely accepted the challenge to combat a physical pollution problem of global proportions. With more than 2.1 million followers combined between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, 4ocean has leveraged the power of social media to scale quickly and generate a loyal following. Millions of individuals around the world have engaged in the 4ocean global movement. To date, with the help of volunteers like you, the team at 4ocean has removed more than 2.2 million pounds of trash that would otherwise be spoiling our marine environment and impacting marine life.
Success and notoriety have come quickly for Alex Cooper and Andrew Schulze, the millennial founders of 4ocean. Both hailing from the Sunshine State, 4ocean founders Andrew and Alex are accomplished world travelers and outdoor aficionados. Avid scuba divers, salty surfers, seasoned fishermen, and qualified boat captains, they are no strangers to adventurous travel in exotic destinations. It was in Bali that they were first confronted with piles of discarded plastic continuously washing up onshore. After watching local fishermen shoving boats out to sea through a seemingly endless field of debris, they approached and asked why locals don’t remove the plastic from the beach. The answer they received was along the lines of “we get paid to fish, not pick up trash.” Alex and Andrew were devastated, yet they knew something had to be done to stop the proliferation of plastic pollution. They got to work designing a program that would fund efforts to clean up these physical pollutants. 4ocean is the result of their creative thinking and ambitious entrepreneurial mindset.
The 4 OCEAN Pillars
Utilizing both conventional and novel technologies, 4ocean has established itself as a significant force in the fight to remove plastic from the ocean. The success experienced by 4ocean relies on what they have named the 4 OCEAN Pillars.
O is for OPTIMIZING TECHNOLOGY. Barricade systems strategically placed near river mouths stop plastic from flowing into the ocean. Amphibious excavators with customized claws recover plastic from places people can’t go. Large offshore seagoing vessels, Munson landing crafts, and small panga boats transport equipment and haul hundreds of thousands of pounds of reclaimed plastic.
C is for CREATING JOBS. With just two employees at inception, 4ocean now employs more than 150 people globally. Their Ocean Plastic Recovery campaign has provided sustainable employment alternatives and s reliable income source for people around the world reliant on making a living at sea, such as fishermen. 4ocean jobs have resulted in opportunities for education, equality, and prosperity, and professional growth in communities that need it most.
E and A are for EDUCATION and AWARENESS. By hosting cleanups in communities around the world, 4ocean educates individuals, corporations, and governments on the impacts of ocean plastic and other hazards on the marine pollutant list. Raising awareness changes behavior and spurs continued action. Did you know that even if you live inland, removing debris from your local waterways will have an impact by preventing land-based pollution from reaching the ocean?
N is for NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIES. By monetizing ocean plastic, a new economy is created for the removal of trash, making it easier to stop it from entering the ocean. David Katz – founder, and CEO of Plastic Bank – encourages you to think about it like this, “I like to talk about this parable of acres of diamonds. If you’re walking over diamonds, and there’s no bank, no store, nothing you can do with them, they stay on the ground as rocks. We give value to plastic and get it off the ground by accepting it as a form of currency. Once we do that it’s not litter. It’s cash. No one throws cash on the ground.” (Read More)
Affiliating with non-profit organizations is a point of pride at 4ocean. Each month, a different non-profit partner is featured, and a limited-edition bracelet is created that raises funds for the partner’s worthy cause in addition to supporting the 4ocean One Pound Pledge. Recent partnerships have featured Seabird Bracelets to help BirdLife International save seabirds from ocean plastic, Shark Bracelets supporting shark conservation with Project AWARE, and Overfishing Bracelets helping the marine conservation institute SeaLegacy win the fight for sustainable fisheries.
It is smart to question the legitimacy of any organization that you choose to support with your hard-earned dollars. Websites like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator can help guide your search for reputable charity and non-profit organizations. Are you concerned that 4ocean isn’t profiled on these types of sites? Don’t be. 4ocean is a privately held for-profit company, not a charity or non-profit. Does this mean it is a scam? Certainly not. But how do we know?
4ocean LLC is registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), an independent organization helping consumers find trustworthy businesses and charities. Four times a year, BBB listed businesses submit reports substantiating any claims the business makes. The BBB reviews these reports and assigns an A-F rating based on how well the reports validate the claims. 4ocean provides the BBB with these quarterly reports, supplying documentation demonstrating how they live up to their pledge to remove one pound of ocean trash for each product sold. While private companies are not required to disclose their financial earnings publicly, 4ocean’s high BBB rating is reason to trust their claim that the entire 4ocean operation, from cleanup crews to warehouse operations to customer service specialists, is funded exclusively by online sales of eco-friendly products.
By all measures, 4ocean has successfully spearheaded a global movement to increase environmental awareness and to inspire individual action resulting in improved ocean health. You can support the 4ocean mission by shopping at their online store. With shipping to over 150 countries worldwide, you can easily express your support from around the world.
Their iconic eco-friendly 4ocean bracelet makes a perfect beach girl bracelet or beach bracelet for guys. It is made of 100% recycled materials, including beads made of glass and cordage made from reclaimed water bottles. Each bracelet is 100% adjustable and guaranteed to fit, so you can confidently purchase for yourself or someone else. With beach bracelets for guys and girls that are designed to withstand active lifestyles, there is no need to remove them before hopping on your board for a surf session. Each bracelet comes with a satisfaction guarantee and a 1-year warranty.
4ocean offers bracelets in a variety of colors to suit your unique style and represent your individual passion for conservation. Choose the classic 4ocean bracelet or select from a variety of specialty bracelets, including the 4ocean polar bracelet to raise awareness for the plight of our polar regions and the 4ocean sea turtle bracelet that raises awareness for your favorite marine reptiles. Whether you purchase a single bracelet in the color of your choice, enroll in the 4ocean Monthly Subscription package, or splurge on the entire 2018 Clean Ocean Collection, you can be confident your dollars are being well spent.
4ocean doesn’t sell only bracelets. The online store also offers stylish and high-quality reusable water bottles in both blue and white. Purchasing this affordable bottle is another great way to demonstrate your commitment to reducing ocean plastic by permanently ditching single-use water bottles. If you are looking to get out there and reduce litter on your own time, you can pick up ocean cleanup gear of your own with the 4ocean branded multi-purpose bag and protective gloves. There is no better way to raise awareness than leading by example and collecting debris on your next beach trip or walk around town will show off your commitment to clean oceans and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
If you are a retailer with a mission sympathetic to 4ocean, you can support the 4ocean movement by becoming an authorized 4ocean retailer. Contact them through the website for more information.
“Action Cures Fear”
To act now and support ocean conservation: shop at the 4ocean online store, volunteer for a beach cleanup or pick up trash on your own time and engage your friends in a conversation about ocean conservation. Educate yourself! Plenty of excellent resources exist online, including awesome videos (https://www.sciencealert.com/five-marine-biology-youtube-channels-you-should-subscribe-to), cool infographics, and open-access research papers (https://www.researchgate.net/). Join the 4ocean online community to show your support! Follow 4ocean on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtags #4ocean and #jointhemovement to stay engaged.
“Action cures fear” to quote 4ocean founders Alex and Andrew in an August 2018 interview with Authority Magazine. Originally attributed to David J. Schwartz in his renowned bestseller The Magic of Big Thinking, the founders at 4ocean remind us that instead of sitting idly, fearful for the future of our oceans, we can act. Andrew and Alex acted after their trip to Bali to create 4ocean. Now it is up to us to act to perpetuate the movement they have begun.
- Oceans, worldbank.org
- Plastic Makes Up Nearly 70% of All Ocean Litter, sciencemag.org
- Nanoplastics Accumulate in Marine Organisms and May Pose Harm To Aquatic Food Chains, sciencedaily.com
- The Purpose of Single Use Plastics, thisisplastics.com
- Marine Debris, debrisfreeoceans.com
- Plastic Planet Health Pollution Waste Microplastics, nationalgeographics.com
- Ocean Plastics Campaigns, biologicaldiversity.rog
- 4ocean Partners, 4ocean.com
As always, we create our content with you, fellow divers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next dive is a great one!