By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thursday’s Miami Proud spotlight is shining once again on the innovative business 4ocean.  CBS4 News spent time with the South Florida co-founders in May of 2019, learning more about their mission to remove pollution from the ocean.

In three short years, the company has now hit a major milestone.

“Andrew and I never envisioned that in 3 years we would be reaching this point of ten million pounds of trash removed from the ocean,” said Alex Schulze.

Schulze and his 4ocean co-founder Andrew Cooper have a simple concept. Remove one pound of pollution from the ocean for every $20 bracelet they sell.

4Ocean bracelets (Source; Twitter/4OceanBracelets)

The bracelets are made out of the recycled materials.

With ocean plastic pollution numbers set to triple by the year 2040, they have their work cut out for them, all over the world.

“Globally we have about 225 people full-time, we have 23 vessels, we expanded into four international cleanup efforts. We just opened up a new location in Guatemala. We had crews that were covering as far north as Jupiter and as far south as Miami, but due to the pandemic we had to restructure the business. Now we’re starting to see growth and build our teams back,” said Schulze.

The coronavirus has impacted their retail sales.

“As soon as the pandemic hit in March our retail business, which was a significant part, essentially went to zero.”

With stores beginning to reopen, things are getting back to normal and they are excited to announce the next phase for the business.

Trash pulled from South Florida waterway by 4ocean founders Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze (CBS4)

“We will be using all of our collected ocean plastic and ocean materials to manufacture and create new products,” said Schulze.

He explained some of the new product include a new jewelry line, and new cell phone cases, all made from the ocean plastic.

All of the products will also further the awareness and education of the public because many people are surprised to learn where all of this pollution comes from.

“The most important thing to understand is that the trash we’re collecting was not brought into the ocean from somebody dumping it off their boat,” said Cooper. “It enters from land-based sources and over 90% of this trash started on land and then when it rains or the winds pushes it to the roads, gutters, rivers, it ends up in the ocean.”

4ocean also sponsors beach cleanups and supports charities. To date they have donated over $900,000 to efforts worldwide.

You can track their cleanup efforts and learn more at www.4ocean.com

 

Lauren Pastrana

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