You’ve probably spotted the ads for a $20 bracelet made from plastic removed from the ocean. For every one bracelet sold, the organization behind this, 4ocean, takes one pound of trash out of the ocean. Seems like an easy but effective way for anyone to participate in cleaning plastic pollution, right? Plus, you get a pretty bracelet in exchange. Many people have thought so too because, after three years of hard work, 4ocean has pulled almost 10 million pounds of trash from the world’s water.
Cleaning Up the Ocean, One Bracelet at a Time
Aside from being a pretty accessory, the 4ocean bracelet identifies the wearer as a member of the clean ocean movement. It also serves as a reminder to be conscious of single-use plastic consumption. Since 4ocean’s conception in 2017, these bracelets cleared 16,961,536 pounds of plastic from the ocean and coastlines as of Sept 3, 2021. The organization works globally from Indonesia to Haiti to Guatemala to the United States. The captains and crews from every cleanup mission carefully document every pound of trash they recover and their entire process is audited and verified by the Better Business Bureau. 
Guatemala was a more recent cleanup venture since tens of millions of pounds of trash are said to float in and along the ocean and coastlines around Central America as a result of the limited infrastructure and the river systems that flow from the cities into the oceans. The founders of 4ocean, Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze, believed that expanding their organization to Guatemala was critical to prevent the stream of garbage into the bodies of water.
“Expanding our cleanup operations into Central America offers us an opportunity to create significant change in the ocean plastic crisis,” said Schulze. “Our plan is to not only remove millions of pounds of plastic by leveraging innovative cleanup technologies but to also stop plastic pollution at its source by working with local communities to change plastic consumption habits.” 
More About 4ocean
Cleaning up the ocean begins at home. 4ocean’s website goes beyond selling their bracelets; they also offer lesson plans for educators, events, and regional beach cleanups to inspire action to protect the ocean. They also donate funding to other ocean cleanup and marine conservation organizations.
With the current pandemic, 4ocean events are currently on hold. In the meantime, they are focusing their efforts on spreading the word about ocean plastic pollution, reducing one’s single-use plastic footprint, and supporting groups that protect oceans and marine life. Check out 4ocean’s blog for practical tips to help this issue and more information about marine biology.
If you’d like to support the cause, check out their selection of bracelets. Each bracelet is designed as a reminder of various marine animals affected by plastic pollution, like dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles. Also, the selection includes braided or beaded varieties.
Other Organizations Combatting Plastic Pollution
The good work 4ocean has accomplished is heart-warming and gives hope for a cleaner, healthier future. Best of all, they are not the only ones out there doing good work to fix plastic pollution.
1. The Interceptor
On the Klang river near Kuala Lumpur, a solar-powered trash collection barge has been deployed to remove plastic and solid waste from the river. The barge, which is called the Interceptor, is 78 feet long and collects the garbage in a large dumpster inside of it. The Interceptor was developed by The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization in the Netherlands, working with Landasan Lumayan, a Malaysian government company.
“The Klang river was like a floating landfill,” said Syaiful Azmen Nordin, the managing director of Landasan Lumayan. “Boats could not pass through, and there was a lot of plastic. Now you can see the river is generally free from floating debris.” 
2. Goodwood Plastic Products Ltd.
In Nova Scotia, Canada, Goodwood Plastic Products Ltd. is transforming municipal plastics into synthetic leather, wharf timber, agricultural posts, and guardrail posts. Their aim is to help businesses adopt sustainable recycling habits and minimize their environmental impact.
Goodwood’s vice president, Mike Chassie, is an environmental advocate and is proud of the company’s “home-grown” solution to plastic pollution. Their clientele uses the plastic products to build park benches and picnic tables.
3. The Ocean Voyages Institute
This past June, the Ocean Voyages Institute made a 48-hour mission into the Pacific Trash Vortex, an area of the Pacific Ocean where hundreds of tons of garbage float in the ocean. The volunteers returned with 103 tons of plastic trash and fishing net. The group’s founder and executive director, Mary Crowley, has developed several effective methods to remove the waste from the oceans.
“We are utilizing proven nautical equipment to effectively clean-up the oceans while innovating with new technologies,” Crowley said in a press release. “Ocean Voyages Institute has been a leader in researching and accomplishing ocean clean-up for over a decade, granted with less fanfare and attention than others, but with passion and commitment and making meaningful impacts.” 
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- ” The Guys Who Sell Ocean Plastic Bracelets Are Closing in on 8 Million Pounds of Waste Pulled From the Sea.” Good News Network. Andy Corbley. February 2, 2020
- “4ocean Has Removed More Than 7 Million Pounds Of Trash, Expands Bracelet-Funded Cleanups To Central America.” Forbes. Jeff Kart. January 29, 2020
- “The Ocean Cleanup’s ‘Interceptor’ Aims to Clean 1,000 Rivers in 5 Years. Will It Work.” EcoWatch. Monabay. March 17, 2020
- “Majority of plastic recyclables in Halifax being turned into synthetic lumber.” CBC. Aly Thomson. January 10, 2020
- “Biggest Ever Ocean Clean-Up Recovers Over 100 Tons Of Plastic Trash And Fishing Nets.” IFLScience. Tom Hale. July 6, 2020