When Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze were in college, they managed to save up for a dream vacation in Bali, Indonesia.
But surfing the waves didn’t go exactly as they’d planned because the beach was covered in plastic.
Coming from Florida, the two of them were used to pristine beaches, so they asked someone who lived there why such a gorgeous coastline wasn’t maintained. That’s when they learned the beach had been cleaned just a few hours before they arrived. The problem was there was too much trash to control.
Moved by their experience, Alex and Andrew returned home and thought of a way to change the horrifying reality they’d seen. They came up with 4ocean, an organization that works to clear plastic from the coasts of Indonesia, Haiti, Florida, and Guatemala.
They hire local people to accomplish their mission and sell bracelets made from the very plastic their teams remove. Each one goes for $20 — and a promise that 1 pound of garbage will go with it.
Since they got started in 2017, they’ve taken about 8 million pounds of plastic out of the water.
Better still, they’re working within the communities they serve to educate consumers and encourage them to reduce their own plastic usage.
While conservation efforts still have a long way to go, maybe Alex and Andrew will be able to walk along the shore in Bali one day without seeing even a hint of trash. Keep up the incredible work!
If you’re interested in learning more about the company and how you can get involved, check out their website. In the meantime, share this story with your friends to raise awareness and change people’s habits.
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