[WATCH] 4Ocean Featured on The Today Show
4Ocean recently did a dive with NBC reporter Kerry Sanders to clean the ocean and share the impact of ocean pollution with viewers of The Today Show, showing everyone just where their trash winds up.
Over 16 billion pounds of plastic and trash enter our oceans every year, killing marine life and damaging ocean ecosystems — pushing many species to the brink of extinction.
4Ocean is a for-profit business cleaning the ocean and coastlines while working to solve the problem of plastic pollution.
Founders Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze recently appeared on The Today Show, working with NBC reporter Kerry Sanders to show viewers the impact of ocean pollution and what 4Ocean is doing to help solve the problem.
When you take your garbage cans out to the curb, it’s probably the last time you think about your trash. Some of it goes into landfills, some is recycled, and a lot of it ends up in the ocean. Some 1.4 billion [sic] pounds of it a year, in fact, and a great deal of that is plastic, just left floating in the sea.
In our Sunday Spotlight, NBC’s Kerry Sanders heads out on the water with the group that’s taking on the monumental task of cleaning up our oceans by fishing for trash.
Just off the coast of Palm Beach, less than a mile from President Trump’s Mar a Lago, a picture postcard of one of America’s most beautiful playgrounds.
But it’s what lies below in the Atlantic Ocean waters here that is at once both shocking and heartbreaking. On this day, we’ve joined Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze, two millennials who have turned problem solving upside down.
First, the problem: Our nation’s oceans are teeming with plastic. Each year, some 17 billion pounds find their way into the world’s waterways.
Like trying to count every star in the sky, Alex and Andrew’s mission would seem impossible: ridding the world’s oceans of plastics, garbage and anything else that just does not belong.
This nastiness first struck these guys on a surfing vacation in Bali.
“We saw a beach full of plastic. The first thing I did is I walked up to a lifeguard and I said, ‘Hey dude, how come no one’s cleaning up this plastic?’ And he said, ‘Oh, we clean it up every morning,’ he’s like, ‘It’s just the afternoon and there’s so much out in the ocean that it just washes back up.’”
It was at this moment two buddies on vacation out catching waves upended traditional thinking. Rather than starting a charity, begging for money, they started a business. They would pay people and sponsor volunteer groups to pick up as much plastic as possible.
“What if we can create a demand for ocean plastic? That’s when the lightbulb went off. And we were like wow, we gotta do something.”
But how would two untested college graduates hire more than 220 people in 3 countries and turn cleanup into a business?
For the last 18 months, they’ve been selling bracelets made from recycled materials.
“It’s funded by this?”
“Yes, 100% funded through the sale of the bracelet.”
“And it costs how much?”
“Twenty dollars per bracelet.”
So far, 1 million bracelets have been sold. Yes, that’s 20 million dollars. 4Ocean: cleaning up to clean up.
“Who’s intimidating the oil industry right now? Greenpeace or Tesla? The private sector is where action happens that’s why we’re here,” says Andrew Cooper.
For every $20, 4Ocean promises to extract one pound of trash. Records with the Better Business Bureau show 4Ocean salvaging more than 800,000 pounds from our world’s oceans so far.
“Bud Light. DQ cup. Straws are terrible…”
“Rope, straws, plastic water bottles…”
And now from two twenty-somethings, a business solution. Maybe.
“Is it offensive to call you garbagemen?” Kerry
“We’re proud to do it. Best job in the world.”
“I’ve been the happiest garbage man there is.”
For Sunday Today, Kerry Sanders, off the coast of Florida.
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4Ocean is partnering with SeaLegacy throughout the month of August to advocate for marine protected areas and support sustainable fisheries around the world.