Florida entrepreneurs pay fishermen to collect plastic
BOCA RATON, Fla. (FOX NEWS) - Two Florida entrepreneurs have founded a company with one goal in mind – rid the ocean of plastic.
A simple surf trip to Bali revealed shocking seas of plastic along Indonesia's coastline for Florida natives Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper.
So the young entrepreneurs created a company, 4Ocean.
By selling $20 bracelets on their website, they are now working toward their goal.
"By purchasing a bracelet, we remove one pound of trash from the ocean, so anyone, anywhere can clean the ocean," Schulze said.
For the past two years, they've removed tons of plastic from the Pacific and Atlantic, all of which threatens fish, seabirds, and marine life, as well as the livelihoods of fishermen.
The crucial component for their success has been recruiting fisherman to help.
"One of the hardest things was convincing a local, who's always looked at plastic as trash, they throw it in the ocean, and explain to them that we're gonna to pay them to collect plastic instead of fish," Schulze said.
4-ocean collects and separates the trash and recycles all they can. They've just reached a major milestone: one million pounds of trash removed from the water and shores.
From the ocean to the intracoastal, they scoop up plastic from the surface and also free dive, hauling up everything from glass bottles to car batteries.
With an estimated 16 billion pounds of plastic added to our oceans every year, it's an enormous endeavor.
"We grew up fishing and now we're still fishing, it's just in a different way. Now we're just fishing for plastic," Cooper said.
With seven billion people on the planet and plastic mass-produced since World War II, even the 4Ocean guys admit, ultimately the real solution is changing human behaviors and the way people think.