Two Surfers Start Company To Tackle Garbage-Ridden Beaches

Emily Crofton | | SurfSurf
Surfers Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze established 40cean to tackle the ocean waste problem. photo credit: CNBC

On a quest for epic waves and golden beaches, surfers Andrew Cooper and Alex Schulze headed to Bali, Indonesia in 2015 for a post-college trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately, what they found instead were garbage-ridden beaches with nothing but water bottles, food containers, and plastic bags for miles. While the overwhelming sight of endless trash left them horrified, it also sparked an idea that would later create the change the ocean desperately needs.

Cooper and Schulze, blown away by the state of Bali’s beaches, became fixated on the issue, asking lifeguards and locals the reason for why there was so much trash. They found out that despite the government’s efforts to clean the beaches, more and more trash continued to wash up with the tide throughout the day. While the country attracts millions of tourists a year, it is also second only to China among the world’s biggest polluters.

Kedonganan Beach, Bali, Indonesia. photo credit: National Geographic

It was on that trip that Cooper and Schulze developed the idea for a multimillion-dollar business to help clean the world’s oceans. 40cean is the name of the groundbreaking business that repurposes plastic and glass waste from oceans around the world to make bracelets out of the recycled materials. Each bracelet sold, at $20 apiece, puts the money towards funding one pound of trash removal.

Approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste is dumped into the world’s oceans per year, with Indonesia reporting more than 10 percent of the total amount. That being said, in the past three years, 40cean has helped to eradicate 9,990,619 pounds of trash. With help from dozens of people taking advantage of skimmers, fishing nets, and vessels, booms systems, and cleaners; the plastic is efficiently sorted by type, color, and condition before being sent over to recycling partners.

With still a long way to go to truly make a dent in this global issue, 40cean is working towards its goal steadily and successfully. Taking multiple approaches, such as addressing the causes and impacts of ocean pollution through education as well as contributing to charities and non-profit organizations, this astounding organization is taking massive steps towards tackling the continuous battle of ocean pollution.

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