4ocean's main headquarters is located in Boca Raton, FL and is where our first community beach cleanup was held. It's also where our daily cleanup crew operations started before expanding to multiple areas in South Florida, then to Indonesia and the Caribbean soon after. To celebrate our two-year anniversary, we decided to host a cleanup right where it all began - at Spanish River Park in Boca Raton, FL. And as far as attendance goes, it was our biggest ever!!!
What Have We Accomplished in Two Years?
We started out with a vision. We sold our first bracelet and removed our first pound of trash in January 2017. Since then, we have cultivated that vision into our mission: 4ocean is a global movement actively removing trash from the ocean and coastlines while inspiring individuals to work together for cleaner oceans, one pound at a time. In just two short years, thanks to all of your support and encouragement, we have been able to:
- - Employ full-time captains and crew members to clean the ocean and coastlines 7-days-a-week in South Florida, the Caribbean, and Indonesia
- - Launch our Ocean Plastic Recovery Vessel to help remove plastic pollution at the source before it has a chance to ever reach the ocean
- - Remove over 3 million pounds of marine debris from the ocean and coastlines
- - Help support many non-profit organizations who are helping pave the way to cleaner oceans and aiding the animals who call the ocean home
- - Host community cleanups in 35 different countries around the world
- - And much more!
Participant Attendance Breaks Previous Record
Before our two-year celebration, our largest participation was 627 people who showed up to make a difference at our Revere Beach International Coastal Cleanup back in September. This cleanup blew that number out of the park! In total, 1,020 passionate and dedicated participants came out to our Two-Year Anniversary Cleanup at Spanish River Park. Many people traveled from different states - and even different countries - to take part in our largest community beach cleanup to date. How cool is that?
Sometimes You Have to Look Beyond the Surface…
At first glance, the white, sandy beach looked pretty spotless. Upon further investigation, the beach was actually littered with microplastics - extremely small pieces of broken-down, indistinguishable, plastic. Due to the sun, waves, and foot traffic, most of the microplastics found were brittle and broken.
There are seven types of plastic and each type melts at a different temperature. If a microplastic is indistinguishable, there is no way to tell what type of plastic it is and therefore it cannot be recycled. At our cleanup, many participants found that after digging through the sand they were able to remove many small pieces of plastic that had been buried over time - including cigarette butts which are considered to be plastic.
So What Did We Find?
Beyond the small microplastics, the number of single-use plastic items we found was staggering. Thanks to our Citizen Scientists, who helped us sort and count all of the single-use plastic items that were removed from the beach, we collected the following data:
- - 393 plastic PET bottles
- - 1,220 plastic bottle caps
- - 753 plastic straws
- - 131 plastic/styrofoam cups
- - 230 plastic cutlery
- - 610 plastic bags
- - 1,976 cigarette butts
This cleanup would not have been successful without everyone’s help and dedication. In total, we collected 720 pounds of marine debris that were littering the beach in Boca Raton. Of that number, 178 pounds ended up being items we were able to recycle.
Why Does It Matter?
It may seem like a “drop in the ocean” but our community beach cleanups go beyond just a few hours of picking up trash off a beach. These cleanups are a way for the whole community to join together and become educated on the growing problem of ocean pollution, most specifically plastic pollution.
Did you know that the first plastic was invented by accident in 1907? And every piece of plastic that has ever been created is still around today unless it's been incinerated. Unfortunately, since plastic does NOT biodegrade like other materials, if it has found it's way to the ocean, it will remain there forever until it is removed. As it continues to break apart into smaller and smaller microplastics, it becomes a more serious threat to marine life who can easily mistake it for food.
How Can You Continue to Help?
There are a number of ways you can help even after the cleanup is over and done with. One of these is by reducing your plastic-footprint and eliminating single-use plastic from your daily routine. We know that the switch to “100% plastic-free” is not an overnight process, but lucky for you, we are here to help and give you a couple of examples on how you can get started today.
- Stop using single-use plastic water bottles and start using a reusable bottle instead! If you drink one bottle of water each day, that means that by switching to a reusable, refillable water bottle instead of continuing to purchase plastic water bottles, you can save as much as 365 water bottles each year! If you are a family of five, that means collectively your family could save 1,825 plastic water bottles from ever having to be used.
- Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with saving the ocean yet so there is still an abundance of plastic polluting the ocean and coastlines all over the world. Most trash that ends up in the ocean comes from inland and is not directly thrown into the water. In fact, as much as 80% of it comes from land-based sources. That means that even if you don’t live anywhere close to a coastline, your everyday decisions impact the ocean. By doing your part to clean up whenever and wherever you can, you are directly helping to stop plastic pollution at the source.
At 4ocean, we are on a mission to clean up the ocean and capture these plastics at their source before they ever have a chance to make it into the open ocean to become microplastics. We are cleaning the ocean and coastlines 7-days-a-week and the launch of our Ocean Plastic Recovery campaign, to collect plastic at high-impact areas in the Carribean and Bali, is just the first step. You, too, can get involved by purchasing a 4ocean bracelet which pulls a pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines and joining us on our next 4ocean Cleanup near you.
Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on everything 4ocean. Also, come join the conversation on our new Discover 4ocean Facebook Group, we look forward to seeing you there.