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Is the 4ocean bracelet a scam?

We have all heard about 4ocean, the company that sells $20,- bracelets made out of recycled plastic they recover during their worldwide cleanups. You have probably even bought one or more. Heck, I have, I mean if I can help clean our oceans for $20,- and get a cool bracelet, I’m in! But is it really not just a scam?

4ocean claims that for every bracelet sold they will pull 1 pound of trash from the ocean.

Great news right? How can this not be legit?

4ocean started with surfers Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper on a trip to Bali, Indonesia. They were inspired from witnessing fisherman pushing through mounds of plastic in the ocean to get their fishing boats to more open waters.

4ocean claims to have removed more than six and a half million pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines since its inception in 2017.

Is it a scam?

But recently while browsing the web I came across a Youtube video that made me a little skeptical about 4ocean.

Don’t get me wrong, I think they are doing a great job in cleaning our oceans (1 pound at a time) and I sincerely believe they are doing good.

We are a purpose-driven business, founded to help end the ocean plastic crisis. We are not a nonprofit and do not accept donations.

– quote from the 4ocean website


But why are they not transparent about their efforts? Are they really doing what they claim? Check out the 2 videos by Danye Har and a “response” video by 4ocean below and form your own opinion!

Is it a scam?

4ocean responded to the video above, here is their response:

Hey All! This is Corey from the 4ocean team.

We’ve been following the comments and in the spirit of transparency, we want to clear up some questions about our business and mission to help solve the ocean plastic crisis.

The big question this video asks is whether our founders, Andrew and Alex, are pocketing most of the money generated from bracelet sales. The answer: no.

To date, each founder has taken less than 0.7% of our revenue in total compensation since starting the company in 2017. Which means over 98.6% of our revenue is being invested in our clean ocean mission, including cleanups, staff (we have a team of over 300 around the world), marketing to raise awareness, donations to ocean charities, and new ocean cleanup technologies. You should also know our Trash Tracker represents pounds we’ve pulled, not bracelets sold, and our trash collection is far ahead of our bracelet sales count.

Since we’re a private company we don’t publicly share financials, but Andrew and Alex have submitted their personal tax returns and 4ocean’s financials to the Better Business Bureau to verify that they each have received less than 0.7% of our total revenue in personal compensation.

Another question raised was about the status of our OPR vessel. Here’s the straight answer: it’s not ready yet. We still have great hope for the vessel, but we’ve been tied up with modifications, testing, and certifications. We took down the OPR videos and the webpage because they were out of date. My fault, I’m the marketing guy. We have an update coming soon.

We definitely understand why some could assume the worst in the absence of information. Our goal is to clean up the ocean and we promise to do a better job telling the complete story and shining light on everything we’re doing to help solve the ocean plastic crisis.

We’ll soon be posting videos to be more transparent and address questions we’re often asked, so check back at 4ocean.com to learn more.

There are a lot of great organizations working to rid our ocean of plastic. An estimated 16 billion pounds of plastic enter the ocean each year, so it’s going to take every idea, approach, and business model to reverse the damage to our ocean. We applaud all efforts and encourage everyone to take action, contribute, and volunteer wherever you can, be that with 4ocean or with any of the other companies trying to tackle this crisis.

The follow-up video

4ocean “responded” to the above claims with a video:

“Response” video by 4ocean

They also posted a blog explaining about the Ocean Plastic Recovery Vessel here.

The verdict

Makes you think right? I am happy with my bracelet and believe/hope my $20,- went to a good cause, but perhaps my money would have been better spent on other organizations that are “non-profit” like The Ocean Cleanup.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article and or video are not necessarily those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of Divebase

Header image credits: 4ocean


Colin is Padi certified Divemaster, loves diving with the larger marine species around the world, and writing code.

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