4Ocean has put an artistic spin on a straightforward solution to plastic pollution in the oceans. Their solution is simple: Beach and coastal water cleanups. Their innovation is in how they fund their work, selling bracelets made of recycled plastic bottles and glass.

4Ocean aims to remove one pound (.45kg) of plastic and other debris from the ocean for every bracelet they sell. The concept follows a simple principle: you buy the bracelet, you clean the ocean.

Is there really that much plastic in the ocean?

Anxiety has been rising over the clouds of plastic in the oceans even as we collectively dump the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic waste into the ocean every minute, according to a study by the World Economic Forum. There are 250,000 tons of plastic in the water now, and at the rate we’re adding it, there could be more plastic than fish by the year 2050 (by weight).

New organizations have emerged to address the problem. We reported on OceanCleanup, which captured imaginations with its innovative take on waste cleanup using deep-water floating barriers. Some experts have eyed the project skeptically, however, saying that time is better spent in preventing plastic from entering from our oceans in the first place. And one expert review suggests that cleaning up water near coasts and cities that are the source of the pollution would be more efficient than deep-sea platforms in the gyres.

4Ocean’s simple cleanup solution, on the other hand, is the same employed by non-profits and thousands of beach-combing volunteers around the world. Collecting trash from the beach is a direct way to reduce the trash in the ocean, according to the non-profit Oceanic Society.

Can a bracelet craze clean our oceans?