Every minute, one garbage truck worth of plastic enters the ocean, contaminating the world’s seas, marine life, coral reefs, and beaches. That means:
60 garbage trucks an hour.
1440 trucks per day.
8 million tons per year.
Let that sink in…
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The Ocean Mimic Movement
It is a common tale to hear of two intrepid travelers returning home and moaning about the plastic pollution in far off lands, who are happy to complain and comment on how much trash they saw but not to do anything to change things.
We have all seen the pictures and videos of ruined reefs and plastic covered beaches, and some of us have even felt the effects first hand.
Well, these two scuba-diving, plastic-picking, eco-entrepreneurs are doing something about it.
Waste Warriors on a Mission
Introducing Emma and Chelsea, originally from the UK, and the founders of the Ocean Mimic Movement.
These two waste warriors have made it their mission, no, their passion, to make a positive impact on the ocean through one beach clean up and recycled swimsuit at a time. We sat down with the two British beach business bums to trash-talk (literally) and discuss plastic, business and Bali.
Tell us about your original connection/relationship to the ocean. Are you surfers? Divers? Swimmers? All of the above?
Emma – I have always loved the water! I started scuba diving when I was 14, became a divemaster at 18 and am now a dive instructor. I’m a keen swimmer, and I am just learning to surf – you’ve got to when you live in Canggu!
Chelsea – I’ve always been a water baby! I also started diving from a young age, and now I am proud to be a Divemaster. I love to swim; surfing is also something I want to get into – all in due time!
So, guys, it’s great to hear about a company doing such great things for the ocean, where did the inspiration for Ocean Mimic come from?
Emma – We were inspired while we were living on the teeny Rawa island in Malaysia. The island was paradise! The most stunning white beaches and reefs but sometimes floating islands of trash would wash up and smother the beaches and get tangled on the reef. It was devastating to watch.
Chelsea – Ocean Mimic was born in Malaysia on a small island called Rawa. We were constantly diving so we really got to experience days of beautiful coral reefs but also the impact of plastic pollution come monsoon. The trash would float in islands and wash up on the beach every day, it was really bad, but it was inspiring to see everyone on the island come together to do cleanups, that really introduced Emma and me to the power of community.
What makes Canggu Bali the perfect place to base yourselves and are you hoping to expand elsewhere?
Emma – We chose Bali because of the publicity it has on the trash issue. We didn’t realize just how bad it actually was! Bali really needs help. One thing that took us a little by surprise was just how amazing Canggu is for startups and entrepreneurs. It is a hub of creativity and talent, and honestly we wouldn’t be where we are now without the help we have had from the community. We are 100% planning on expanding! Watch this space!
Is owning your own business all it’s cracked up to be?
Emma – Yes and no! We wake up 90% of days super excited about what we do and proud of our achievements, but at the same time, we have turned into workaholics! When you are so passionate about something, it is hard to let it go even for a day. We feel the need to put all our energy into making it a success.
Chelsea – We both wake up every day excited to work, that’s absolutely true! We love what we do and what we’re trying to build; I just wish there was more time for diving (Haha). We have a long way to go, but we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
There is more microplastic in the ocean than stars in the Milky Way, are we too late to change things?
Emma – It is definitely not too late! Every day we hear about a new project working to solve the plastic issue. Things are changing! It is a very exciting time to be working in this space. Thinking it is too late is one of the most dangerous frames of mind. If more people had hope and the belief that they can make a difference we could solve this in a year. There are many smart people on this planet. It is a question of will and belief.
Have you noticed a change in awareness over plastic usage both in Bali and the UK since you started?
Emma – Yes we have! We were on Bali when the plastic ban was announced and introduced. Most of the shops in the area are no longer using plastic bags which is a step in the right direction. There is also a bigger interest form the locals in what we are doing. Or maybe we have just become better connected in the local community.
How are the beach cleanups going now in comparison to when you first started?
Chelsea – We started from very humble beginnings, Emma and I would often do cleanups as the two of us and encourage more people to join. Eventually, we were hosting cleanups for 50+; it’s definitely grown over time and still keeps growing. We’ve received so much support from local businesses and great sponsors such as Parley and Revolv. We’re excited to see them develop and hope to continue raising awareness to more people and places.
Do you have any advice for people who want to reduce their plastic consumption but don’t know how?
Emma – A starting point is to join or start your own cleanup. What we do is emotional work. We want people to pick up trash to feel connected to how drastic the issue is. It is one thing watching a documentary, and it is another picking up trash every step along the beach. Cleanups make the issue less abstract. If you want to motivate yourself to stop using plastic straws, try picking up a handful off the beach. Then, of course, there are the more obvious answers – ditch the bottle, straw, and bag and replace them with reusable options.
So, your Kickstarter has launched, can you tell us a bit about that?
Emma – The Kickstarter has launched, and it’s a nerve-racking experience! The campaign is all or nothing, so if we don’t reach our goal by April 3rd, we get nothing. So we are really pushing to get Ocean Mimic out there. Any help and any pledge (no matter how small) really makes a difference. The most valuable thing people can do apart from pledging is sharing the campaign with friends and family.
We love the swimwear, where did the design concepts originate from and are you planning on expanding into a men’s line?
Chelsea – As divers, you develop a need to point out as many creatures as possible, and so we would often discuss our favorite fish and got our inspiration from all their different patterns and colors. There really are endless opportunities for Ocean Mimic to expand into new designs; it’ll take us a while to mimic the entire ecosystem. We have rash guards available for men.
Also, we’re looking forward to introducing more designs, and we always encourage people to send their mimic suggestions. We’d also like to introduce our iconic trash guard; we wanted to create a design that was shocking, a clear representation of plastic pollution and it’s weirdly beautiful.
What’s the long term vision for Ocean Mimic?
Chelsea – We see Ocean Mimic expanding into worldwide cleanups, we want to build communities in new places and inspire change and empowerment. With every $10 a person spends, we promise to clean 1kg so we will definitely be looking into scaling our cleanups to the next level to meet these demands. In terms of products, we already have a few ideas in mind, but first, we need a successful Kickstarter so you’ll have to stay tuned for that one!
How do you want to affect people learning about Ocean Mimic?
Emma – We want people to get a better understanding of the issue, feel inspired to do something about it and to feel empowered that they can make a difference. Ocean Mimic is built on a foundation of positivity. Everything we do is trying to shine a light on the solution rather than focusing on the negative. There is hope, and it all starts with you.
If readers would like to get involved or learn more about OM, where can they find you and how can they get in touch?
Chelsea – Our social media channels, Facebook and Instagram are very active. We read through our messages every day, so please feel free to reach out as we’re always happy to connect with new people.
Emma – If anyone happens to be in Bali we would love for you to join our cleanups. We have at least one a week usually on Sundays in Canggu.
Thanks so much for trash-talking with us today. Lastly, is there anything that people can do at home to reduce their plastic waste usage?
Emma – The very first step is saying no to plastic bags and bottles. After that, there are so many ways to reduce your plastic footprint. We have a facebook group for the purpose of sharing tips to go plastic free. Anyone is welcome to join!
So, How Can You Help Save the Oceans?
These two have enough ideas, passion and drive to save the ocean, one plastic bottle at a time, but they need our help! These kinds of projects and social movements need one thing in order to survive, momentum. With enough people power, we can bring this plastic question into the mainstream. The problem is real and the problem is now.
If you have been inspired, like we have, by Ocean Mimic’s overall message of positivity and community spirit, then take it out into the world with you. Spread the word, pick up some plastic, and have some fun doing it!
Through their Kickstarter campaign, they are raising awareness (and funds) to give life to this amazing project. No time to go pick up some trash from the beach? With as little as 10$, Ocean Mimic will pick up 1kg of trash from beaches and oceans on your behalf! Hurry, the Kickstarter campaign ends on 2nd April 2019.
Ocean Mimic Website: https://ocean-mimic.com/
Kickstarter Campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/oceanmimic/ocean-mimic-for-every-10-pledged-we-pick-up-1-kg-o
Ocean Mimic’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oceanmimic/
Ocean Mimic’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oceanmimic/