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Entrepreneurs

Local Swimwear Company Aims To Clean Ocean's Plastic With New Partnership

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Apr 4, 2024
Coastal Cool, started by 16-year-old Holden Bierman, began in 2020 and is a direct-to-consumer swim and resort wear business. (Photo courtesy of Coastal Cool)
A swimwear company based in Carolina Beach and Fuquay-Varina announced a partnership that aims to take one pound of plastic away from the ocean with every purchase.

Coastal Cool, started by 16-year-old Holden Bierman, began in 2020 and is a direct-to-consumer swim and resort wear business. The young entrepreneur is striving to create a sustainable business by using plastic bottles to make swimwear.

While Bierman was on spring break in Puerto Rico with his family last month, he got a call from Jeremy Porter, the CEO of Tidey, a plastic-collecting company based in Utah. The two connected over LinkedIn and discovered both Coastal Cool and Tidey have an interest in recycling plastic. Beirman said he signed on for the partnership April 2.

“I took my passion and turned it into an impact,” Bierman said. “And [Porter] kind of did the same thing with Tidey, and we were able to collaborate those ideas and form a partnership.”

Tidey is a gig-economy-style plastic collecting company that pays to pick up plastic in danger of entering the ocean, Porter said. Very little of the plastic pickup happens in Utah, although Porter said he has organized a few pickups by lakes there.

Porter has experience conducting community service in Guatemala and conducts most of the Central American county. He participated in community service trips in Guatemala and decided to create a gig economy business by paying individuals in coastal communities to pick up plastic and get paid by the pound. There are about 150 part-time or full-time employees associated with Tidey, Porter said.

With every purchase through Coastal Cool’s website, Tidey will organize one pound of plastic to be picked up. Not all the plastic Tidey collects is on the beach, but much of the plastic littering Guatemala will either be burned or eventually end up in the ocean or the country’s rivers, Porter said.

Tidey also ensures the plastic is recycled correctly, and uses an application called BanQu to track the plastic associated with their order until it is disposed of properly, Porter said. The company usually picks up between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds of plastic each month, he said.

“We have to report not only the orders but our quarterly sales,” Bierman said. “And then we're able to do that, so they're able to remove the plastic and be able to use our credits purchased from each order to basically do their part of the job.”

Simply put, Bierman will pay a credit to Tidey’s team, which will be used to pay the plastic collectors in a one pound per one purchase value ratio, Porter said.

Bierman said his goal is to remove 10,000 pounds of plastic by the end of the summer, he said. He also wants to organize a beach cleanup associated with Coastal Cool and Tidey at Carolina Beach at some point in the future, but no plans have been made yet, he said.
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