Coastal Playground: A Clothing Company That Dedicates 50 Percent of Profits to Protecting Beaches

A finalist!? I couldn't believe it! We were stoked to hear Coastal Playground made it to the top 10 of the GOOD + Marriot Maker Challenge! Opportunities like this MAKE companies and we thrilled to have been selected. After reviewing the entries, we were humbled to see the caliber of the competition. I have to admit, I was even a little intimidated but that wasn't going to stop me from pursuing my dream.

You see, all too often, while out in the ocean, I notice trash floating in the line-up. I also find myself stepping on bottle caps, cigarette butts and other random pieces of plastic while walking down to the water. I was tired of watching this get worse, so I began doing some research to see what I could do to help change this -- and it hit me. The light bulb was bright, bells were ringing, and alarms were sounding. It was time for action! I would take my new idea, along with my Coastal Playground lifestyle, and turn it into something that would really give back to our communities. This is how the 50/50 concept came about. I decided then that with the clothing I designed, 50 percent of proceeds from our sales would be given to organizations that help keep our beaches clean and also educate the public on these issues. The fact I would be able to give back to the community through my art and help preserve our playground for the next generation is more fulfilling than any amount of money I could ever make. And, in a small way this is a somewhat selfish endeavor. I want nothing more than to be able to one day surf clean waters with my daughter, and build sand castles with her children. In early March 2010, Coastal Playground 50/50became official.

According to the 2010 Census nearly fifty million people live in California, Oregon and Washington. If 85 percent of this population lives in coastal communities and along rivers leading to the Pacific Ocean - a percentage the team suggests is conservative - then these West Coast communities are spending more than $520,000,000 -- over one half billion dollars -- each year to combat litter and curtail marine debris. Such costs, in the view of the project team, make a compelling argument for accelerating the search for ways and means of reducing trash streams contributing to marine debris.

With our 50/50 program, Coastal Playground is able to help communities by saving them thousands of dollars in labor expenses. But let the math speak for itself. 3,000 volunteer hours is the equivalent of $25,000 of labor to California. This year alone, with the help of our 50/50 Partners Coastal Playground clocked over 5,000 volunteer hours, with an average of 100 volunteers per cleanup. And while we're throwing numbers around, that's 1,500 pounds of trash that is no longer on our beaches, and over $600 raised for cleanup supplies. To top it all off, we use 100 percent organic cotton, soy and water based inks, eco-friendly printing processes, and we restrict the release of toxins into our oceans. Cleaning beaches, saving taxpayers money, and fitting the world with awesome swag. This playground knows no limits.

On a mission to preserve and protect the coastal regions of the world, Coastal Playground is harnessing the power of the community to develop innovative solutions that enact positive change. After all, life's a beach.