Clean Coast Collective - Nat and Dan
Why they're cool:
They're cool because of who they are. The way they live and the movement they have created is the coolest shit of all. These are our kinds of people. The ones with passion and patience and an urge to make a difference. We first stumbled upon Clean Coast Collective at an event in Sydney called #RadLivin. Their message was inspiring, it was real, and it reminded us that when you light that spark within you, calling you to cultivate goodness, it can very well turn into a bright and brilliant flame. What these two have created is down right amazing, and we're so stoked to have them here sharing their story.
Meet Nat and Dan ...
We're a not-for-profit lifestyle brand that promotes living a life that has a low impact on our planet and oceans – the #cleancoastlife. All profits from the sale of our products go towards funding our Trash Tribe expeditions to clean remote beaches around Australia. Our last Trash Tribe expedition to Cape York removed over 3.1 tonnes of rubbish from a single 6km stretch of sand.
Our impact is two-fold; we sell products that reduce a person's consumption of disposable plastics and run clean up expeditions to clean up the waste that's already in the oceans.
Our new range of products will be launching in time for Summer 16/17.
Work-wise, Dan works for The Beach People and Nat does freelance writing and marketing work. Life-wise, we currently live in the hills in the Northern Rivers region of NSW so we spend a lot of time bush walking, swimming in freezing waterholes and surfing with friends – we're pretty lucky to live in such a great slice of the world!
Although we'd love to work on Clean Coast Collective full-time eventually, we're really enjoying the variety of projects and work opportunities right now and learning so much for each of them.
On how Clean Coast Collective began:
We used to have full-time government jobs so each weekend we would escape the city to explore remote stretches of the coastline. During these weekend adventures, we started to notice how much rubbish was washed up on the sand – there was no one nearby, but the beaches were littered with all kinds of rubbish. We started to research where the rubbish was coming from and were shocked to learn that the ocean was full of plastic pollution. We ran some local beach clean ups and then left our jobs to travel around the entire coastline of mainland Australia to see how bad the issue was.
Starting Clean Coast Collective was our response to learning about plastics in our oceans and wanting to do something to help.
When we started Clean Coast Collective we were both working in jobs and industries that were unfulfilling and uninspiring – we felt that we had more to offer but were being held back in these professions. On a deeper level, we've both always been environmentally-minded and so this was our way to contribute to an issue that was damaging beaches that we spent so much time enjoying.
On their proudest moments:
So many! Taking school kids on beach clean ups, having our Castaway campaign printed in magazines like Summersite, Yen and Paper Sea Quarterly, touring with Stone & Wood Brewing Co, screening our Trash Tribe film around the country... and so many small wins that we probably haven't celebrated enough along the way. But the thing we are most proud of is taking a group of complete strangers on a 10-day journey to remote Cape York for our first Trash Tribe expedition. Not only was the clean up a huge success and the tribe then returned home to share this experience with their communities, but the group became incredibly close and are still a tight group of friends. We held a reunion a few months ago and it was non-stop chatter the entire weekend – there's a special bond between the individuals which I hope we can replicate in future Trash Tribe expeditions.
You can watch these amazing humans in our Trash Tribe film here.
On their connection to the ocean:
Like most Aussie kids, we both grew up around the ocean and have been drawn to it ever since. Apart from it's natural beauty, the ocean teaches you to be present and to appreciate how small we are just a small part of the natural world – there's nothing like copping a set of solid waves on your head to put you back in your place and put life in perspective!
We're incredibly lucky to live near the ocean and be able to spend so much time in the water surfing and swimming with friends.
On the future of Clean Coast Collective:
In five year's time, we hope to have built Clean Coast Collective into a respected lifestyle brand selling quality and timeless alternatives to disposable plastics. On the conservation side of things, we'll be running multiple Trash Tribe expeditions a year, taking groups of young people to explore and clean some of Australia's most wild and remote beaches.
An official Clean Coast Collective puppy is also another goal we're working towards.
On living sustainably:
The main tip is to just start be conscious of what you're consuming – are you buying your lunch out everyday in a takeaway container with plastic cutlery? Are you buying a coffee in a takeaway cup everyday? What sort of packaging are you buying at the supermarket? Start thinking about what you're consuming and what is then ending up in your bin at the end of the day. It's amazing how we can all drift through life not being mindful of our daily practices, then as soon as you stop to take notice you realize there are a lot of things that you can change.
Cut out the top four – plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, plastic containers and cutlery. And then our biggest tip of all; make friends with the mushroom bag at the supermarket – shove your baby spinach into it, your snow peas, your lettuce, anything that can't just be bought as is in its natural packaging.
Connection means being genuine, real and kind to any person you meet or come into contact with. We owe everything that's happened with Clean Coast to connection – the many individuals and brands we've met and subsequently collaborated with through social media, the people we've met at clean ups or out in the surf – they've all helped shape what Clean Coast has become and helped lead to its success, either directly or indirectly.
We always make a big effort to jump off the email train and meet new contacts in person, or at the very least, chat over the phone. Sometimes its not the most convenient way to do things, to drive that little bit further or take some time out of the weekend, but meeting someone in person will always lead to a much deeper connection and collaboration.