How Ocean First Has Impacted the Industry

By Ingrid on 3/28/23

A Blog by Kathy Gagliardo -

Several years ago, I sent a month’s worth of packaging materials back to AquaLung, Mares, and Huish. My goal was to show the owners of those companies how much plastic trash we received from them that was non-recyclable. It was shameful that our industry, specifically, used that much unnecessary plastic knowing the lifestyle our companies are geared towards and knowing the harm of plastic to the environment. I threatened that if they didn’t start to change then we would be forced to move to companies that did.

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Although Boulder is not near any ocean and it's highly unlikely that even with our chinook winds our plastic bags would blow all the way to the coast, it is just as much our responsibility to try to influence change. Due to our efforts and the efforts of other stores as well, the manufacturers are starting to listen. Mares and Aqualung are both converting to cardboard mask boxes instead of plastic, and Fourth Element is using corn compostable bags. Many of our major manufacturers have heard and are attempting to make changes.

We all make an impact, no matter how small, and this is just the start of combining forces and creating a larger movement for the health of our planet. Check out the eco-friendly many brands and items we carry at Ocean First that you can bring into your life!

  • Stream2Sea: We love their line of reef-safe products!  Leave-in conditioner, tinted and non-tinted sunscreen, lotions and shampoos are the perfect things to travel with.  Not only do they have it right when it comes to the product but they also use recycled materials in their packaging.
  • Zeal Sunglasses: Made in Colorado, Zeal Sunglasses use plant-based materials in their frames and lenses to reduce the use of fossil fuels, their packaging is re-usable and recyclable and they give back 1% for the Planet.
  • Fourth Element: Thermocline suits, Hydro Rash Guards, and Rock Hopper boots. This manufacturer does it all! They retrieve ghost fishing nets, weave them into fabric to create their Thermocline suits. They recycle plastic water bottles to make their Hydro Rash Guards. Their Rock Hopper boots are made with 100% natural rubber and use up to 6 recycled water bottles in the footbed. Fourth Element goes beyond just the products, they package their items in either compostable bags, heat meltable bags or no packaging at all.  
  • Spacefish Army Rash Guards: New to Ocean First are the Spacefish Army line of rash guards and leggings/pants.  These fun prints are sure to excite you and are made of repurposed water bottles and other single use plastics. 
  • 4Ocean Bracelets: Everyone knows about 4Ocean Bracelets!  These are just a good thing and a great present to give.  100% of the proceeds goes back to ocean conservation either through 4Ocean or the profit which goes to Ocean First Institute to continue their import and local and national projects. 
  • SeaToSummit Dry Bags: This local Boulder company is making some great changes.  They are changing their packaging from plastics to cardboard and their drybags are now made out of recycled nylon! 
  • Miir Water bottles: This B-Corp manufactures their products to last but also to be able to be easily recycled at the end of their life. Their packaging is in 90% post-consumer cardboard. 
  • Slowtide microfiber towels:  Using natural fibers and recycled synthetics the microfiber towels are designed to last as well as being sustainably sourced. 
  • Ocean First Institute Merchandise:  Adopt a sea animal, buy a whale shark pin or purchase a pair of shark tooth earrings.  All of the proceeds go to OFI!

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