Osborne reef
Osborne reef© Provided by The Cool Dow

What’s going on with the Osborne Reef now? 

Over the past two decades, groups both public and private have launched programs to remove the remaining Osborne Reef tires from the ocean. 

Now, the company 4ocean is making the Osborne Reef cleanup one of its core missions.

“Ultimately, the well-intentioned project failed,” 4ocean wrote in an Instagram post sharing eerie photos of the reef. “And now 4ocean is stepping in to clean them up!”

“This operation is an uphill battle,” the organization continued. “While there’s been much cleanup progress since the first photo was captured, there’s still over 500,000 tires left sitting at the bottom of the ocean. We definitely have a lot of work to do.”

To fund its cleanup efforts, 4ocean is even selling jewelry made from tires pulled from the seafloor.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection continues to monitor the situation as well, through its Osborne Reef Waste Tire Removal Project.

But cleanup efforts are still slow-going. The state estimated that there were 650,000 tires remaining in 2016, and 4ocean estimates that there are still over 500,000 in 2022.

Could this cleanup be a model for future efforts? 

4ocean’s sustainable, circular model of selling products made from salvaged debris in order to fund further cleanup efforts could provide a blueprint for the treatment of other failed artificial reefs, from Malaysia to France

The company notes that many of the tires it finds are beyond any recycling use, but it takes those tires to Florida’s Solid Waste Authority, “one of the most advanced, efficient, and [low-pollution] waste management facilities in the United States.” 

According to its website, 4ocean’s ultimate goal “is to partner with organizations that can help us recycle these scrap tires on a massive scale so we can use more of this material to create new products that fund this historic cleanup operation and advance our mission to end the ocean plastic crisis.”

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Group shares eerie photos of disastrous man-made reef off coast of Florida: ‘500,000 tires left sitting at the bottom of the ocean’ first appeared on The Cool Down.