The RíOBANDS Story

It Starts in the Oceans 

Oceans. Plastic. Floating Garbage Patches. Oceans. Plastic. Floating Garbage Patches…the story repeats itself over and over again. Each day, we hear the same story about our oceans - Plastic floating in great garbage islands where no human can see, but where animal species flock to for food, for plastic food that leads to their demise.

We’ve been told the way to put an end to this story is to clean up the oceans. Oceans. Plastic. Floating Garbage Patches. CLEAN UP the oceans. This is a story that needs to happen, but it’s a story with an ending that’s already been written. In fact, it’s a story that will never end. Cleaning the ocean is an unwinnable battle – it won’t stop the NEVER-ENDING FLOW of ocean-bound plastic and trash from RIVERS.

RíOBANDS Grew Out of This Story

It grew out of a desire to CHANGE this story, to rewrite the story, to solve the problem of ocean-bound pollution through PREVENTION rather than post-pollution remediation. In order to stop the ever-accumulating amounts of trash and plastic within our oceans, we must cut off the source of the pollution, rather than continuously try to fight the unwinnable battle of removing trash from our oceans.

RíOBANDS will rewrite the story: Prevent upstream plastic pollution. Prevent plastic from flowing downstream. End the flow of plastic to our oceans.

Where We Came From

In the summer of 2018, Andrew Capobianco and Andrea Stumpf ventured on a surf trip to Mainland Mexico, where they found a traveler’s paradise…a surfers dreamland…and a river pollution problem. At the surf town’s main beach sat the terminus of a river, which carried water from the hillsides to the east, west to the Pacific Ocean. During an afternoon thunderstorm, the two friends noticed stormwater collecting and carrying plastic that sat outside homes and along roadsides to the riverbed, eventually discharging into the coastline and Pacific Ocean, polluting the beach and waves and releasing more plastic into our beloved ocean.

This flow of plastic to the ocean is not unique to Mexico. The same story can be found throughout river basins around the world. The lack of sufficient waste disposal infrastructure for river-based communities to utilize for the collection and disposal of plastic waste leads to a polluted environment, runoff of plastic waste to riverbeds, and a continual flow of plastic debris to our oceans. Since all rivers lead to oceans, any contents within these rivers are bound for the ocean. Andrea and Andrew realized there was a problem here, and knew a solution had to be found.

The Start of RíOBANDS

The inspiration to find a solution started on the same surf trip, right in the heart of another town the two surfers ventured to. What they discovered there is what RíOBANDS was born out of: a collection of home-made recycle bins located at strategic places within the town, full of plastic bottles. While the purpose of these bins was to provide a way to recycle plastic bottles within a community that lacked this infrastructure, they also served the purpose of preventing plastic waste being washed into the river and out to the Pacific Ocean.

Upon further examination of this bin program, what they realized was that this grew out of a local citizens desire to prevent waste from entering the natural environment and was funded entirely on donations from like-minded citizens. While the impact from these bins would be great, it would only work with the continued support from those who donate to the cause.

That is where Andrea and Andrew realized RíOBANDS could be the difference: by empowering grassroot causes and nonprofit organizations that are actively working to clean up and collect plastic waste from rivers, and supporting organizations that repurpose plastic waste for social good.  This is how our mission – “The Three Riverways of RíOBANDS” – was created.

The Three Riverways of RíOBANDS

  1. Clean: Support Organizations that Conduct River Cleanups
  2. Collect: Support Grassroots Programs that Prevent Trash & Plastic Waste from Entering our Environment
  3. Repurpose: Support Organizations that Repurpose Trash & Plastic Waste for Social Good

To accomplish our “Three Riverways,” we donate 100 percent of our profits to nonprofit organizations that are working to clean up rivers, prevent the flow of trash and plastic to oceans, and repurpose trash and plastic waste for social good, all in the name of Clean Rivers Happy Oceans.

Our passion for solving the ocean-bound plastic pollution problem can only be driven by your passion to support our cause. That is why we strive to provide you with high quality products you can be proud to wear and use while knowing that you've contributed towards making the world a healthier, cleaner, and happier place.